Inspired by you - Connie Cao
Tell us a bit about yourself
Growing up I’ve always been curious about how things work and how the world works. I grew up in the suburb of Northcote and when I was a kid, there was a landfill right next to the shopping plaza. I remember walking past it regularly and feeling curious about how humans threw rubbish in a big hole and then buried it. It didn’t make sense to me - surely we’d run out of holes! - and this was probably the beginning of me trying to understand the world more. In our daily home practices, I regularly try and think of ways to consume more sustainably and reduce waste in our household.
What have you implemented at home to reduce your carbon footprint?
In our home, we’re mainly focused on reducing waste and growing our own. We have a multi-bin recycling station so that soft plastics, recycling, carbon waste, food scraps and TerraCycle recycling program collections (e.g. beauty empties, pens, etc.) are sorted in, to minimise what goes to landfill. We compost with compost tumblers, bokashi bin and worm farming, so almost all our food scraps are recycled back into the soil, reducing the amount of food scraps we send to decompose in a landfill. And we do our best to grow as much of our own as possible and eat seasonally to help reduce our reliance on veggies with high food miles or grown with unsustainable farming practices. We also have solar panels and are just about to install our first 2 water tanks to help with capturing rainwater that would otherwise get wasted as well!
How would you say that the fashion world could improve on its commitment to the environment?
I am loving seeing fashion brands move more towards natural fabrics or fabrics that have a smaller footprint to produce, and brands making smaller collections and making them well. This all helps to reduce our reliance on plastic-based fabrics, which when discarded, would decompose into microplastics. It’s also great to see brands focus more on quality and longevity in their designs as clothes should be made to last many years. For someone who loves fashion, I think it’s good to think about buying less but buying well. I love considered designs that last season after season, and are made well so that they can be worn year after year. Instead of pieces that are trends-based. This is what I focus on when curating my wardrobe!
How does your personal style reflect your personality?
I love dressing comfortably so love practical pieces in beautiful designs! This allows me to get on with my day and do all the things I love doing. Soft colours tend to work season after season so I do love those. I’m a big fan of a bit of sunshine in my world so tend to be drawn to colours - despite living in Melbourne, I barely wear head-to-toe black, it just doesn’t feel like me!
For someone who is considering or starting out on this journey of sustainable living, what would you say are some small steps that people can take to improve their relationship with the environment?
I think the first step is to cultivate an appreciation for the natural world around us. So many of us take nature and the environment for granted. It’s just there, so we think it’ll always be there. But if we, as humans, do not actively look out for the environment, then it won’t always exist for us, as we know it, in the future. Having this respect for the world around us will inspire us to start taking small steps to look after it, and a good place to start is composting - diverting food scraps from landfill so that there’s less ‘rubbish’ that composes anaerobically, creating greenhouse gases and affecting climate change.