Going Plastic Free with Kate Nelson The Plastic Free Mermaid (podcast #74)

July 07, 2020 64 mins read

plastic-free-mermaid-podcast

We're thrilled to have Kate Nelson aka The Plastic Free Mermaid on the podcast with Mason today. Kate is an ocean lover, self professed mermaid, yogi and passionate activist working diligently to reduce and educate against single-use plastic. Kate eliminated single-use plastics from her life ten years ago and hasn't looked back! Today's chat offers a grounded and informed dialog around the burden plastic has on the earth, the ins and outs of recycling, the simple questions we can all ask ourselves about the things we consume and the companies we support. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and I reckon you will too!

Mason and Kate discuss:

  • Kate's new book "I Quit Plastics" and the process around her decision to bring a new "thing" into the world.
  • The "away" place, the invisible destination of our waste when it's shipped offshore.
  • Plastic recycling; the in's, the out's, the truth and the lies.
  • Kate's journey to becoming plastic free.
  • Self care and activism.
  • Individual change vs systems change in activism, and the importance of taking action now in whatever way you can.
  • The question "does our world need saving?"

 

Who is Kate Nelson?
Kate Nelson aka the Plastic Free Mermaid hasn’t used single-use plastics for ten years. Kate is an activist, a science communicator, and an author. Kate teaches her zero waste, plastic free, nature aligned lifestyle on her social platforms and in real life on ocean adventure mermaid retreats. Kate advocates for and influences global systemic social change through staunch individual change. 

 

Resources:

Plastic Free Mermaid Instagram

Plastic Free Mermaid Website

Plastic Free Mermaid Facebook

Plastic Free Mermaid Podcast

Plastic Free Blog

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Check Out The Transcript Here:

 

Mason: (00:00)

Hey, Kate.

 

Kate Nelson: (00:03)

Hi.

 

Mason: (00:03)

How you going?

 

Kate Nelson: (00:03)

I'm so great.

 

Mason: (00:07)

Oh, so good. So I've got your new book in front of me, I Quit Plastics: And You Can Too.

 

Kate Nelson: (00:13)

Yeah, you can.

 

Mason: (00:13)

I didn't read the other bit sorry. 60 plus lifestyle recipes to cut waste, live clean and change the world. It is good to finally see this hard back thing of yours out there in the world because you've been making such an impact on like the.. Instagram is probably where I've been seeing you do it and it's been so solid and it's a hard thing to do and go virtually kind of create a really concise and consistent message just in that space. And then, I know you've had some courses and things and retreats here and there. But yeah, this feels right.

 

Kate Nelson: (00:50)

Yeah, I actually struggled with making a thing. I thought long and hard about, should I put a thing out into the world. Produce something from new materials and resources. But yeah, it felt right. It feels holding something that will last and that you can page through. It's kind of this romantic relationship we have with books and literature and how that can kind of be infused into our brains and our bodies and our lifestyles and our habits and routines differently than what we're perusing or scrolling through online. So, yeah, it feels really nice to have it.

 

Mason: (01:24)

And that's why we love you because you think about those kinds of things about creating a new thing and putting a new thing into the world. Because I mean, that last Instagram post you've got, anyway, it's a couple back. We'll put the link for it. It's like you went to the other place. So what is it? You went?

 

Kate Nelson: (01:38)

Away, yeah.

 

Mason: (01:39)

Away, and it's right because we just keep on creating things and books are one of those things that you can be pretty safe and not been necessarily thrown away or recycled unless it's been really. At that point, it's almost justifiable that it has been so well loved, and it's a made out of paper and so that kind of helps as well, but the creation of a new thing, because you know that it's going to go to that away place. Well, what was your process with creating a book? Honestly, did you have that point where you were like I can't create a new thing or did you have some obstacles to overcome there?

 

Kate Nelson: (02:15)

Yeah. I mean, I appreciate you bringing up visiting away because that was such a shock for me, and I'd love to talk more about that if we can and it's that...

 

Mason: (02:24)

Let's go then because people don't know what away is. We're talking about away, where the rubbish goes. Just there, away.

 

Kate Nelson: (02:31)

Right. We have these little bins in every room in our house where we throw things away, and then that bin maybe goes into a larger bag or the outside wheelie bin, and then a truck comes along and takes that away. But where does that truck go? And if it goes to a recycling centre, or if it goes to a landfill, we're so disconnected from that whole process. And most of the time it does get shipped off to impoverished countries. Used to be that China would accept a lot of our waste but they closed their doors a couple of years ago, and so now they're just shipping it off to pretty much Southeast Asia and dumping it on these gorgeous Island countries and communities and villages and people are having to live amongst our Western trash. It's really, really awful.

 

Mason: (03:15)

And that's majority of the recycling ever since China closed its doors, right?

 

Kate Nelson: (03:19)

Yeah.

 

Mason: (03:19)

It was mostly closing its doors to the recycling.

 

Kate Nelson: (03:21)

Well, yeah, because I mean, they used to take... I mean, if you look in anybody's recycling bin, it's so contaminated. It's full. People aren't rinsing out their containers, they're throwing in greasy pizza boxes. We don't really think about, oh, what are the specific rules to my local community? What are the recycling regulations that I need to adhere to? It's just kind of like whatever, I think it's recyclable. I'll put it in the bin. And so China was accepting such contaminated trash pretty much, and then they raised their standards, and they were like, all right, we can't take all this crap anymore. It's too hard to sift through. We don't have the good resources coming from what we're accepting. And so then there is this panic in the global waste market.

 

Kate Nelson: (04:00)

It was just this huge crisis of where we're going to ship this stuff, and so then they found these poor countries. They don't even have waste management system sophisticated enough to deal with their own trash or waste, so no, sending it there.

 

Mason: (04:12)

Yeah. So you're talking about literally, a milk bottle that you just close the lid and put it in the recycling bin, of course that's going to fester and be putrid. By the time it gets to China, and they're going, look guys, we can't take this festering stuff anymore. It's just not a matter who is running that through the machine that needs some intense cleaning. That's literally the main reason why they've closed their doors. And ever since you doing a live I think you were in LA going out to, I'm going to go visit the tip.

 

Kate Nelson: (04:40)

Yeah. Love visiting a tip by the way. Every time I travel, it's let's check out the recycling centre.

 

Mason: (04:46)

And really it blew me away because it's another area that I was comfy within my little societal living, and at some point, the reality is if it gets a little bit too hard I can just go, well, whatever. I just put in the red bin. Just not clean and put it in the yellow bin, and I'm not saying I'm this perfect recycler or anything now, but when you were there and you had a little chat and you were I was talking to the guy about the state of how recycling is coming through about sorting and making his life a little bit easier. Wow, man, it blew me away.

 

Mason: (05:21)

I'm like I'm really considering every time...

 

Kate Nelson: (05:25)

That guy now, yeah.

 

Mason: (05:25)

That guy. I'm like I'm massively considering that guy and the people that are sorting through. You're massively way more so. I think I can take it further but I'd like to just that. Just the not considering it machinery that's doing all that waste management and recycling. Can you just talk to us about the other key learnings from going and visiting all those tips?

 

Kate Nelson: (05:49)

Oh, man. Yeah, I mean, that's what's so interesting about, there's a great documentary that just came out actually, that you can watch on Discovery Channel or I'm also hosting a live screening. If you want to check it out, you can sign up on my website iquitplastics.com but this doco is called Story of Plastic and it traces the full lifestyle of plastic from the extraction of oil to the manufacturing to the distribution to the failures of recycling to away, that's where I actually went to Indonesia and Philippines was with this crew to film the footage for the documentary.

 

Kate Nelson: (06:25)

So yeah, it's crazy to kind of back up and then zoom in on a particular part of this whole journey of this material that's so ubiquitous and we use constantly on a daily basis and are so kind of disconnected from. So that's where my book and what I do is really fun and interesting is like, okay, how do we get into human psychology and try to hook someone or their awareness or get their attention on one of these many parts of this material and how we engage with it.

 

Kate Nelson: (06:53)

So yeah, the recycling and that's what's fun about what I do too, is I'm like a little, I'm on Instagram. I'm doing all these weird adventures and the behind the scenes and it's so interesting for me to hear what that that guy, now you think of that guy whenever you recycle, that's awesome because recycling's private business. Recycling was actually invented by the plastics industry ages ago when they first started mass manufacturing and marketing really, all this disposable plastics to us. So it was in World War II when all the men went off to war, and they were starting to use plastic a lot more for their lightweight durable machinery, or just different equipment they needed for war. And then at home, the women were having to join the workforce and take care of the family in the house and the kids, whatever. So they were like, what do we do? TV dinners, quick easy plastic plates, and silverware. Swipe it off the table into the trashcan, you're done.

 

Kate Nelson: (07:48)

You don't have to do the dishes and it was, oh, saves the world. Everyone was like, thank God for plastic. Thank God for disposable plastics, which is interesting because we're kind of having a parallel celebration of single use plastics at the moment with COVID-19, with the masks and the gloves. So we'll have to counter that later. Come back to that. So there are celebration of these plastics. And at that time the recycling industry was created less the industry, but more of the concept by big plastics by big oil to say, hey, don't worry about all this plastics you're using, because the trash bins were filling up, they needed a second bin. So they said, here's the second bin, put all your plastics, put all your recyclables in here, and we will turn them into something of equal value just like your glass and your metal.

 

Kate Nelson: (08:33)

Problem is, is that they didn't invest in that, in the recycling. So it's stayed really crude and rudimentary, whereas they've invested billions in the innovation and design in plastics. So all of that has been advancing and there's all these different kinds of plastic they're mixed and melted...

 

Mason: (08:54)

Oh, and the production to plastics all right.

 

Kate Nelson: (08:54)

Correct, yeah. And so there's all these different kinds of plastics and there's additives that make them really hard to recycle, because if you've got all these plastics in one bin, and you're going to melt them all down and make something of equal value, it's just so unlikely and now they're crusted like the milk carton with the festering milk. So you have to clean them, you have to separate out because the lid is a different plastic to the bottle, who's going to separate who's going to manually unscrew that lid and separate them, and then you melt them down and the lid has a blue dye in it, and the bottle has white dye in it or whatever.

 

Kate Nelson: (09:26)

So it's all these additives are kind of contaminating that original plastic material. So it's just very unlikely that you're ever going to get it recycled into something of equal value. Most plastic is down cycled, so it's recycled into something of lesser value. And that's just, it's just harder to find applications for that. So it's, yeah. And at the recycling company, they're getting this big pile of our contaminated milk bottles and whatever or their plastics, and they have to sort through by hand, it's going on this conveyor belt, they've got machines as well. It's so fascinating. It was so cool to see. They've got lasers that are detecting what kind of plastic it is, and then there's a blower that blows the peel, whatever kind of plastic. It'll be like high density, polyethylene up and then another blower that blows the different kind of plastic, polypropylene down and-

 

Mason: (10:19)

Just based on the densities?

 

Kate Nelson: (10:19)

... Yeah, yeah, it's amazing. And so they shoot these off into different directions, and then they're off on a different conveyor belt and they go off and then they're smooshed together into these bales and sold. They try to sell them on the global waste market, but there's just so few buyers these days. So it's really tricky for plastic recycling. But yeah, there's humans out there trying to pick these out and then it's the machines. I mean, they've got optical sensors detecting the kinds of plastics. They've got on magnets, which are pulling out the metals. It's really cool to watch these things. Everyone should go visit their recycling centre.

 

Mason: (10:52)

Do you reckon there's going to be a boom because that's creation of a product? I know there's lots of some Silicon Valley but it hasn't even reached Silicon Valley. Like entrepreneurial endeavours to use all this recycled material because it's kind of I think you were saying it last year or maybe the year before, that it's single use plastic usage has hit global consciousness? Like the straw, was it?

 

Kate Nelson: (11:14)

Yeah.

 

Mason: (11:15)

... There was that time when it...

 

Kate Nelson: (11:16)

Straws.

 

Mason: (11:17)

Yeah, straws.

 

Kate Nelson: (11:18)

I went and visited my family and I grew up in the US in Minnesota, which is up north middle world, where all the great lakes are. It's so beautiful, and I visited some family in South Dakota, which is kind of a red state, Republican state, next sort of Minnesota, and we were at some burger joint, and I asked, it was really hard for me to get anything that I could eat at this place, and I think I was getting a water or something. And I was like what does your water come in? Is it in a plastic cup or is it in a reusable cup?

 

Kate Nelson: (11:51)

I have to have these conversations a lot when I'm ordering food, and I was like, okay, well do you put any straws in it? Because I just really don't want a straw. And this girl was like, oh yeah, for the turtles. And I was like, yes! It was such a win. It was really great. So yeah people are aware. They get it. It has this association with the turtles which is great. Yeah, so people I think are tuned in which is cool.

 

Mason: (12:18)

I mean, it's got appeal. I mean, and there's a body surfing company down in Sydney that's got a hand plane made out of all plastics that have been gone and harvested from the ocean. So I think that's for WAW, W-A-W, so on and so forth. But it doesn't feel like there's too many super big players in that realm yet. I don't know. It's what it seems like.

 

Kate Nelson: (12:41)

They're getting there. It's a tough one because I think that we need to advocate for recycling because we have such a volume of plastic that's ending up in the wrong places. So when I talk about recycling, and I'm like, oh, only 9% of the plastics ever created have been recycled. People are like, oh well, screw it. We shouldn't even try recycling. But no, we need to, and so to see big brands like Nike and Adidas using-

 

Mason: (13:10)

I was going to say Adidas, right?

 

Kate Nelson: (13:10)

... Recycled ocean plastics is good. The problem is, is that we really have to be careful of greenwashing because ocean plastics can mean any plastic discarded within miles and miles of the ocean. So the definition kind of varies, but I think it's mainly-

 

Mason: (13:27)

Who defines it?

 

Kate Nelson: (13:29)

... Well, that's right. I actually don't know. Ocean plastics, any plastics found within five kilometres of the ocean, so that could be a trash can inland from the ocean. It's not necessarily a plastic out at sea. So there's loopholes and there's also been, we've discovered a lot of recycled plastic activewear or whatever that are being made from recycled plastic bottles, but then you find that they're actually just making plastic bottles and without ever using them for any product like soda or water, they're just turning them into the clothes right there. So they're skipping the actual use of that material.

 

Mason: (14:05)

Are there any company doing that currently?

 

Kate Nelson: (14:06)

Yeah.

 

Mason: (14:07)

Can you name them?

 

Kate Nelson: (14:07)

Oh, I don't know the specific companies but that was just something that it's like how can we trust these claims when you think... I mean, this is what's so frustrating for me as an activist is I'm like shoot, yes, recycled plastic, but how frustrating that that is just such a manipulation of people's good intentions, and a lot of the time the companies think they're doing it right, because they're like oh, but it's recycled, but they haven't pushed the transparency further enough at the supply chain to really get the truth, and they don't know to ask the company, well, where are you getting your recycled plastic from? They're just like, yay, recycled plastic. It's like oh, man.

 

Mason: (14:46)

Yeah, we like official stories. That's something again, when people just go and just love to celebrate and celebrating these little wins it's been really great, but there's a particular type of sustainable influencer at the moment that's pissing me off is when they are just going ahead and just going look on the bright side, there's all these big companies doing these amazing things and the level of discernment around really, and it's not distrust.

 

Mason: (15:19)

I mean big companies, generally and there's an 80/20 rule. 80% I think it's reasonable that we'll just trust based on what marketing message has been pushed forward because there's going to be a discrepancy there, depending on the value system. But I like that scrutiny that then you go and do place upon them and therefore, in your world, in your experience celebrating that win at the big companies, but where do you see it been naturally still a ground up approach? That we've got the activists and the people getting criticised at the front line for a while and then kind of getting considered and then getting accepted that maybe this is something that we use and then it kind of becomes a little bit trendy, and then all of a sudden the big companies kind of follow along. Is that still the direction that it's going in or?

 

Kate Nelson: (16:08)

Well, I mean, I have to think yes, because that's what my career is based on. I've worked in policy change, I've worked in trying to target big corporations and working with the Break Free From Plastic Alliance, which is incredible resource if you guys are interested in going deep on the science or the big corporate polluters. But I've kind of shifted recently to focusing on behaviour change and trying to influence some of these other influential people to be more, let's see, just push for transparency. Be more authentic in what they're standing for and standing with.

