bambusliebe trifft naturlandkind

bamboo love meets naturlandkind

An interview about the power of change, the connection to nature and about why cucumbers should not cost 0,60 ct

"Your receipt is a ballot paper! Unfortunately, this sentence is not from me (although I would have liked to have coined it), but from Viktoria Heyn, better known to many as naturlandkind and a model of inspiration. Her Instagram account, which currently has almost 76,000 followers, shows that this can certainly be said. This account arose from her passion for photography, DIYs and her interest in a sustainable, plastic-reduced lifestyle.

In October, Viktoria's book "Besser naturbewusst leben" (Christian Verlag) was published. Despite all the success and the impulses she gives, she remains balanced: "There are days when I am tired. Days when I think that as an individual I cannot achieve anything and fall back into old patterns. There are situations in which I break principles and make exceptions. That's okay. But there are more days when I am motivated, when I believe in how much a single person can achieve... Everyone has his own solutions. My solution doesn't have to be your solution. The important thing is to live a little bit more independent from chains and corporations and to set an example through your own consumption."

I find this sympathetic and honest and in the same way Viktoria asked herself the following questions, for a sustainable exchange of ideas.

bamboo love: First of all congratulations on your own book! On 160 pages you give suggestions for more sustainability in everyday life. What do you do when you are publishing uninspiring posts or books?

Viktoria: Thank you very much, I am very happy that I could publish this project now! I am a qualified educator and work in a school in the mornings. In the afternoon I have been studying "social work" via a distance learning course for 2.5 years. So in addition to the Instagram account my time is very well filled. To clear my head I like to spend time in the garden, in nature and running, but also in the kitchen, cooking or baking cakes.

With your three siblings you grew up very close to nature. Was a sustainable way of life practically handed down to you in your cradle?

We grew up on a farm in a small village in the Wendland. We spent our childhood mainly outside. Preferred places to play were self-built caves in bushes and the play equipment made of natural materials such as sticks, stones and water. But of course we also had toys. My grandmother and mother took us into the garden from an early age to help with sowing and harvesting. As children we had room for our own flower beds and sowed carrots and radishes there. So we grew up in the middle of nature and we are close to nature. My mother always attached importance to freshly cooked food and partly organic products.

What is your most beautiful childhood memory?

playing in nature! I can't spontaneously think of any particularly formative memory. We were very creative and always came up with new ideas for playing, both indoors and outdoors. In rainy weather we often rode our bikes through huge puddles. A special highlight was always the visit to my grandma. She had a huge garden with fruits and vegetables. We especially liked to pick peas, which we nibbled directly. Another nice experience was also the shopping with my grandma. In a small village shop (at aunt Erna's) you could buy then "still" partly unpacked. And with our father we often went to the land ditch and put a fish trap in the water to catch fish. My brother and I were always so curious that we often went there secretly with our bicycles to look. But often there were only crabs in it, which we watched and then released again.

That sounds dreamlike. Today most children grow up very differently; they are used to consumption from a very young age. No wonder that later on they fall into the typical consumption traps in step and quite cluelessly. There is the path to more sustainability, a process that takes time. Were there any changes in your life that needed getting used to?

Yes, I had to get used to the increased renunciation of meat in particular. In the country with own animals the eating of meat is simply quite normal. I always thought that I will never be able to get rid of it.

And how is it now?

I started to eat less meat at some point and to try alternatives, but without pressure. So I was able to give up eating meat quite quickly and I have to say that it is not difficult for me anymore, quite the opposite. That is why the issue of sustainability in all areas is in any case a process that is faster for some people and takes a little longer for others. It is important to take time and to approach change step by step. In my experience, this is a better way to get involved without quickly becoming frustrated and realizing that every little thing counts. Sometimes you take steps backwards out of comfort. In the meantime I have accepted this and I am happy when 80% or 90% of things work out well.

Wow, a high percentage! You say of yourself that you too cannot achieve a perfectly sustainable, waste-free life. But you're pretty close. Console us and tell us two things that still don't work out the way you would like them to.>/h2>

The weekly shopping is still a vice to me. The next unpacked shop is 20 km away, so I don't shop there regularly. I then combine the trips with other undertakings, so that the journey is worthwhile. In everyday life I am thus tied to the regional organic food store and other supermarkets, and while shopping, garbage often still accumulates. The second thing is mobility: I live in a rural area and have to do a lot of things by car.

And where do you get tips and suggestions?

For the most part from my mother and my grandmothers. They are still great role models for me in terms of a sustainable and natural life, because for them it has always been normal. I also draw inspiration from books and documentaries.

