Name: Geevie and Sophia Wood
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Social Channels : sustainyoself.com and @sustainyoself
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU DO?
We are both third year college students attending the University of Minnesota. Sophia is currently studying abroad in Florence, Italy and I (Geevie) am home, running most of the blog and business for the both of us. We are both studying Global Studies with a thematic focus on Sustainable Development/Environmental Change and Political Economy, with a regional focus on Europe. I am also working on a Spanish Studies minor which I may change to a major later in the future. On Instagram we are sustainable-living influencers and post about zero waste alternatives to conventional disposable items as well as other healthy and sustainable lifestyle advice. We also just started a sustainable product online shop where we sell sustainably packaged deodorant for sensitive skin (baking soda free), beeswax lip balm and body lotion bars, which we want to expand after college.
EVERYONE HAS A DIFFERENT WAY OF DEFINING ECO-FRIENDLY OR ZERO WASTE. WHAT DOES SUSTAINABILITY MEAN TO YOU?
Sustainability to us means following a circular economy. A circular economy is best described as cradle-to-cradle, biodegradable, renewable etc. The best example to describe this concept is by comparing it to the liner economy, which is how the modern world lives today. A linear economy is produce, use, dispose. A circular economy has a similar beginning but goes on and on. Composting follows a circular economy because the nutrients are being returned to the earth, garbage and waste follows a linear economy because it has an end; landfill. Sustainability puts the environment and its inhabitants first for optimal health and longevity.
WHAT MAKES YOR SPACE HOME?
Simply put, few unique pieces that have purpose, lots of plants and family. I’ve never lived alone and never want to, so family is definitely my number one. Furniture is number two. The pieces I bring into my home, I’ve come to realize are better if they are unique and serve purpose. I also look for wood pieces overall but will look to metal and glass as well and try to avoid plastic or cheaply produced pieces, because I want them to last. Plants also make my house SO much better. Not only do they filter the air but also bring a connection to nature that is hard to get when indoors. I have at least one plant in every room in my house.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO GO ZERO WASTE?
Freshman year of college, Sophia and I attended Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, Georgia and were hit with “environmental shock”. Meaning Savannah didn’t (and still doesn’t) have sufficient sustainability goals implemented. What does that look like? Litter everywhere, little to no recycling services, no composting services and a near-by paper mill polluting the air of the city. We didn’t realize how fortunate we were to live in a much cleaner city like Minneapolis until moving to Savannah. Soon after, we discovered the zero-waste movement online via Facebook and were immediately intrigued and wanted to be part of the change and have a positive and low impact on the environment.
WHAT IS YOUR INTERIOR STYLE?
Somewhere between minimalist Bohemian. Warm tones, lots of natural light, vegetation, wood, clean cut and well organized But we also love personalization and unique features, especially custom. Also love splashes of color like Persian rugs.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE ITEM YOU'VE EITHER MADE YOURSELF OR FOUND SECONDHAND?
I found a quilt rack in my ally last summer and immediately brought it inside. It was in perfect condition, but I cleaned it up, sanded down one of the legs, and now lives happily in my room. What would have been landfill junk is now a lovely piece in my home. I love it because it’s a beautiful dark brown, wood finish and looks great by my window with the natural light. Just knowing that I saved it and have use for it only gives it more personal value.
HOW DO YOU ENCOURAGE FRIENDS OR FAMILY TO INTEGRATE SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES IN THEIR HOMES & LIVES?
Through Instagram! That’s the reason why we started it. It can also be really difficult to change family so leading by example is definitely an effective way to encourage change. Family and friends can be hard to influence and we initially started out by trying to force our family members into this lifestyle, but truly, people won’t change unless they understand why they need to. So leading by example and showing others how it’s done and how easy it is, is the best way to influence change.
IF YOU COULD FIVE SOMEONE JUS ONE ADVICE TO LIVE MORE SUSTAINABLY WHAT WOULD IT BE?
The most useful thing I have noticed while transitioning into a more sustainable lifestyle is becoming aware of desire-based purchases vs. need-based. Once one becomes aware of their consumption habits and puts an effort to only buy what they need, they can save a lot of resources and money even, as well as the potential waste being accumulated from each purchase. The next step would of course being mindful of what the item is made of, and look to reusable, long-lasting items.