Zero Waste Living with Laura in Waterland
In today’s blogger spotlight we welcome one of our favourite sustainable living advocates – Laura aka Laura in Waterland! Although Laura grew up far from the sea in Belgium, from a very young age, she was passionate about the Ocean. Becoming a scuba diver opened her eyes to the magnificence of the underwater world and the importance of protecting it. Now Laura lives in Bali and shares her journey to conscious, minimalist, low waste and sustainable lifestyle, wishing to leave the smallest environmental footprint she can manage.
1. Tell us more about yourself and how and why did you start living a more sustainable/zero waste life?
I have cared about nature, especially the ocean and dolphins, as far as I can remember. But the connection between my values and my actions came much later and more gradually. My travels opened my eyes through the people I met and the pollution that was undeniable in South East Asia. I say undeniable because nobody manages the waste and this makes the consequences visible to all, when in Europe, where I am from, it was all hidden. A mind switch naturally happened and that’s when I slowly started to incorporate more changes into my life. The more I learned, the more I changed. And this process is still ongoing.
2. What are your biggest challenges when it comes to being sustainable while travelling?
The question I get the most from my Instagram followers is about drinking water. Be ready and bring your reusable bottle with you. Even if traveling where tap water is not safe, 90% of the time there are options to refill at stations or by politely asking businesses or even
home owners if very remote. In Indonesia for example, you can ask for “air gallon”. If you’d rather be independent, buy a filter (charcoal,
LifeStraw, etc). Mostly, traveling sustainably comes down to preparation and refusing to compromise on your eco values because something is more convenient. Say no to single use by carrying your reusable kit. Choose train/bus/tram over plane as much as possible. Research and stay in eco-minded hotels when available. Sacrifice one idea for another because it’s the more sustainable or ethical option.
Personally, I’ve recently taken a trip to a remote part Indonesia where my biggest challenge was finding healthy and varied vegan food. Drinking water and remaining plastic free was easy but food wasn’t. I sustained myself on vegetable fried rice, fried tofu, fried tempeh, fried coconut meat, … you get the problem. Luckily, there were also many wonderful tropical fruits ensuring I remained sane. Next time, I would bring some bulk nuts with me to get better nutrition.
3. What would be your top three tips for other travellers who care about the environment?
+ Be conscious. Ask yourself the right questions. Will this choice have a positive or negative impact? Should this animal be in captivity? Do I really need this? Is there a better option?
+ Be prepared with your reusable kit. Refuse single use as much as you can. Recycling doesn’t work and many places don’t even have this type of management so, say no as much as possible.
+ Be the example. Wherever you travel, you will interact with many travellers from all other the world, with local people who may never have the chance to leave their town, and you will influence them in some way. Make sure you leave a positive impression and show them sustainability and kindness are the way forward.
4. What is your most recent favourite ethical and sustainable/zero waste discovery?
I got a face roller from the Ever Wonder store and I am absolutely addicted! It feels so soothing and relaxing. I regret I didn’t know
about it sooner. It’s a great way to incorporate a face massage into one’s routine. Stress always tends to concentrate in my jaw and upper
back. So I even started using it on my upper back as well! But the intended purpose is, of course, the face, where I use it on a clean face
after my rose toner and before moisturizing with coconut oil and my simple routine is now complete.
5. Where do you get your inspiration from and who would you call your sustainability ‘role models’?
There are so many amazing people publicly doing great things for the environment that it is difficult to pick just a few but I do have my
favorite eco ladies who are always honest, kind and positive. Sending some love towards Kate (@plasticfreemermaid), Stevie (@stevieyaaaay), Venetia (@venetiafalconer) and Kathryn (@going.zero.waste)
5. Do you see any positive environmental changes happening at the moment?
We are flooded with bad news online every day because it’s a great way to trigger a reaction from us. I find it hard to hear about the positive changes. However, if you pay attention, you can restore your faith in humanity because for every oil spill, there are amazing humans out there cleaning it, and that’s just one example. That’s how I stay positive, even when the world isn’t and I know that, even if we don’t hear about it as much, there is good being done by others, on a big or small scale, every single day.
6. What lifestyle changes or initiatives have the biggest positive impact on our environment?
Eating vegan as often as you can manage. The fishing industry is responsible for most of the plastic in the ocean which is the most
harmful to our wildlife in the form of ghost nets. And the cattle and dairy industry have a massive footprint, without even considering the
cruelty of it. Of course, I would also advise to use the least amount of plastic you can manage. Fly less. Etc. There are so many great changes we can implement today and it all comes down to being a conscious consumer: question what you know and inform yourself on what you don’t.
Thanks for your impact and inspiration!
You can find more about Laura and follow her here: