Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background in sustainability, please?
My name is Livia van Heerde and I grew up in Vienna. I moved to London 3 years ago to study Environmental Science which I will finish in July this year. I’ve had a strong passion for fashion all my life and was shocked to find out the unethical and unsustainable practices of the industry. I decided to start an Instagram page and a blog focussed on sustainable fashion and sustainable living which became more and more popular over the last 3 years. There, I am sharing news on climate change, sustainability, environmental problems, the fashion industry and more as well as outfits that are vegan, sustainable and ethically made. I also discuss sustainable lifestyle topics including green beauty, vegan food and more with my followers.
How does what you currently do contribute to the community?
My platforms are a source of information. People can easily find ethical and sustainable brands that are making an effort to contribute to a better planet on my Instagram and blog without doing a lot of research. I am doing the research for them – the people that no longer want to support mainstream companies whose practices are unethical and unsustainable. I also filter through latest news and use my Environmental Science background to inform people on the latest environment and social responsibility related news so that they stay informed without making a lot of effort. Additionally, I am advising people on how to live more ethically and sustainably.
In your opinion and based on your personal experience, what steps can we take today to make Vienna more sustainable?
Vienna is already a great city when it comes to sustainability. The city has a great public transport system and every supermarket offers organic foods. However, Vienna is a huge disappointment when it comes to topics like cigarettes (which are very polluting to the environment and are rather encouraged by the government) and single-use plastic products such as straws. The gastronomy sector can definitely step up their sustainability game by reducing their plastic usage and the Austrian government should promote anti-smoking laws.
What does sustainable mean to you?
To me, sustainable means keeping in mind future generations and the future state of our environment during decision-making.
What would be one small thing that you wish everyone would start doing tomorrow?
I wish everyone would take climate change and the future state of our earth in consideration before making a decision and make this a priority.