 

Kate Nelson: (16:51)

I have a platform of maybe 90,000 on Instagram, and I get in trouble a lot. It's so rare that I find a company that I can actually work with and support that meets my ethics, like my plastic free standards, and even when I talk about the big corporate, my account gets silenced. It's so interesting to even find that kind of line, the boundaries from which I can express myself truthfully on this platform which is supposed to be like a free speech platform.

 

Mason: (17:27)

No, it's not.

 

Kate Nelson: (17:27)

I know it's not.

 

Mason: (17:27)

No, it's not.

 

Kate Nelson: (17:27)

But like in theory. You wouldn't think that the algorithm is quieting us but it is. So it's frustrating to but I'm not surprised when I see these people kind of jumping on the bandwagon and pushing this kind of green propaganda that just is so shallow and doesn't really have the research. It's a lot of work to...

 

Mason: (17:52)

So you see who's kind of in bed with the platform's in a way do you mean? Is it like when you mentioned Amazon or you mentioned Coles and Woollies being like all right, but watch the greenwash of what they're doing with their plastic free thing or mentioning Nestle. Is it just the mentioning of them that gets batted down?

 

Kate Nelson: (18:13)

Well, yeah. I mean, I did an experiment recently. So Break Free From Plastic does a brand audit. So there's tonnes of beach cleans around the world, and the past couple of years, they've asked people to also tally up the brands. And so when you're collecting all the trash, and please everyone if you're doing cleanups, submit your data to them, because it's so interesting. It actually is helping influence legislation.

 

Mason: (18:35)

So good.

 

Kate Nelson: (18:36)

So when you're doing your clean up, and you find all these bottles, and it says Coke on it, because these big brands do a great job of making sure their labels and their names and their brands stay on their packaging, because that's free marketing. So you tally up, okay, Nestle, okay, Coca Cola, and you tally up all the brand names and then you submit that data and that's actually helped us realise that it's not Indonesia that's the top polluter on the planet or it's not Thailand, it's actually Coke and Nestle and Unilever and these top 10 big multinational corporations that are the top polluters on the planet. And it's not because Indonesia is just letting all of their trash flow out of the rivers.

 

Kate Nelson: (19:13)

It's because we're shipping all of our trash to them, and on top of all the sachets and all the plastic packaging that has now infiltrated all of their markets because they're cheaper than local locally grown food, it's just piling up and they don't have the management systems, as I said earlier. So that's what's causing all this ocean pollution, all of this burning of trash all this.

 

Kate Nelson: (19:33)

Yeah, so calling out those top corporations and attending the Break Free From Plastic events and our oceans and being really vocal about these corporations and joining Greenpeace to protest Unilever in Amsterdam.

 

Mason: (19:46)

That was cool.

 

Kate Nelson: (19:47)

It was so cool.

 

Mason: (19:47)

The big floats, was that the one? Yeah.

 

Kate Nelson: (19:48)

Yeah. It was funny because the activists, it was actually in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. But the Greenpeace activists were like, man, there's been so many protests lately we had to get creative. And so they threw a night time rave, and so we marched at night with these huge, yeah, floats. This big giant monster dragon made out of all of this plastic that had been collected from the Philippines that was from Unilever, which was headquartered in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. And so we marched along and they had a famous DJ in the river playing from another a Greenpeace boat that had all these arms off of it. So it looks a plastic monster as well. It was is really clever, yeah. It was exciting.

 

Mason: (20:30)

I mean, that is it's really convenient to be able to look at Indonesia because I know that mindset, I'm just like, yeah, that country, that country, US, whatever. These guys are kind of been at least a little bit responsible with their waste management but when you start taking it into the Coca Cola, what I always find on beaches everywhere I go in the world is this little coffee toffee thing called Kopiko, and usually when I was in-

 

Kate Nelson: (20:59)

It's probably Nestle. It's sounds like Nestle.

