Thanks to Papá de G for inviting me to participate in his initiative #decaraalatierra. In this interview we talked about what we do in our home to live a more low-impact lifestyle with kids.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog?
My name is Carlotta, I am a journalist and translator, two careers and passions that I have combined in my trilingual maternity blog La Tela di Carlotta, where I write about the challenges we face daily as parents, about how to apply Montessori at home and “customise” it to each family’s needs, and about multilingualism, since we are raising our children with four languages. I have also created a Montessori course in Italian for parents who want to bring Montessori to their home in a simple and practical way.
2. How important to you is the news about global warming, pollution and environmental problems?
I want to be honest with you, a couple of years ago I stopped watching news on TV and reading newspapers because I think that all they do is to show the negative in the world, the bad in people, and I prefer to focus on the good, the positive. That is why I like to learn about these topics by joining online communities focused on carrying out a change, activist accounts on Instagram, local and international blogs that inform me, give me creative solutions to take care of our planet and at the same time answer my questions. One community that I just joined is the @lowimpactmovement, which focuses on educating people about ways to use less plastic and achieve a zero-waste lifestyle (where I take a lot of inspiration from).
3. What do you do at home to deal with these issues?
At home, we try to make children aware of our use of plastic, of our shopping habits at the supermarket, of the waste of food we purchase and not consume, of the materials and fabrics of the products we buy, whether they’re toys or clothes.
We have switched to glass bottles with carbon filters to never buy plastic bottles; each one of us has a thermo bottle for when we are out and about; we carry around our own straws to use in restaurants and cafes; we use reusable bags to do the grocery shopping and also to buy loose vegetable; we even switched to cloth diapers for my second child after three years of disposables.
They may seem small changes, but they are not. Let me give you an example: in our two-month trip to Canada, every day we filled our bottles at least 4-5 times each with water from fountains we found on the streets and in parks… multiply it by four bottles, and that’s already a saving of 20 plastic bottles a day!
We talk about all this with our kids, we explain them why we ask the waiter not to bring a straw with our orange juice, why we pick up plastic in the street and throw it in the recycling bin, why we try to avoid balloons…
And I want to point out that it hasn’t always been this way: we have made many of these changes in the last two years, since I started to become more aware after having children and understanding that a small change can “have long legs” (as we say in Italian).
4. What does your community do to deal with these issues?
Here in the south of Spain it seems to me that the real revolution has just started, but it is reaching more and more people, especially families with children: more and more eco-friendly stores are opening every day, more and more restaurants choose local food thus avoiding plastic wrapping, small entrepreneurs are creating online stores to sell products such as metal straws or veggie bags or shampoo bars… products that you wouldn’t normally find locally.
And as for me, since October, through my blog and with the help of local businesses and passionate people like myself, I want to start organising garbage and plastic collection days for children, on the beach or in the mountain; mommy markets of thrifted toys and clothes… there are so many things that can be done, and I want to stop finding excuses (for example: I don’t have time, it’s too hard, it doesn’t make a difference…) and start promoting a change of mentality by leading the way.
5. Do you have a final message?
I’ve noticed that when you start becoming aware of how bad plastic is for the environment, you start seeing plastic everywhere, and little by little it’s only natural to change your ways and habits to use less of it: for example, you’ll start wrapping your sandwich in a piece of paper or a reusable bag instead of using the transparent film; at the supermarket you will choose products that come in glass instead of tin or plastic; at the restaurant you’ll only get water if it comes in glass bottles, or you’ll ask for the big olive oil bottle instead of the single-use portions many cafeterias offer…
For me, this change of mentality is a bit like when I found out, years ago, about how bad all the prepared foods are compared to the natural ones, and I started reading all the ingredients on the label before buying anything: in the same way, now that “saving plastic” is a mental priority, I find many ways to use less plastic products in my day-to-day.
And I’d like to add that all these changes go hand in hand with reducing consumerism, which is why the biggest change we’ve made so far is buying less stuff; using the stuff we have for longer, until they really don’t work anymore, and not just because “the new color is out”; buying second-hand when possible. I’ve come to understand is as much about plastic-free as it is about low-impact.
It is never too late to make small (or big) changes in our routine and habits, and even if it seems that the change of a single family doesn’t make a difference, that’s absolutely not true!
Switching to cloth diapers for me was a shock and something I thought I’d never do: but now I can proudly say that not only would I never return to disposables and that after only a few months it seemed the most natural thing to wash diapers instead of throwing them away, but also that thanks to my change dozens of families that read my blog have also switched to cloth. 🙌
A single change of a single family can generate a chain effect and make a big difference for our beautiful planet. Choose something to change today, and go for it!