While we continue to rely on digital technologies and quality of life innovations, it's never too late to create an eco-friendly daily routine. From the moment you wake to when you fall asleep again, you and you alone are in charge of how you live your life. According to Forbes, 77% of people want to learn how to live more sustainably, with 93% showing genuine concern for the environment. Additionally, 87% of people stated that they made efforts to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, with 72% wanting to leave a better planet for their children.
Ever wondered what some easy micro steps towards an eco-friendly home and a more earth-conscious lifestyle are? Last week, we sat down with Anna Church, artist, influencer, interior environmentalist, to talk about her vision of eco-conscious living and daily steps to build a more sustainable home.
More than most people, Anna understands the importance of treating the world as if we planned to stay in it for a long time. Anna Church is a sculptographer who has seamlessly integrated art and nature into her limited edition artworks; her art is a harmony parallel with the environment.
Q: What does sustainability mean to you, and how do you ensure a sustainable lifestyle on a micro-level and at home?
A: ‘I have personally been more conscious around what the 'end of life looks like to something'. Organic matter decomposes and gives back nutrients to the earth during its life cycle. I'm now more conscious than ever when making consumer decisions about what my choices will make in the creation, during and at the end of their life with me. I apply this theory to the food, clothes, furniture, everyday consumable needs I purchase.'
Were they ethically and sustainably made and delivered?
How are they packaged? Can I refill or compost it?
How long will they last?
Can they decompose easily?
Is it possible for them to have a life after they leave me?
Will someone else have enjoyment and a use for them after they leave my care?’
These are questions that run through her head in every step of her day, choice of materials and purchase decisions. It's what a sustainable life looks like, as we both Anna and we believe investing in nature is the smart thing to do and the right thing to do.
Q: What's your secret to a mindfully designed home?
A: I love working and collaborating with Local craftspeople/designers who have sustainable practices. And I LOVE to incorporate artisan-made, vintage or up cycling as a design tool into my home decor and art practice.
Q: In many of your works, you choose a linen canvas for your artwork, though you've also used various other fabrics. What influenced your decision to use linen?
A: I love sleeping in linen bedding. Having worked in the bed linen industry for many years, choosing suitable bed linen is essential and involves some education to yield the best results. I'm so thankful to have had this education bought to my attention many years ago. And once you know a damn good sheet from an average one, bedtime is never better!
My go-to bed linen is Dreams Jumper's Linen sheets. I love their oatmeal / natural linen for the fall and winter and change out to White during the summer months. I'm a bit of a fan of their Terracotta color too. This is next on the hit list for Molly's bedroom.
Q: What are your top three bedroom décor tips?
A: Let’s keep it simple:
- Start with a canvas of sustainably sourced bed linen and build from there.
- Blackout curtains (or close to it) are essential for obtaining deep sleep.
- Choose bedroom furniture designed locally and/or with sustainable practices in mind. The same goes for throws, floor rugs and throw cushions.
Here is an example of a room with this ethos at their core.
Do you have to keep up with the latest trends? I think it is doable to consciously decorate and live with a sense of serenity and longevity in mind that will create a lasting aesthetic for years to come!
Sleep as a ritual
Q: For city people who are continuously at work and have their heads racing, getting enough sleep is both necessary and difficult. What are some of your tricks for getting a good night's sleep while keeping your creative juices flowing?
A: I have been consciously improving my bedtime routine after listening to Lewis Howe's interview with a sleep specialist, Dr Matthew Walker. Umm, wow, talk about an eye-opener!
I'm now practicing switching off electronics/work from my mind, during & after dinner. Talking more time to be present with my kiddos, reading books or chatting and decompressing our days together, the highlights, the lows or failures they may have felt, what we are grateful for (this is our standard family dinner time chat). Most nights after the kids are tucked in, I'll take a bath and read a book (or watch a Netflix show). Hoping into a bed with lovely bed linen is always the best end of day treat!
A peep into Anna's sustainable lifestyle
Nature-based solutions are one of the most cost-effective approaches we have for achieving our sustainability goals. Anna's dedication to sustainability extends to almost all aspects of her life. Let's hear from the creative, the art of cleaning, travelling, eating, and most of all, enjoying sustainably!
For ten years, Anna hasn't owned a car. Does that make a difference? We think it does. The size of a person's carbon footprint is incredible. On average, each individual emits 19 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year. That means one person can make a difference, and Anna believes in the impact of each individual on the planet and environment, and we can't agree more.
Anna has many shops & restaurants within walking distance that have benefited from supporting the local circular business economy. She bikes or walks everywhere. Supporting your environmental initiatives can be as simple as biking to work.
For many years Anna has used refiling practices for all her household products, handwash, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, etc. (all naturally derived, obviously). She always carries a tote bag, reusable coffee cup and drink bottle with her at all times.
Anna opts for a wonderful vegetarian food service called Crispa Kits, which is great tasting with zero-waste, zero packaging; just rinse and return. This has also helped lessen her meat consumption.
She is even conscious of her wardrobe consumption by creating a capsule wardrobe for each season. This practice was made even easier with the Pandemic because no one was going out, of course! Anna even has a composting bin in her backyard!
In many of Anna's works, she chooses linen as her canvas, and when asked what influenced her decision for the material choice, 'I love linen's tactile and visual feel and appearance. I have introduced linen into my lifestyle in a multitude of ways, via throw cushions, curtains, clothing, bed linen and into my art. I love its versatility. It just makes me feel good when I live with it and in it', she says.
To conclude on sustainability, Anna says, 'I do believe that lowering our environmental footprint is very important, but as consumers, the blame for the climate crisis cannot all fall on us to be the only ones responsible for it. Governments need to step up and implement policies around better recycling infrastructure, single-use plastics in the packaging of food & consumer goods, Fossil Fuel consumption and practices and protect our ancient forestry lands. Even if we did our very best as a collective of individuals to be environmentally conscious, we wouldn't have half the impact the government can have if they implemented critical environmental policy and built better social awareness.'
Sustainability is still a juvenile concept to many, and we can only hope that the world steps up, for there will be no world worth living in if we don't protect it. For now, we can only do our part by adopting the mindset called 'Sustainability'.