Hello, world! (AKA, “Who I am and what this blog is about”)

My name is Genevieve. For most of my life, I’ve believed that the world would be a better place if we all started acting as if our individual actions would be the basis for others’.1

That said, I used to not give much thought to a lot of the other things in the world that were affected by me (and people like me): I used to not really care about the environment past the basics of recycling, not littering, and not using excessive amounts of water. I used to care little about animal welfare (past what was convenient for me). I didn’t really care about world hunger, poverty rates, or about really anything that wasn’t shoved in my face as being super important.

All of that unfortunate stuff about me started to change in 2014.

It started after I returned from living abroad for two years, and out of a desire to find self-care products and routines that were more internationally available. When living abroad, I had to face the reality that not all convenience products we take for granted day-to-day are available in other places. I couldn’t find my shampoos and conditioners abroad, nor could I find any of my skincare items. As a result, I had to rebuild all my routines. When I returned, I wanted to avoid the same issues from happening again. I was convinced I could make things easier for my non-jet-setting self by making my routines “international proof.”

To that end, my experimentation began with trying baking soda and vinegar as a substitute for my haircare routine. It ended shortly after, with my having to accept greasy-headed failure.Haircare blunders aside, experimenting with my routines using household products sparked a desire in me to find products that worked with less junk in them. Although I had no success with baking soda, could I not have success with an all-natural soap bar? Why did we even need all these crazy ingredients in our products, anyway?

Most importantly, I started to wonder: what do all these added chemicals that we just assume are “normal” even do — for us and when they go down the drain?

I started looking up the chemicals and products in my own self-care routines, and I learned with varying amounts of alarm that there are very real health concerns our products of convenience present, both to us and to the environment, through their production and their release into the environment post-use.

The back of a bottle of OGX conditioner that I used to use regularly. Ingredients on consumer products are listed in order of total % concentration. Why is the third most present ingredient Cyclopentasiloxane, which is a known environmental toxin that can cause tumors in animals at moderate doses?

I realized I wanted to try to start changing my routines, but I didn’t stop at self-care: now that I had started looking, I began noticing all the extra chemicals everywhere else. I tried learning more about what potential negative impacts they could have, and if they were important to ditch or were okay to keep.

Slowly but surely, I started going greener, and I learned to care about it, if only because most of the companies that we expect to care for us don’t seem to.

Ultimately, I realized along this process that part of being a good human in this millenium is taking responsibility for your impact in the world — not just as it relates to other humans, but also the world and the animals we share it with.

Why The Littlest Spark?

I originally got the idea a little ways back due to a conversation with a friend: he told me I was so full of advice, I should try to share it somehow. At the time, he suggested a myriad of different ways that seemed fantastical and not at all possible (he still maintains I’m going to one day create Genevieve Enterprises and eventually run the world). Funnily enough, not one of those ideas included blogging.

I believe small changes can lead to big ones. Whether it’s on an internal, personal level, like finding small wins to build confidence to try to mitigate an anxiety disorder; or on an external level, like publicly lending your voice to a group of oppressed people to correct social injustices, I believe even the smallest of efforts can help to spark a movement to produce large-scale change.

I also know from personal experience that the prospect of completely overhauling your life to make it greener and ‘kinder’ seems intimidating. Factor in the fact that trying to do it solo involves a lot of trial and error, time, and a bit of luck in mindfulness, and it seems either impossible or totally undesirable.

It’s my hope that in maintaining this blog, I can capture some of the progress I’ve made over the years, which can then help others navigate some of the difficulties with a little more ease. Maybe if I’m especially lucky, I’ll be part of someone’s inspiration to make one or two small changes they otherwise wouldn’t have made.

No matter where you are in your own journey towards minimizing your footprint and caring for the world around you, I hope that I can somehow be of service along the way.

1 I was a decently nerdy high schooler and loved studying philosophy. Something about Kant’s Categorial Imperative really resonated with me intellectually, so I often tried to live in conformance with it, at least as far as other people were concerned.

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