La Tela di Carlotta
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The truth about my being eco-friendly (and an eco-friendly checklist for you)

Sep 20, 2019

As Here in Singapore I can’t protest or strike because it’s forbidden, here goes my contribution to global climate strike. Because a desert is made of tiny particles of sand, and my voice will always be one of those.


You should know something. Our traveling around the world is not eco-friendly. At all.

Traveling by plane is one of the most carbon-intensive activities that exist, and Alex, myself and the kids are now doing it every one-two months.

But truth is—and I’ll be blunt and selfish and unfiltered and unapologetic—I wouldn’t change it. Because this world travel wouldn’t be possible without flying and I would never miss this opportunity to see the whole world. The whole world! While we still have one, that is! (Yes, I usually joke about what makes me feel uncomfortable)

We thought and researched hard in order to travel mostly by land (I had this romantic idea of being the first family with small children to travel the whole world without flying), but we soon realized that land traveling is not compatible with long distance + working + two small children.

I felt bad for a long time about deciding to fly so much at a time when a big change for the climate is needed. At a time when my eco-friendly journey was taking me to change most of my life habits to be more sustainable, not less.

But then Alex made me notice something—something I do often: I was focusing on the bad, on the negative.

Choosing to fly (or rather not choosing not to fly) doesn’t define me: one decision doesn’t affect the whole of us, the whole of who we are.

I still care

I fly, but I still care a lot about the future of our planet.

I’m the same person who took on the challenge of switching to reusable nappies, menstrual cups and reusable pads after years of disposables—and while raising two toddlers.

I’m the same person who usually doesn’t buy a certain vegetable if it comes in plastic and scolds her husband for buying packaged snacks.

I’m the same person who argues with an astonished and confused Asian lady at the supermarket in Singapore, because she wants to put my pistachios in plastic, but “I don’t use plastic!”.

I’m the same person who forgets her bottle and doesn’t buy a plastic bottle of water even if I’m dying of dehydration.

I’m the same person who reduced the consumption of meat to almost zero, because intensive farming is very carbon intensive.

I’m the same person who doesn’t buy balloons to her kids because it’s important they understand the threat of plastic in today’s world.

I’m the same person who minimized buying and having stuff in order to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle—way before deciding to travel the world.

All this doesn’t compensate for flying, but it does count. Every small decision taken with our planet in mind and at heart counts.

I’m aware

I fly, but I’m aware. Being aware is the first step in every change, in every fight for change—mental health, sugar addiction, self improvement, climate change…

And awareness brings more awareness. Knowing how bad flying is for our planet has made me even more aware of my carbon footprint in my everyday life.

Again, it won’t compensate for flying (carbon emissions don’t work like that unfortunately), but when faced with any everyday decision, it will make me choose sustainably more often than not. It will encourage me to do my part for the planet in an even bigger way. It will encourage me to do the best I can to take care not only of my planet, but of the animals and people on it.

When we’re aware, change is possible.

Awareness is to change what water is to a plant. The more awareness you on pour on change, the bigger it grows.

So here’s an eco-friendly checklist for you. You don’t need to check all the items, simply do your best, keep seeking awareness and change will come.

  • Learn about carbon footprint. I wrote about it here.
  • Use a non-plastic water bottle and refill it when you’re thirsty.
  • Take reusable veggie bags and grocery bags to the supermarket.
  • Try to avoid products packaged in plastic (also healthier for your body)
  • At the supermarket, prefer products that come from somewhere close (or at least not from the other side of the world)
  • Use cloth nappies.
  • Avoid wet wipes.
  • Recycle: even though people tell you it all goes into the same place, recycling promotes a change in attitude.
  • Buy your clothes second hand or from sustainable brands who care about their carbon footprint.
  • Be a more conscious consumer: don’t buy what you want, buy what you (really) need.
  • Boycott big chains when possible (of food, clothes, anything).
  • Stop flying or at least stop taking flying for granted.
  • Look into alternatives to flying next time you go on a holiday.
  • Consider trains over planes even once.
  • When flying, prefer long hauls and nonstop flights, as takeoffs consume the most energy.
  • Reduce the consume of red meat, and buy your meat locally (same goes for as many products as you can).
  • Talk honestly to your kids about the climate crisis, and how our decisions affect the planet we live on: not having balloons at your birthday party is not the end of the world (having them might be ;-)
  • Donate to campaigns and associations devoted to the climate fight.
  • Support young climate activists as much as you can (follow and donate to their projects, or even just reach out and ask if there’s anything they need).
  • Informe yourself by following people like Greta Thunberg, Rob Greenfield, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Immy Lucas… start with these, and little by little you'll find the voices who talk to you.

Some of these might look like tiny changes in the grand scheme of climate change. But tiny changes (and talking about our tiny changes with others) have a domino effect.

They promote a change in awareness, which promotes a change in attitude, which promotes a change in our needs, which promotes a change in behaviour, which promotes a change in our habits, which promotes a change in the way we talk to people about our habits, which promotes a change in how they think about their own habits, which creates awareness. And the cycle repeats.

