We interviewed Kaisa Rapanen about ecological choices and circular everyday life. Kaisa lives in Helsinki with her family, is on the board of Zero Waste Finland and has been transforming her life as ecological as possible for a long time. She writes Yksi ekoteko blog and shares her ideas also on Instagram @yksiekotekoblog.
How did you first become interested in ecological lifestyle?
I think I have cared for the environment since childhood. I remember that in school we were taught recycling and waste sorting. My childhood family lead a frugal life and purchases were only made when needed. When I studied in polytechnic I started to become more aware of climate change and animal rights issues. During my studies I learned more about child labor and other drawbacks of consumption and globalisation. My emphatic and caring personality has probably made me live ecologically and ethically.
What kind of ecological and circular activities do you do?
I find almost everything used, for example for our child we’ve had to buy less than 10 things new from the store. I travel by bicycle, by foot or use public transport. We travel locally and avoid flying. Now we have also taken part in shared car service, which makes it easier to get around with a child. We live in a small apartment and are mostly vegan. I try to maintain and take care of the things we own. We have rented for example a baby safety seat, travel bed and a drill. My child uses reusable diapers and I use reusable pads and menstrual cup. Instead of paper towels we use reusable ones. I have been making changes in my life for a long time and I want to highlight that all changes don’t have to be implemented in one night. All of our actions are needed though.
I have been making changes in my life for a long time and I want to highlight that all changes don’t have to be implemented in one night. All of our actions are needed though.
Has anything felt difficult?
Mainly learning a more ecological way of life has been fun and it has brought good things to my life and taken away things that previously felt bad. I aim to keep my eco-lifestyle relaxed and flexible, so it feels good. Sometimes I’ve felt difficult to have conversations about actions that pollute the environment, and I haven’t said anything even if I have disagreed. Of course I don’t know everything about sustainability. The blog has helped me, as writing it I also learn more. Lately I have been wanting to reduce the amount of stuff in my home, and getting rid of things isn’t always easy. I would like the stuff to go for someone who needs it, but it’s a lot of work to donate or sell them on the internet. I rarely buy something, but I feel frustrated when trying to make responsible decisions as there isn’t enough information and green washing has become more common. Lately there have been fortunately new services to help with this.
How could renting be easier?
When we rented the travel bed, it had to be picked up from a post office and it was quite heavy and difficult to transport without a car. It would be best if the renting were to happen within neighbourhoods residents so the items were close and available quickly. My dream would be to open a renting facility to my neighbourhood. It could also operate as a peer to peer network, where people could rent their things as storage space is quite limited in cities. Cities could also support and fund more renting and shared use services. It's also important that the possibility for renting comes up when people search for items on google for example. Many people might not even realise that so many things could be rented.
What motivates you to make circular choices?
I think nature is such a complex and wonderful system, and it’s a shame how alienated from nature our modern way of life is. The willingness to combat climate change and appreciation for nature motivate me to take action. I would like to secure a viable earth for my child and all children of the world. I believe that having a child can act as a wake-up call for many people. I feel good about reducing consumption also because I don’t want to support businesses that are responsible for human right violations. Living by my values gives peace of mind.
Do you feel like you have had to let go of some things for your lifestyle, or what have you gained?
Sometimes I feel like it would be nice to just go for a trip abroad. However I believe that often behind the need there is something else, that new trip or stuff won’t solve or take away the negative feelings. I don’t feel like I’ve had to let go of something that I would now miss. I have learned to appreciate life’s small moments of happiness and time spent with family. I want to invest in over-all wellbeing rather than just enjoying life once a year on vacation. I believe that busy lifestyles are stressing people and causing them to consume more than they should, as they try to increase their wellbeing by consuming. Of course the current economical system affects, as it encourages people to consume and work a lot.
I want to invest in over-all wellbeing rather than just enjoying life once a year on vacation.
Why did you want to take part in Zero Waste Finland organisation?
I have made many changes in my life to live as ecologically as possible. I feel like the next step to have bigger impact is getting active in an organisation. Due to the Covid19 -situation we haven’t been able to organise as many events, but sense of community has boosted also my own eco-habits. Although Zero Waste doesn’t take a stand on many important issues like compact living or flying, the organisation promotes sustainable lifestyles and doesn’t only focus on waste.