UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH JOHN Murray
co-founder of modern botany
I was trying to think back when I first started to awaken to ‘doing my bit for the planet’ and where I kick-started my sustainability journey. I remember, back in the 90’s, I was reading an article by a global celebrity who shared that an individual could waste up to 4 gallons of water by leaving the tap running whilst brushing teeth twice a day. That was a wakeup call for me and since then have put that learning into action! I have evolved to a more reflective manner of living that now allows me to see the world and my daily life choices through sustainability lenses. I am by no means a ‘right-on’ eco-activist, quite the opposite, but do try to incorporate what conservation tricks and hacks I have learnt and continue to learn as I go. Here, I share a few of these ideas.
In my past life, before moving to the country, I was enculturated into all things that come with city-living. In terms of my personal care routine that meant showering sometimes twice a day before work and again before heading out in the evening. In thinking about this I slowly started to see that there were alternative ways to look at cleaning oneself. I remembered my elders who would have a ‘big’ wash once a week but had quicker daily cleansing routines for the rest. Now, I tend to shower 3 times a week and on the other days I flannel wash at the sink and use Modern Botany Multi-tasking Oil on my face and hands for its deep moisturising and fresh natural scent. I also use Modern Botany Natural Deodorant for underarms, but also as a body mist. These products keep me fresh throughout the day. This routine has not only saved on water waste, unlike showering, but also time; its so much quicker and easier.
I’m also conscious of how much I wash my clothes, so I try to reuse my clothes throughout the week and make my towels last longer where I can cut down on washing machine use. Again, to save on water and electricity. I stopped using a clothes dryer 10 years ago and not looked back since. At this time, I also started using eco-friendly natural detergents and cleaning agents in the home. The interesting thing is that I was so opposed to them in the beginning as I did not believe they would be effective. I was proven wrong and now there are incredible brands on the market available in your local health store and refilling stations. The one thing that I don’t miss is the overpowering artificial chemical perfumes on these products. As they say once you go natural you never look back.
I have also added some sustainability learning in the kitchen too. I have found that I can reuse water in cooking, for example when steaming vegetables, I can reuse this water instead of draining it off to cook pasta or rice thereafter. Or again using this to make up sauces or soups. I find steaming is quicker too and saves on energy usage. Since I started composting and recycling, I realise I throw away very little. This has transformed my waste output dramatically.
Finally in terms of my clothing I realise now that 10 years ago my view on clothing was very much based on trends and price and was very throw-away. Now I purchase clothing based on functionality and quality; made to last. I am also conscious on where and who made them in terms of the supply chain. I also find that once you have a good quality core edit of pieces that you can mix and match, then I don’t need to shop as much. During the covid lock-down Simon took up crafting and has since upcycled all our old clothes to make rugs and cushions. This is a great way to avoid unnecessary waste.
So overall, it's just a case of being aware and reviewing our everyday actions and trying to see how we can make small sustainable changes in our homes that will ultimately mean big changes for the planet in the long term.