IN SEARCH OF SUSTAINABILITY…
What is balance and how many things can it be applied to? Isn’t it that everyone strives for reaching it? Balance means peace, it’s also the awareness of the fact that there’s not too much or too little of something. It leads to happiness, fulfillment, well-being and to the essence of life. Why is it so difficult to acquire it then?
Especially, in the contemporary world balance has started coming high up on the list when it comes to various social and environmental issues. It’s like a celebrity in the spotlight – it seems to be something close, almost substantial. However, when the stage lights go out and the curtains go down, the balance gets lost somewhere in the darkness leaving just emptiness behind.
Without the environment and natural world there would be neither us nor all this surrounding us beauty. Thus, in the times of various crises we should put even more emphasis on sustainability and sustainable life as such. The concept of zero waste should become the next commandment which should be dinned into children from the youngest age.
Unfortunately, it happens quite often that having a desire to lead a sustainable lifestyle we don’t know what to start with and everything seems to be too expensive, too difficult and too time-consuming to us. There are not enough social campaigns on the topic of sustainability which could reach a wider group of recipients, because very often it is not convenient for the companies and industries, which according to the rule of a stronger player impose their own rules of the game.
Fortunately, there are people who are no strangers to sustainability and sustainable lifestyle issues. That’s why, I’m truly pleased to introduce you to my today’s interviewee – Veronika Tietz – an advocate of sustainability, who set up a blog to promote efficient methods to make the surrounding us world a better place, as well as to make us better people through the aware improvement of the quality of our life.
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers a few words about yourself?
Veronika: My name is Veronika. I’m originally from Germany, but at the moment I live in Australia because love brought me here. I’m one of the many Millenials who want to save the world or at least leave it better than I found it. Two words that describe me accurately are dreamer and compassion. My hobbies reflect that I’m a pretty average person: I love travelling, food and hiking but most importantly, I’m fascinated by the beauty of our planet. Without our Earth’s diversity, I would not be able to enjoy travelling as much, the various cultural food and walking in nature.
Passion Piece: You’re a passionate woman who is deeply interested in our planet’s well being. You also have your Masters Degree in Sustainable Food Systems. How did you get interested in the field of sustainability?
Veronika: My passion for Sustainability developed at the end of my Bachelor’s study (Home Economics and Nutritional Sciences). As a subject for my bachelor thesis, I decided to write about food waste in connection with behavioural psychology. At this time, I didn’t pay much attention to sustainability issues, except for choosing a vegetarian diet. When I dealt with the topic of food waste, I was surprised at how bad the situation was. I remember statistics that pointed out that we threw 1/3 of edible food away, while around 550 million people were starving (in 2017; the number rose to 828 million in 2022) and almost 40% of the world’s population was overweight. This information highlighted to me how wrong we are handling different global issues.
After finishing my Bachelor’s degree, I fulfilled my dream and went backpacking in different Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand.
Relatively at the beginning of my adventure, I realised how fascinating and diverse our Earth is. All the different people I met changed my view of the world: It’s not a scary place but a home for all of us. Increasingly the urge to do something meaningful to tackle our global challenges arose in me. So, I decided to start a Master’s degree in Sustainable Food Systems in Uppsala, Sweden. One of the many best decisions I made so far (and many more to come).
Passion Piece: You decided to share your passion for sustainability with the world and you set up your own blog titled ‘Reimagine Sustainability’. What can your readers find there?
Veronika: Reimagine Sustainability is all about creating a world that supports our as much as our Earth’s well-being. My readers can find inspiration, encouragement, empowerment, care and love for everything wonderful in our world. My mission is to make sustainability easy to understand and implement. For too long, it has been portrayed as too complex, but I’m pretty sure that it has never been easier to achieve sustainability. My blog aims to erase all the worries to make room for action.
For change to happen, we need to understand: What is going on? What are the problems? What are the difficulties we are facing? Why are we facing them? What do we have to do?
To bring more clarity into this chaos, I categorise my articles into Sustainability concepts, mindsets and actions. Achieving sustainability is a personal process. We need to understand or know different sustainability concepts to apply them in the right context. We need a sustainability mindset to develop the ability to make better decisions. Most importantly, we need the inspiration to see that it’s working; without action, no results.
Sustainability is fun and full of opportunities for all of us. That’s what I want to communicate via my blog and that’s what my readers can look forward to every week.How can government and influential people raise the awareness in the area of sustainability among the ones who cannot see the right potential in this concept? How do you do that?
The problem I see with this question is that governments as well as the majority of influential people lack a true understanding of sustainability. It’s pretty dangerous to communicate something so important without little background knowledge. Sustainability can become the foundation we need to see real change in the world. Sometimes I have the feeling that the role of governments and influential people is overhyped because real change comes from real people who care. If governments and influential people care, they can easily communicate the benefits and nurture the ground for real change.
Passion Piece: How can the right sustainability campaigns and education change our life in this world for the better?
Veronika: In a way that we feel addressed and understood by them. Sustainability campaigns and education should simply promote a better life for us without living on the cost of the planet and others. Instead of pointing the finger at us and telling us that our behaviour is destroying our future, I see the value in communicating the possibilities and opportunities to improve our livelihoods. It’s not a mystery that we live on the cost of the planet and future generations. If we want nature to take care of us, we need to return the favour. Without nature we can’t produce healthy food, maintain healthy soils, breath fresh air and stay healthy.
