In this edition of ‘What Inspires Me’ we feature Sarina Hausler, a passionate 15 year old leading the way in helping others reduce waste and plastic consumption through her very own eco-business, Planet Angels. Sarina shares what led to her love of the environmentm tips on changing behaviour, and how we can make the world more sustainable into the future without super powers.
1. How did you first become interested in environmental issues?
My family has always been the outdoors type, with millions of sports games every weekend and lots of exciting bushwalking and camping expeditions during school holidays. As a family we have always had a focus on ensuring a zero footprint whenever we go camping or bushwalking. When at home, we make an effort to reduce our waste, by using reusable containers, having zero waste school lunches and composting food scraps and recycling.
As a result of my adventures in nature, I grew to be more and more mindful and passionate about our beautiful environment and its inhabitants. Over this time, I became increasingly aware of the global pollution crisis and the harm that this inflicts on our planet. At 14, with this knowledge and my passion and in the hope that both my older self and future generations will live a more sustainable and harmonious lifestyle with our planet, I decided to launch my business, Planet Angels.
At Planet Angels we aim to make sustainable choices accessible and affordable to everyone, so that people can choose to live a more ethical, eco-friendly and plastic free lifestyle. Planet Angels also aims to help raise awareness with as many Australians as possible and support them to take simple and easy steps to reduce our negative impact on the environment without breaking the bank.
My first objective with Planet Angels was to get rid of plastic/single use straws and the first product I launched was reusable stainless-steel straws. I am constantly adding more fabulous eco-friendly products and expanding the range and help our community make the right choices for the environment.
2. What have been the biggest highlights of your journey so far?
The biggest highlight of my journey so far, from an environmental perspective would be realising that making the switch from disposables to reusables is easier than expected and I now no longer feel the need to buy ‘everyday’ plastic products. There are so many simple alternatives.
I have been slowly reducing all my plastic bathroom products and I just can’t believe how much space I now have in my bathroom cupboard! Also, I am constantly researching environmental issues and tips for my blogs and I love sharing my new learnings and ideas with my like-minded community and gaining feedback from them.
From a business perspective, I love that I am constantly learning so many amazing things about starting and running a business as a 14-year-old. It’s been so much fun, with so many successes and failures that have enabled me to continuously grow. I am so excited to see where this goes!
I would happily encourage all kids to find the things they love and work hard every day to make their dreams happen. You’re never too young to make a difference…. or own a business.
3. How do you engage with people that are not buying into the sustainability message?
Engaging with people who are unaware, unwilling or unsure about how to make positive changes for the benefit of the planet is really important and is something that both eco-businesses and eco-warriors are faced with every day.
I believe that it is important to create the desire for change by spreading knowledge and awareness of both the issues and solutions. I try to make it easy, enjoyable and gently encourage people to take action by taking small steps every day. This is far more effective than becoming angry or shoving gloomy messages into people’s faces. We’re all in this together and connecting with others to share tips and create a community is so vital.
To be onboard with the sustainability message people need to be aware of why taking action is so important and how they can go about making a change in any aspect of their life. They may be hesitant to do something that’s unfamiliar, so being able to try new things in a safe and supportive environment, can be reassuring. As we all know, hearing a message multiple times, in multiple ways, is often necessary for it to sink in. Starting conversions about sustainability, climate change or any environment issue is crucial to spreading awareness.
People can also be overwhelmed by major change and often prefer to get comfortable with one behaviour before trying another. It can be wise to introduce a new initiative gradually and connect it to things people are already familiar with. A simple bamboo toothbrush in place of a plastic one, what a small step to start the day and your zero-waste journey!
4. Can you share a sustainability/environmental project or story that you’ve been involved in or heard about that stood out for you?
My favourite school sustainability story is from Carrum Primary School.
The Grade 5 & 6 students joined local community volunteers every month on Carrum beach as part of the Friends of Carrum Foreshore program. They work to improve the natural foreshore environment by collecting bags full of litter and recyclables, planting indigenous species to stabilise the beach dunes and providing habitat for local flora and fauna.
Not only did they reduce plastic waste and rubbish from going into our beautiful oceans, but they helped reduce our carbon footprint by planting trees.
Go Carrum Primary School!
5. What is your favourite environmental education resource for fellow students?
Any research, news, community and social media platforms that spread the word about environmental issues and are available to everyone are amazing resources for students. We are really lucky that we live in an age where so much information is available at our fingertips. Knowledge and desire are vital for us to be able to make a difference.
6. If you could be a sustainability superhero, what name would you choose and what powers would you have to make the world more sustainable into the future?
As a superhero I would be called Planet Angel….of course!
My superpower would be to eliminate single use plastic, reduce waste and ensure that everything we do has a carbon neutral footprint ensuring that all our actions are united and aimed at leaving the planet in a better state than it is now.
It is currently estimated that 12 billion metric tons (around 35,000 times as heavy as the Empire State Building) of plastic will enter landfills or other environments by 2050, if current production and waste management trends continue.
Reducing our global waste (specifically plastic) consumption would decrease this incomprehensible number and halt the harmful effects of plastic production and consumption.
Of course we don’t need superpowers to do that, we just need to work together!
Thank you Sarina for sharing your story. You can learn more about Sarina and check out some eco-friendly products by visiting Planet Angels.