What does the purely economic aspect of sustainability look like in everyday life? Organic and unpackaged is often more expensive or can you save money by doing it yourself? But by doing it yourself, you learn to appreciate products and food in a completely different way, because you know what individual ingredients cost and the time you have invested in their production. By this way, one understands that for example, a firm shampoo costs on average 9 € what is completely ok. Because the individual ingredients in organic quality have a certain price. But there are many products where you can definitely save money by doing it yourself. Organic food and products in the unpacked store seem more expensive at first, but when you get to grips with the system, you can see the error in it. We are simply spoiled by cheap and unreasonable prices in conventional supermarkets or discounters. This system is at the expense of other people. Producers usually do not get much money for their products, so they have to produce in bulk and cannot pay their employees adequately. Nevertheless they depend on the supermarkets as buyers and therefore they sell their products cheaply. I often illustrate this with an example: a conventional farmer/producer sometimes gets only 0.02 € for a cucumber. In the supermarket this cucumber can be resold for 0.60 €. Anyone who has ever grown cucumbers himself knows that this price cannot be right. Because the seeds, plants, water and care - all this costs money and time. Actually a cucumber should not be resold for so little money. In any case, I have learned that there is no fair trade behind cheap prices. Buying organic and unpackaged is more expensive, but in my opinion it is reasonable.

To act in a nature-conscious way requires a certain effort. Do arguments like "no time" or "no money" count, if you don't want to bring it?

I understand the arguments "time" and "money" very well. Personally, I also find it difficult sometimes. Nevertheless it is no excuse not to start and not to make an effort. Nobody has to change everything from one day to the next. But I am of the opinion that we have to change over little by little . Mass production and consumption are damaging to ourselves and the environment. In the long term, the earth will not be able to cope with this, resources will become scarcer. We should be aware that alternative materials may seem more expensive at first, but if we buy a good product that has been produced qualitatively and fairly, we will have something for longer. A stainless steel can is very robust, the material is much more durable than plastic and it will certainly last for many years.

Apropos stainless steel can: With me - and certainly with many others - it is now the case that we would like to change quite a lot, but still have various relics from our plastic-flooded life before the new consciousness, i.e. storage tanks and Co. In your opinion, how do we best deal with this - continuing to use, giving away, throwing away?

I don't recommend throwing anything away, because it is not sustainable at all. When it comes to stockpiling, it always depends on the food in question; I wouldn't store greasy products in plastic containers anymore, with pasta etc. it looks different, because these products don't dissolve plastics. My tip is to simply reuse the plastic containers for other things, for storing any household items like screws, nails, paper clips, seed bags, whatever. Everyone will surely find a good use for it. If you can't find a use for it, you can give it away. Plastic mixing bowls should not be reused and I would actually dispose of plastic kettles, because microplastics are probably released every time. So it always depends.

To inspire you to change things and to change yourself, you wrote the book mentioned at the beginning. Plus job, college, Instagram. How do you manage all this and still have time for DIYs? Do you have a tip for us? I actually ask myself that sometimes. I am very ambitious and determined, that's why I usually manage to do everything I set out to do. Work and study are part of my full-time job. On weekends I take more time for Instagram, gardening and doing it myself. I see this as a hobby and that's why I enjoy it. But I also notice that sometimes I can't manage everything. As compensation I do regular sports and deliberately allow myself time off. But sometimes the time-outs are much too short, I still have to work on that.

That's certainly the case for many people. Have you ever had the time and opportunity to be part of Fridays for Future? If so, how did you experience that? I'm not very active at Fridays for Future because my working hours don't allow it. Working with people brings with it a certain responsibility and supervision. But I could already participate in two demonstrations and I think this movement is great! The students inform themselves, research and bring together really great things. FFF has now become a big movement. Therefore the topic is in everyone's head. I have the feeling that more and more people are talking about climate change; that politicians are admitting to themselves that it cannot go on like this. The pressure is growing and ultimately it is in our hands. We as consumers have great power. Every day we can stand up for breaking the balance of power and no longer support certain systems. >>/h2>

Yes, I used to have those thoughts too. What's the point of changing things on my own? A single person can't really make a difference. But if we all thought like that, nothing would have changed until today. Changes come about through many individual people inspiring each other. Just as every revolution has developed from individual fighters. From individual people a movement and community develops, just like the Fridays for Future movement.

Your look into the future: Is it worried or confident?

both. There are days when I am very motivated, when I believe that so many people know about it by now and want to change something. And then there are days when I come out of my bubble and realize how few people deal with the topic, although it is so public. In view of the science and the little time we have left to change something, I am very worried. Especially because unfortunately very little is happening in politics.

Thank you for taking the time for us, Viktoria. We hope that this interview will inspire you to rethink your habits and actions just as much as the account from naturlandkind. Because a change is inevitable and needs movement.