Never underestimate the power of one tiny change, and never ever ever think less of any effort you make for our planet.

Tell me what you think

Did you like it? Do you agree or disagree? I'd love to hear from you.

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The blog

I write mainly about Montessori, parenthood, and multilingualism. Here are some recent posts.

Montessori
One day a few years ago my husband came home and said, "Why don't we put a mattress on the floor in the baby room? It'd be much more natural". "Never" was my reply. That's how our Montessori journey started. Since then we've been living, breathing and applying the philosophy at home day in and day out, starting from ourselves. Because educating children starts from the parents.
Bean and seed mosaic
I'm not perfect. I'm aware
DIY yoga cards for kids
Children at the restaurant: let's recalibrate expectations
Don't ask your children to share their toys
Those "good job" that erode our children's confidence
Our Montessori birthday
Two alternatives to screens that my kids love
Using fear and threats to control children is never right!
"Stop crying!" doesn't work
Living sustainably
Living sustainably for me doesn’t only mean to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It means to make decisions that are sustainable for our planet, the people on it, but also for our life, our lifestyle, and our happiness. It means to take any daily chance to evolve and be happier, healthier, kinder, more responsible and more caring human beings—the only sustainable way for a meaningful future.
Face yoga is an act of self love
Why you should wear the same outfit twice on Instagram
The power of creating habits (and why you should do it, even if you then break them!)
Responsible eating is the diet of the future (Would you like to teach it to your kids?)
The power of NOT complaining: can you do it for a whole month?
Clean up your planet, please!
Infographic: 8 steps to switch to cloth nappies (a guide for reluctant parents)
A personal note on happiness
A personal note on social media
A change of life always widens your horizons
New to La Tela?
I’ve prepared collections on various topics that I’ve written over the years. Perhaps you’ll find one that interests you.

Travel

We sold everything to travel the world for two years. We're currently in New Zealand.

Books

In 2020 I wrote 4 books for the Italian collection “Gioca and Impara con il metodo Montessori” curated by Grazia Honegger Fresco. The collection is a project by Il Corriere della Sera and La Gazzetta dello Sport.

We also implemented the workshops of the last 15 volumes of the collection with Oliver and Emily.

Podcast

On my podcast, “Educare con calma”, I talk about various topics, from Montessori to sustainability. Only in Italian!

Oct 16, 2020 • 19m
La nostra routine con i bimbi
Mi chiedete spessissimo quale sia la nostra routine a casa con i bimbi e in questo episodio vi svelo che noi, una routine vera e propria, non ce l'abbiamo. Abbiamo una routine minima e indispensabile, che è un concetto che mi sono totalmente inventata su due piedi mentre parlavo a briglia sciolta in questo episodio, ma che credo funzioni davvero. Almeno per noi. La routine minima e indispensabile, secondo me, risponde anche a un altro "problema": trovo che ci bombardino spesso con l'idea del...
11
Oct 9, 2020 • 24m
Sostenibilità: come sensibilizzare i bambini e i giovani adulti | Con Cristiana Cerri Gambarelli
In questa puntata a due voci di Educare con Calma – divisa a metà perché amo gli episodi corti - parliamo di sostenibilità e per farlo ho invitato mia sorella, Cristiana Cerri Gambarelli, project manager della Federazione dei Giovani Verdi Europei e un esempio per chiunque voglia intraprendere un viaggio nella sostenibilità: negli ultimi ha cambiato tutta la sua vita per ridurre la sua impronta di carbonio e per prendere ogni giorno decisioni più sostenibili per il nostro pianeta e in questa ...
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Oct 2, 2020 • 24m
Intraprendere un viaggio nella sostenibilità | Con Cristiana Cerri Gambarelli
In questa puntata a due voci di Educare con Calma – divisa a metà perché amo gli episodi corti - parliamo di sostenibilità e per farlo ho invitato mia sorella, Cristiana Cerri Gambarelli, project manager della Federazione dei Giovani Verdi Europei e un esempio per chiunque voglia intraprendere un viaggio nella sostenibilità: negli ultimi ha cambiato tutta la sua vita per ridurre la sua impronta di carbonio e per prendere ogni giorno decisioni più sostenibili per il nostro pianeta e in questa ...
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I update Instagram almost every day to be "close" to my family far away.

Why La Tela di Carlotta?
I dreamed of the name La Tela di Carlotta. One morning I woke up and in my dreams I had created a blog named just like the American novel (Charlotte's Web). Many years and endless ups and downs later, this web of thoughts and stories is my work. It took me a long time to understand what kind of online presence I wanted and today I know: I'm transparent, I show real life, I don't advertise, I only recommend sustainable brands (and not only because they pay me) and I believe in the value of my blog and my courses—because if we don't believe in the value of our work, no one will believe in it for us.
Carlotta
Carlotta dreaming of La Tela
I know! I don't want it to be over yet either.