Sustainability talks with Recess City
In the first edition of Travel Leap 'Sustainability Talks' we had a chat with Anna Lisa and Porter from Recess City (@recesscity).
Two Boston based photographers, with a unique style and aesthetic, who captivated us with their relentless dedication to sustainability. Their work is as inspiring as the message they share, using social media to positively influence on sustainability and ethical fashion. Anna Lisa and Porter are, in our opinion, a brilliant example on how you can be purpose driven creatives and all round influencers. Read below their answers to our five questions on sustainability and how to be a more eco-traveler!
1. When did you realise sustainability was a topic you cared about and decided to adopt a specific lifestyle?
I think it's impossible in this day and age to go about your business and entirely ignore the sustainability movement and climate change in general. With that being said, it always seems to take a little something more to catapult people from awareness to change. For us, watching the documentary The True Cost was that catapult. The movie highlights a lot of the horrors of the fast fashion movement and sweatshop culture, and we watched it at a time when we were becoming increasingly disillusioned with the role we played as fashion bloggers. We've said before that we realised we were the pawns in a game with questionable ethics (fast fashion culture), and from then on we washed our hands of it. If you have a platform that's influencing people's decision making I think it's so important that you take that role seriously and contribute something of greater value than materialism or superficiality. Young girls are watching and searching for people to look up to, and if our decisions and ethics have a positive influence on those girls and other women than that's enough to continue on the course of a sustainable lifestyle.
2. Can you share one story of sustainability that has recently made you happy and one that made your sad
The recent news that Starbucks will be doing away completely with straws got me very excited ! It seems like three or four years from now plastic straws will genuinely be something of the past, and it's not that I have a personal vendetta against them (I happen to love a good straw) but the fact that such a big company is reacting to the plastic crisis in this way has to be a precursor for bigger changes down the road (cups that are biodegradable, for example). I think we're moving toward a plastic-free culture, and it's exciting to realize it's happening right before our eyes in the presence.
On the exact opposite note, my husband and I were walking in Boston Common (our local park) recently and a squirrel ran by us with a set of plastic rings from a pack of beer cans caught around its neck. It was like being slapped in the face with the reality of what actually happens to our trash and the impact it can have on other living, breathing things. We contacted the local animal control to attempt to come and remove it, but even still, that kind of image sears into your memory. More needs to be done, and quickly.
3. Which is the one behaviour that you have changed in your day to day that had the biggest impact on living more sustainably?
Shopping. I used to be completely caught up in the world of buying clothes just for the thrill of it or for one event or because every couple of weeks it just felt like I needed a new outfit to get some sort of fix. I've done a 180 in this regard. We truly only buy things when we have a real need, and our lives are so much richer for it. We no longer waste money on an outfit for a single occasion, and strangely enough I feel like my fashion sense and the way I dress has only improved from minimizing. I never feel like I'm wearing things that are worn out or unattractive just because I've worn a certain pair of pants two or three different ways in the past week. Instead, it kind of feels like a creative challenge. I'm also so comfortable in neutrals and basics and tend to work better creatively when I'm not wearing pieces that are particularly "loud." I genuinely think minimizing my wardrobe has made me a better photographer when I'm at shoots or with clients. It clears your head that same way tidying a space will.
4. What are your top 3 tips for being more sustainable while traveling?
If you can eat local versus attempting to hunt out spots that have more Western style or home-style cuisine, that's always going to have a more beneficial impact on the local community that whatever is imported. Secondly, if you can engage with small businesses that are genuinely involved in the community for the good of the community that's beneficial as well. Whether it's a particular sightseeing tour or adventure day, really try to find companies that are doing more than just hosting tourists. We tend to stick to working with companies that are hiring locals and investing some of their earnings back in the community in local schools, usually. Along the same vein, if you can find an opportunity to serve in any way shape or form do it! Serving in a foreign country whether it's a beach clean up or spending the day at an orphanage will impact you as a person to a positive degree vacationing can never quite reach. Also, it's all about leaving a place better than you found it, and any selfless act, even if it's not necessarily eco-driven, but just investing your time in the life of a local, is absolutely worth it. Lastly, we would encourage people to use public transport whenever available. Particularly in Europe, this is so much easier anyway and really lowers your carbon footprint compared to driving.
5. Which is the one thing/object you have with you in all your travels that helps to be more sustainable?
We travel plastic-free and bring a non-polluting laundry detergent from Parachute Home with us whenever we travel, which allows us to know we aren't polluting local groundwater when we do our washing and also allows us to know we aren't going to be bringing plastics we need to dispose of into a country that has subpar or absolutely no recycling system in place. We also bring reusable cloth bags for beach days and every time we need to run out to do some grocery shopping, so we never have to take the plastic bags that are often offered. We've probably saved well over a hundred plastic bags from entering the recycling system with this one simple trick this past year.
We hope you enjoyed this first interview, we surely loved connecting, sharing ideas and getting inspired by Anna Lisa and Porter!
See you next week for the next edition,