Interview with Shane Shirley-Smith of Environmental Booty
Every Friday we feature great women who all live life to the fullest and inspire others as well. I’m excited to feature a woman who isn’t just working hard to making her own and her loved ones life better, but she is set to save the earth as well. Meet Shane Shirley-Smith, the owner of Environmental Booty, a company that offers consumer information, products and creative Eco-partnerships for a greener life and world. Read more how Shane lives life to the fullest and how she gives you three easy steps how to start living a greener lifestyle right now.
Interview with Shane Shirley-Smith
Katja: Your passion isn’t just to live sustainable lifestyle but also inspire others to do so. Tell us how you got started with your company Environmental Booty?
Shane: During the summer of 2008, I got very sick and was told that I had Multiple Sclerosis. After weeks of illness and worry, it turned out to be a very bad reaction to an artificial sweetener. I got pretty angry that there weren’t any warnings on the label for people like me and it made me to start to think about all of the consumer goods that might be harmful without us knowing.
I decided that I needed to get informed on my own about what was and wasn’t healthy for me and my family since it looked like the government wasn’t sufficiently protecting consumers. I started my blog to share with other consumers all of the information I was learning about toxic products, organics and how to live a greener healthier life.
Katja: Many people find it difficult to live greener lifestyle, what are your top three tips anyone can do?
Shane: I love this question because I can seriously tell anyone how to go green in three easy steps.
First, you need to have a desire to live greener.
Second, you need to get informed and speak green with your wallet.
And third, you need to get out there and share what you learn with anyone who will listen.
You can check out my post on the Environmental Booty Blog on How to Be Green In 3 Easy Steps to get the 411 on the easiest way to go green. It really is an individual path that we all walk to living green and how far you are on that path is something you should never feel guilty about.
Katja: What do you think are the biggest environmental problems right now that you’d like to change? How can we change it together?
Shane: We are all concerned with sorting out Global Warming, removing toxic chemicals from our environment as well as our consumer goods but one of the biggest concerns I have is the small amount we are recycling and the huge amount that we send to the landfill. Americans are producing more waste than ever before and per capita, we produce far more trash than other countries. I have become quite a fan of reducing the amount my family purchases, reusing what we can and recycling as much as possible. Once you start to ask yourself “Can this be reused or recycled?” for every item and its packaging you need to get rid of, you will see your recycling bin begin to overflow. You might even have to get another bin like we have!
The other really simple thing we can all do to help reduce waste is to remember to close the loop and buy recycled. Although we should all try to reduce the amount we buy, there are still things we must purchase. From consumer goods you need to the way an item is packaged, there are so many recycled consumer choices out there. Once you become a more informed, green consumer and put “recycled” at the top of your shopping criteria, you will be amazed at what you will find. The number of companies that are working toward a more sustainable future by taking recycled materials into consideration for their products and their packaging will astonish you.
And as a side note, please remember to dispose of e-waste, batteries, paint, medications and other items that are hazardous to our environment properly. We need to protect our environment and ground water from the hazardous chemicals that could leach into them. It doesn’t take much effort or time to contact your local waste management and recycling departments to find out the specifics for your area.
Katja: Is there a specific issue you are focusing this year and what’s going on for you in 2012?
Shane: Recently the Executive Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families (SCHF), Lindsay Dahl, asked me to join in their efforts to reform the outdated and ineffective chemical laws in the United States. To be working as a Florida State Ambassador for SCHF alongside other business owners, bloggers, parents, doctors, nurses and concerned citizens to make our country a safer place for all, is truly an honor for me.
I think American consumers would be shocked to learn that they are not being protected by the outdated and ineffective Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976. In fact currently under the TSCA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to prove harm before it can regulate a chemical. Isn’t that kind of backward? Shouldn’t Industry bear the legal burden of proving their chemicals are safe before they are used in consumer products like your food, your baby’s mattress or your shampoo?
My best friend got cancer at 19. My girlfriend’s daughter went into puberty when she was just nine years old. I heated BPA laden cups in the microwave filled with my perchlorate filled breast milk for my daughters and now wonder what the extent of the damage to their health will be because of it. And oh yes, don’t forget about the frogs in the Potomac River that have six legs and the male frogs that have ovaries.
Our environment is sick and so are we but chemicals are not our enemy, ignorance is. We need an updated Toxic Substance Control Act and you can help. If you live in the U.S., please join me in contacting your Senators and asking them to co-sponsor the Safe Chemicals Act. It literally took me less than 5 minutes to contact both my Senators and it felt empowering to let my voice be heard in that way.
Okay so I am down off of my soap box now.
Katja: What does skimbaco lifestyle mean to you? How do you live life to the fullest in your everyday life?
Shane: To me, living a Skimbaco lifestyle means living life to the fullest by being grateful for every single day, not wasting a minute and relishing in the fact that we have no idea what is coming next.
The joy in this life is not about what “things” you have acquired and it’s not about being the perfect man or woman. Things are overrated and perfection is a myth.
Living this life to the fullest is really about finding the joy in simple pleasures – like the way it feels to be surprised, hearing the voice of the one you love or knowing that you will never settle for second best.