While I haven’t downloaded the book to my Kindle yet – am waiting to get a signed digital copy tonight – I’ve been an avid follower of Lisa’s green flings blog ever since I met her at one of my social media workshops last year.
Lisa exudes genuine warmth and effortless style, and has the kind of fashion sense the rest of us delve into magazines to understand. It’s hard not to be inspired by her thoughtful adventures into finding a more sustainable life – the pros, cons, and patience required to achieve it.
The book cover for Sustainability with Style is fantastic – and she crowdsourced the favourite design options from her blog readers to choose the final version.
Here’s an excerpt from a reader review on Amazon:
“Take an episode of Sex and the City (in book format), add a cup of easy-to-comprehend climate science and policy a la Al Gore, a spoonful of useful factoids a la Dr Karl, and spice it all with some Social Inclusion Theory! Lisa Heinze takes us on a journey through a few hectic years of exploration, change, and action. She explains how she has turned her life around, from being part of the problem to being part of the solution for how a sustainable future can be created.”
I love reading books like this - Making a Meal of It was another winner, around reducing food wastage – that don’t pile on the guilts about our excessive lives, but show instead fresh ways to think about creating a more sustainable lifestyle and mindset, and (quelle horreur) even inject some fashion and fun along the way.
I took a moment to chat to Lisa Heinze earlier this week about her writing and publishing journey.
Sarah: Lisa, what inspired you to write and publish this book?
Lisa: Ultimately it was my passion to demonstrate that you don’t have to give up your identity or lifestyle to live sustainably. When I decided to ‘go green’ I had hesitations because I had this stereotypical image of dreadlocks and shapeless frocks that simply didn’t resonate with my personal style, so I set out to find ways that let me be green while still being me.
I wanted to share my story of someone who not only survived my green transition, but who is thriving in her new sustainable lifestyle. I also wanted to pass on things that I didn’t do so well, particularly pertaining to my activism attempts, so that others could learn from my mistakes, including environmental campaigners.
Sarah: On the topic of the book, can you tell us why it’s different from all the other books on sustainability?
Lisa: Instead of being a strictly ‘how to’ book, this is a ‘how I did it’ book. Of course I include my favourite eco-tips and tricks throughout the story, but it’s primarily a description of my journey. I hadn’t been prepared for some of the emotional and social stresses that came about as a result of my green transition, and I hope that reading my story will shed light on some emotions that may come up for others who are making similar changes in their lives.
I also weave some cultural analysis into the text as it relates to group behaviour and identity. There are a lot of scientific books on sustainability in the market, but there are not as many from the social sciences. Combating climate change will rely on people changing their behaviour, and we need to better understand people in our society in order to get the changes we need. I hope my story and my analysis have positively added to this conversation.
Sarah: What are a few lessons you learnt from going green?
Lisa: Research first, buy second. My new shopping mantra. I know that I can’t expect to find sustainable fashion or products everywhere I go, so I must research brands first, and avoid impulse purchases (unless of course it’s at a vintage store, then I’m reusing something and can buy without worry!).
Everyone is on her/his own eco-journey. For awhile I tried to get others along on my green transformation, but because we’re all on our own personal journeys I ended up frustrating some friends instead. Similarly, I couldn’t rush into all green changes at once, because some of the changes impacted my life so much that I had to take more time to figure out how to do things my way. As a result I’m much less judgmental these days about anyone else’s sustainable choices.
Join a green social network. Our message is louder as a group when we band together to demand eco- and ethical-fashion, beauty or food products. Groups also provide support and extra information than going it solo, and of course it’s more fun!
Sarah: What’s your favourite thing about your book?
Lisa: I love (and hopefully readers agree!) that it’s a fun read about a serious subject. I know that I absorb information better when I’m entertained, and I tried really hard to strike the right balance of personal story with environmental research and cultural analysis.
Sarah: After reading Sustainability with Style, what do you hope it will inspire people to do?
Lisa: I hope that my readers will see that anyone can make her or his life more sustainable, and that they take one more step towards sustainable living.
Everyone, from the novices to the diehard greenies, can be more sustainable in their actions. When we’re all taking these steps at the same time, we make a huge impact.
You can purchase a copy of Sustainability with Style for your eReader for $8.99 on Amazon, and be sure to stay in touch with Lisa on twitter @greenflings too.