Building a Better Tomorrow
Through or own business, we’ve come to realise that a lot of people change – sometimes pretty dramatically, and almost always for the better – when they have kids.
We founded My Green Pod over 10 years ago, as a sustainable lifestyle hub where people could find all the information they might need to live a more sustainable lifestyle. The business was our first baby together; it was a marriage of our own opposites when it comes to skillsets and of our spooky similarities when it comes to big-picture vision.
Jarvis and I have had two other (human) babies since, and each has reinforced our commitment to making this planet a healthier and more joyful place for everyone who calls it home. And it starts with the children.
I don’t want to dwell on the doom and gloom because, well, it’s doom and gloomy. We know our lifestyles are trashing the planet. We know we don’t have long to turn things round. We know the power of collective action and ambition and we know we all have the power to be an agent of change, simply through the decisions we already make on a daily basis.
Which shampoo should I buy? Which floor cleaner should I use? Where should I buy food for my family? Where should we go on our next holiday? These are very familiar questions, but we usually answer them on autopilot. We do what we did last time; we visit the same places and park in the same spots, we do the circuit in the same order because we’ve tried and tested it. It works.
What we think about less often is the impact of all those seemingly small decisions. When we rinse the shampoo off and it goes down the drain, into the waterways. When the floor cleaner is rinsed off mops, heading for the same destination. When the food goes into our bodies and bins, along with its attendant pesticides and microplastics from the packaging and farming practices.
When you multiply each small decision in each small home by the UK’s 28 million households, you can see why we’re now facing huge problems. We’re pouring a toxic soup on our planet and causing countless problems for future generations – from the availability and quality of the food and water they need to the purity of the air they breathe.
On top of that, each time we spend money with a business that is part of the problem (rather than the solution), we’re encouraging the creation and solidification of a very specific type of business landscape. Economist Anna Lappe summed this up perfectly when she said, ‘Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want.’
Do we want to give our custom to multinationals that spew cheap, toxic products out of factories, often with little regard to workers’ rights, working conditions or environmental impact? Importantly, are these the kinds of business we want our kids to work for when they have careers of their own?
Jarvis and I set up My Green Pod to showcase the alternatives to this stale status quo in the business world. From the outset it was about showing readers (and shoppers) that there is a less damaging version of just about every product sold in a supermarket, and sharing the fascinating success stories of amazing people hell-bent on getting these products into your hands. These people are operating with purpose and kindness, and in service to their customers and the planet.
We usually work with small businesses that, even if they had the budget to create glossy national ad campaigns, they would probably choose to spend that money on community projects or rewilding initiatives. Perhaps not great for business but, as we so often hear, there’s no business on a dead planet.
By bringing these purpose-driven businesses together in the My Green Pod magazine and website, their voices are amplified. We’re seeing more ethical businesses than ever before and it’s a joy to support startups as well as the companies that have been quietly doing their green thing for years, in many cases unnoticed and unrewarded.
This shift in the business landscape is occurring in tandem with the rise of the curious shopper. We feel a big part of our job with My Green Pod is to help shoppers move from being consumers to restorers. We plant a tree for every transaction on the website, as a thank you to people who have consciously chosen not the fastest, cheapest, or easiest shopping experiences, but certainly one of the most ethical.
If you’ve just become a parent and are looking for products and advice you can trust, or want to clean up your lifestyle for 2023, don’t forget that every buying decision is significant – and that every time you make a choice you are changing the world.