Alicia Silverstone Talks About Her Eco-Friendly Lifestyle
Advocacy In an exclusive interview, the “Clueless” star shares what inspired her interest in green living and emphasizes the role sustainability plays in the planet’s future.
How did you first become interested in sustainable living? And why is this an important topic for families?
I adopted a plant-based diet for the animals. I had the realization that I was an animal lover eating animals. It didn’t feel right to be aware of what goes on in the animal agriculture industry and actively participate in it. Little did I know, plant-based eating is also one of the most effective ways to help save our planet. Animal agriculture is responsible for more than half of greenhouse gas emissions and is the leading cause of deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution. If we love our little ones, we must care for the home they inhabit by showing respect, love and compassion for all that’s in it — every resource, every creature.
How do you teach your kids to live more sustainably?
I try to lead by example. Bear sees me making choices all day long that benefit our planet. If I had to narrow it down to two main categories, they would be eating a plant-based diet and integrating sustainability and whole earth thinking into daily actions and decisions. For example, composting our food waste, turning the water off when brushing teeth and bringing our own bags and utensils when shopping or eating take-out. At age six, he is a little eco-ambassador for our planet; compassionate, loving, curious and aware.
What are a few changes you have made around the house to live more sustainably?
Apart from our diet and what’s in our fridge, we’ve done lots of things in and around the house to tread lighter on the planet: using reclaimed FSC Certified wood for our house, furnishing the interior with almost entirely second-hand vintage pieces, implementing zero waste practices and using almost nothing that’s single-use disposable (cloth napkins, Eco Nuts laundry soap, rags instead of paper towels), washing our clothes with a Guppyfriend washing bag (prevents plastic fibers in synthetic fabrics from making their way to the ocean), having a veggie garden, composting, utilizing greywater to feed our fruit trees, integrating permaculture principals into our landscape that’s filled with native plants, capturing rainwater to recycle into our land and overall not having too much stuff.
As a busy mom, how do you make eating organically a priority for the family?
If you want to feel good, you need to eat and sleep well. The only way to really achieve this is by eating a kind diet. It’s my number one priority even when things are crazy busy. There are so many delicious go-to meals that are quick and nutritious. Cooking and eating meals together is a really great way to spend quality time with each other. Bear and I are absolute food lovers, so in prep for our week, we make it a mission to visit the farmers market. It’s a fun weekend ritual. We connect with our farmer friends and load up on our organic nutrition for the week. Farmers markets make buying organic really easy. When you choose organic, you’re voting for healthy soil, nutrient-rich produce, clean water and ecologically sound farming. As an extra bonus, since organic foods are grown in richer, purer soil, they contain more minerals than conventionally grown, chemically enhanced foods — making them tastier and more nutritious.
What are some easy changes our readers can make in their closets to make their wardrobe more sustainable?
Start by asking yourself if you truly need the item. There’s too much material stuff produced on this planet and it all requires precious resources. For this reason, I first remind myself less is more. If I do need or want something, my go-to is shopping vintage. Eleven million tons of textiles go to a landfill each year, and they don’t biodegrade. They can sit in a landfill for at least 200 years. That’s why I make it a point to buy used clothing, shoes and bags. It extends the lifecycle of that item and creates more demand for second-hand options. There are so many great, stylish and affordable second-hand clothing stores such as Crossroads Trading, Buffalo Exchange and Goodwill to name a few. If you do need to purchase a new item, refrain from buying animal materials like leather, wool and fur. Horrific cruelty aside, they require so many resources from feeding to taking up lots of land, all while contributing more methane greenhouse gas to the atmosphere. Instead, purchase materials made from natural substances like hemp and organic cotton. It’s so much better for your skin and the planet. It’s not about being absolutely perfect, as long as you try your best. The animals and planet will be better for it.