We need sustainability campaigns and education which highlight the opportunities we can create if we respect natural laws and restore ecosystems. Connecting humans and nature back together with modern solutions. In fact, replacing human arrogance with inspiration for ingenuity can be extremely valuable to promote.
There are billions of ways to make our world more sustainable but people need the right amount of inspiration and confidence to putting their ideas into action.
Passion Piece: Can this knowledge ever get outdated?
Veronika: Knowledge is always prone to be outdated. As the Earth’s systems are evolving, so are we. A good example in the sustainability space is the climate crisis. What has not reached enough people yet, is the fact, that we won’t reverse the climate crisis simply by reducing our carbon emissions. The strive for technologies that will solve all our problems is ambitious but it’s neglecting the power of social innovation. We can decide if we want to continue treating the symptoms or address the problems at their root. Reducing carbon emissions won’t solve the biodiversity crisis, the food crisis, the mental health crisis, the poverty crisis, racism etc. All those problems are interconnected and this is the knowledge that urgently needs to be communicated more effectively worldwide.
Passion Piece: What are your favorite tricks for leading a sustainable lifestyle?
Veronika: My favourite trick is to question the status quo. I often ask myself and reflect: Do I really need it? Is the impact worth the short-term satisfaction? Finding other stimuli to replace short-term satisfaction from consumerism can become a great achievement to reduce the harmful impacts of global consumerism.
Surely, recycling, eating a vegetarian diet, taking public transport etc. are important factors to consider, but if we are not provided with the right infrastructure to make sustainable choices more convenient, it will be more than difficult to achieve system change. Convenience is our nemesis but it is also part of the solution: making sustainable choices convenient in the first place eradicates the negative impacts.
A sustainable lifestyle can bring more purpose to our lives. The majority of people want a good life and we don’t need much to lead a good life. We already have everything we need, we don’t need more. Scaling down our consumption will bring us more satisfaction. Time and money are an obstacle most people struggle with when talking about implementing sustainability practices. The interesting part is, that sustainability shouldn’t cost us more. Sustainability should be mainstream. Sustainability should be about using fewer resources and consuming less: Wouldn’t sustainable choices become naturally cheaper?
Passion Piece: What are you passionate about? What do you love doing in your free time?
Veronika: You might have already guessed that promoting Sustainability positively is a big passion of mine. It’s rewarding to help others in achieving their goals to become more sustainable.
My biggest passion is food. I love cooking and my hubby thinks that I’m a good cook. Good food always had a high priority for me. It even paved my academic career. In my early twenties, when I was reevaluating my life choices, I was made aware that I talk a lot about food. So, I decided to study food.
Other hobbies I can think of are multi-day hikes with my favourite tent (and hubby of course), travelling and simply being aware of what’s happening around me. Simplicity is what I enjoy practising and escaping from the hustle and bustle of the big city I live in. Before I forget, I love jumping into big waves, it’s so much fun!
Passion Piece: Where do you see yourself in the nearest future? Which projects would you like to work on?
Veronika: It’s a good question and an important one. One of my goals is that I want to develop sustainability strategies that will make it easy peasy for everyone to make sustainable decisions. A dream would come true if I see my solutions applied which will make the person’s life better and make the world a better place.
Currently, my biggest project is my blog which I’m consistently feeding with valuable sustainability content. Additionally, I’m in the process of creating different courses and other offers to bring sustainability closer to my readers. Every week, I’m sending out a newsletter with the newest information from the sustainability space.
Regarding other projects, I would love to be involved in projects all around the world. I’m fascinated by the diversity that our world has to offer. Hence, learning different techniques for solving our global challenges can bring much value. Any project which has the potential to achieve real system change would be a dream to participate in.
One of my personal (still a dream) projects I want to start at one point in the future (hopefully nearby) is to buy a big patch of land in New Zealand and turn it into an amazing food forest.
Passion Piece: Can you imagine your blog making a difference?
Veronika: Definitely. I think it already did because I also count little accomplishments as valuable. For example, family members who are boomers told me that they enjoy reading about my outlook on sustainability. That’s already a big accomplishment I would say. A lovely friend of mine was inspired to restructure her shopping habits more sustainably.
It takes one step at a time to spark incredible change. Moreover, the more I dive into the realms of sustainability, the more wonderful people with similar outlooks and missions I come across. Sustainability isn’t an individual act, it’s collective action with good intentions. Together we can really change the world for the better.
Passion Piece: Which motto would you like to share with my readers?
Veronika: Achieving Sustainability has never been easier. We have everything we need. Sustainability doesn’t have to be complicated. Everyone can find their purpose or role in achieving sustainable goals. Now more than ever, we have the chance to shape the world so that it benefits all of us and not only a few. Sustainability can be applied anywhere, everywhere, anytime.
Passion Piece: Thank you very much for this truly inspiring conversation and I wish you continued success in the future!
See you around!
Photos by: Veronika Tietz
Comments: 1 reply added
Nawet sam wywiad worowadza już mnóstwo działania w kierunku poprawy naszej przyszłości. Widzę ogromny potencjał w tym co robi Veronika. Wierzę, że Jej marzenia się spełnią! Wspaniała działaczka.