For some time now there has been a move for people to become more eco-friendly or to “go green.” From recycling, to automobile emissions, to the food that people buy there is a push by many for a cleaner and healthier environment. But what does it mean to go green? How can people become more eco-friendly? Green Girls like Leah Thomas, a graduate of Environmental Science & Policy, green movement influencer and creator of the blog Green Girl Leah (formerly) “Green Girl Food,” is using her site to offer interesting ways people can live a lifestyle that is healthy to themselves and the environment.
“In your every day life you can live sustainably by doing everything you can to reduce your carbon footprint. You can start by, recycling, buying local, using public transportation” – Leah Thomas
“Green Girl Food is a blog I started a year ago because I wanted to show people, that looked like me especially, that healthy food doesn’t have to be inaccessible,” said Thomas who in addition to her blog also writes for KimberlyElise.com and is a contributor to The Huffington Post. “I started out with my own recipes and highlighting other Green Girls who were passionate about sustainability. However, I realized that I wanted to talk about more than just food and sustainable living.”
I wanted to show people, that looked like me especially, that healthy food doesn’t have to be inaccessible- Leah Thomas Click To Tweet
There are a lot of ways that people can be greener in their everyday lives and her blog posts includes ways that includes what eco-friendly beauty products to use, how to green your home and life, the importance of putting forth positive energy to the people you love, as well as vegan recipes. Although she is advocating for people to live an eco-friendly life, she believes it’s not always possible for people to be completely green. Her purpose is to empower and help other Green Girls realize the accessibility and affability of adopting the lifestyle- not to shame or condemn them.
“I don’t think green living is all or nothing, it’s not practical for everyone to be completely zero waste or dedicate hours each day to minimalism,” Thomas admits. “I don’t shame people who are vegan but might take a long shower or a meat eater who drives a Prius. I think green living is being embraced when thinking about the environment is considered in any action during the day. Considering the environment with one decision you make is many miles ahead of a lot of people in the world.”
Although it may seem like worrying about the environment is something that started more recently, but it really began in the mid to late 1960s and into the 1970s. During that period there were concerns about air pollution, water pollution, and littering. Thomas believes that the green movement that is happening today is totally different than what was going on in the 60s and 70s when the Environmental Protection Agency was created here in the U.S. and implemented numerous environmental laws. She believes that the strides that were made are in jeopardy of going backwards instead of forwards due to changes brought on by today’s political climate.
“Common sense environmental protection laws are being threatened and science, facts themselves, are being questioned which is a very very scary place to live in,” said Thomas. “So this new wave of a green movement literally means the world to me because the future is at stake. People have to demand changes if they want to have water, food, and clean air. These are basic necessities and I hope more people become involved.”
Thomas’ interest in the environment began in a small suburb of St. Louis where she grew up and where she was surrounded by farms. When she went to college at Chapman University in California, she decided to focus on conservation and sustainability which led her to major in Environmental Science and Policy, providing her with the knowledge of sustainability along with the political tools to put her passion for the environment into action.
During her time in college, Thomas did a variety of internships that included time with the American Diabetes Association, and the National Parks Service. Two internships she had that were very influential to her were with the Student Conservation Association in rural Kansas and D.C., and at the Nicodemus National Historic Site in a small town in Kansas hidden amongst the wheat fields where she gained a lot of perspective of middle America along with an appreciation of different landscapes. However, there was one internship she had that stood out more than any others.
“My ultimate favorite was working at President’s Park [The White House Visitor Center] in D.C during the last summer of Barack Obama’s Presidency,” said Thomas. “Being next to the White House every day and being able to attend an event with Obama was life changing.”
After graduating, she began working in corporate America with Earth Friendly Products, the maker of ECOS environmentally friendly cleaning products. She applied the marketing skills she learned from her job to market and create a brand for herself on the internet.
“It’s been a lot of fun working my first ‘grown up job’ post-grad,” Thomas said. “I’ve only been in corporate America for about a year at this point, but in that time, I’ve developed two blogs, an email newsletter, an editorial calendar and more. It’s been nice to look back and know that I have made positive changes for the brand identity.”
Getting to know yourself better is such an adventure I honestly can’t believe I’m coming close to a year out of college. Let me tell you, they really don’t prepare you for how life changes. I’m patting myself on the back for somehow staying afloat with the love from my friends and family. I’m excited where this year will take me and excited for the growth that’s coming. Change is good everyone! Even if it doesn’t feel like it in the moment I promise you, changes in life shape us into the people we’re supposed to be. If you’re having trouble adjusting to change, I’m always here to chat. Much love
One of the main reasons that Thomas created her blog was to combat misunderstandings that people have about going green. Perhaps the most popular misunderstanding about going green is that it’s expensive and can only be achieved by rich people. Thomas acknowledges that there are expensive eco-friendly clothes and she hates that, but she also knows ways people can be savvy in saving money.
“I understand why it costs more money to have ethically sourced and eco-friendly materials,” Thomas concedes. “Eco-friendly products, especially clothes, cannot compete with fast fashion. However, thrift stores can. I get most of my clothing from thrift stores and a lot of the clothes I get are new with tags still on them. You can save money and update your wardrobe by simply reusing.”
With new followers to her blog every day and a social media presence that is increasing as well Thomas is thrilled that people are taking note of what she is posting and the positive feedback she gets from her followers. As her platform keeps growing she plans to keep sharing new brands with keep and giving advice on wellness and green living.
“I’m just living and trying to spread positivity, I don’t have a name for it exactly I’m just trying to be a ‘Green Girl,'” Thomas said. “I think when I’m honest and pour my heart out on Instagram captions, I receive the most engagement which shows me that other people want to connect with real passionate people.”