 

Mason: (21:00)

... Probably, it sounds like Nestle. When I was 22 I was in South America and I saw these things for the first time and I had one once on a bus and then I see it everywhere I go on the world I find Kopiko.

 

Kate Nelson: (21:09)

Like a little hard candy toffee thing?

 

Mason: (21:13)

Just a packet. Yeah, just a little plastic packet.

 

Kate Nelson: (21:14)

Oh, yeah.

 

Mason: (21:15)

No, I'm like probably Nestle if not they've got to be just whoever's producing Kopiko they're like number five easy alone.

 

Kate Nelson: (21:26)

Oh, for sure.

 

Mason: (21:26)

Okay, I mean that kind of mindset-

 

Kate Nelson: (21:26)

Except those posts somehow get quieted and then anything when I'm trying to do activism is what's silenced, yeah.

 

Mason: (21:32)

... But if you're teaching people how to create toothpaste..

 

Kate Nelson: (21:36)

Oh, yeah. People love it. Oh, yeah. So I was starting to say that I did an experiment. And so I posted about Woolworths and I said, wow, cool. Look at this big brand jumping on the bandwagon because they have a few signs on their stores outside that say, don't forget to bring your bag and pushing around bringing your own bag which is great. It is this big corporation getting on board with the messaging which is great. And I posted that and it got thousands of likes and a lot of engagement. And I previously posted about them being like, man, they won't ban the bag, they're not enforcing this sort of thing. It's more voluntary. These people, here we are activists trying to push for change on the local level, small businesses taking on these changes that they're bearing the cost. They have to pay for the more sustainable options, the alternatives to plastic.

 

Kate Nelson: (22:29)

Why can't Woolworths or Coles take on this expense of phasing out these plastic bags if they understand the negative impacts on our environment? Why not these big people with actual influence instead of doing marketing campaigns, bring your own bag, printed on the store, actually put it out there and empower your local community and if they can't afford bags, work with Boomerang bags? Which is cloth bags that you can take and borrow and bring back. So I posted that it's 100 or 200 likes. So it was a bit of an experiment. Also, don't know maybe people just like a happy story.

 

Mason: (23:04)

I was going to say, I mean, that kind of level of discrepancy is when it has to be sus, that's sus. I think as well, people do the dopamine hit of a success story on the journey. Everyone wants the shiny thing. Everyone wants to know actually, you know what? Maybe it is okay, and it's like, look, it is okay. But it's still screwed, and we're still... I was thinking about, you remember the Colombian tribe, and they have the particular people in the tribe, they're keeping the caves up until they're 18 years old or something that. They came for, there was an event in the Cavenbah Centre a few years ago, Bruce Lipton, that kind of that whole crew, UPLIFT. And they had a documentary that they were just basically like we've got the word and now kind of sense it from spirit. We've got to go out there and just educate them about what's going on to patch them on it right now.

 

Mason: (23:59)

So one of the stories they're showing, they've got a local ecologist but a hired ecologist, an environmental science degree ecologist who's just there to be in the pocket for the organisation to justify what they're doing to the land kind of type. And they're at the top of the river, and this Colombian is literally explaining the fact that if you pollute here to an ecologist, that that's going to end up going through the cycle down the river and then up and back up and it's eventually going to pollute upstream, and therefore it's going to ultimately bite you on the ass and you're going to pollute yourself and this guy couldn't get it and I thought, I was watching this thing going I don't know if they should have put this cut in. This guy's so obviously stupid that he can't get this concept, and now I'm thinking about the fact that we are producing, that's us. That is literally us.

 

Kate Nelson: (24:51)

It is.

 

Mason: (24:51)

It's not stupid, and I don't think I can quite. I'm not as sensitive to it obviously, not obviously, I'm not as sensitive to it as you are clearly, and you're clearly feeling it, clearly seeing it. I'm beginning to get there and be able to empathise with the nature of this and the reality that then allows you to take action on the fact that all right, it's Coca Cola, Nestle. These kinds of companies that are doing it holt we need to kind of be working our ass off to help these guys who's been running the show and just being so unbridled in their enthusiastic spreading and spraying of plastic all over the world. Can you explain that process of you becoming aware of that? Because I don't suspect, I've gone through my sensitive time with other things that really impact me but I know a lot of people, a lot of women especially because I mean, greater empathy naturally, where it becomes a bit overwhelming.

 

Mason: (25:48)

When we were in that workshop in LA, there are a few women who were going adamant, I've been doing it for six months. It's really hard. How do you upkeep it? They're looking to you for a bit of strength and that's what your retreats about as well, I imagine really making a sustainable journey to be an activist and not be overcome with the intensity of what's going on to the earth. Can you just talk to us about navigating that stage from when you enter in, become truly aware and then make it a sustainable journey for yourself?

 

Kate Nelson: (26:17)

Yeah. Great question. Thanks for asking that. It's so important. I think people have been really feeling that. Especially last year when we kind of had the climate awakening, globally. As we feel and like you said, we're so much more drawn to the feel good stories. So when we see all of these negative things happening around the world, it really weighs on us and creates stress and anxiety which leads to reduced immunity which makes us need mushrooms.

 

Mason: (26:47)

I know. It's a vicious cycle.

 

Kate Nelson: (26:52)

No, I will pour myself water because it's all about self care. I really credit yoga to helping me become a resilient activist. I learned about plastics, yeah, about 11 years ago. I was volunteering for an ocean conservation nonprofit and the scientist was like, she was studying microorganisms ingesting microplastics, and I was like, ooh, come again? Had no context for what she was working on. And yeah, she was just like plastic doesn't biodegrade, it doesn't break down a banana peel, it breaks up into millions of tiny little microscopic bits that we can't retrieve. So all these ocean plastic companies recycling ocean plastics, there's all these microplastics out in the ocean that we can never get back.

 

Kate Nelson: (27:40)

They're tiny and the fish are ingesting it and it's working its way up the food chain and then we're eating the fish and just all the endocrine disruption and reproductive toxicity that comes with plastic. I mean, it's nasty. So yeah, that was it. I've had a few plastics awakening, that first one that plastic doesn't biodegrade and I was fresh out of college where I was drinking beer from these plastic red solo cups and Kopiko.

 

Mason: (28:02)

You Yanks love them.

 

Kate Nelson: (28:04)

Love the plastic.

 

Mason: (28:06)

They became sort of a novelty here in Australia that they just didn't catch.

 

Kate Nelson: (28:10)

No, not like we loved them.

 

Mason: (28:11)

You love them so much.

 

Kate Nelson: (28:13)

Yeah.

 

Mason: (28:13)

Right.

 

Kate Nelson: (28:14)

But went through so much plastic in college. Yeah, I just was like, and I'm a mermaid, right? So I free-dive, and surf and sail and I was like just man, I am polluting. I'm desecrating my temple, my playground, this amazing ocean that I'm so fascinated with. So yeah, so that was my first awakening and it really as a young person, you get so passionate and have so much energy for these things. So I was just like, oh yeah, I just won't use it. I just will stop using it.

 

Kate Nelson: (28:42)

So it's a bit easier to just make that kind of extreme lifestyle choice and just hold this strict boundary for myself. It was fun. It was hilarious. Having to kind of learn what single use plastics, this definition I had set for myself and what that really included it just kept expanding outward. I was like, oh no, these groceries that I was going to buy that's packaged in plastic. It's not like I'm going to reuse that. That also is single use plastic. Oh, the shampoo bottle. Also a single use plastic. I'm not reusing that bottle, you throw it away. Again, away.

 

Kate Nelson: (29:15)

So I just kept learning about all these things, and at that time, I had so much, it was an experiment. It was fun. It was so new and different that it actually was really entertaining for me, and that's when I started sharing things online and being like, oh look, shampoo, I guess I'll have to figure this out. And then experimenting with soap and then kind of like you my microbiome just naturally evolves, so I don't really need to wash my hair as much anymore, which is great.

 

Mason: (29:40)

It's sp good ay.

 

Kate Nelson: (29:42)

Yeah, I loved your post today. I was like, same. Mermaid hair. Don't wash it. Yeah, so it's that. I'm lucky that I kind of had the novelty of forging this weird mermaid path and that kind of supported me. But yeah, I mean, you definitely when I first learned about it I was the whales are ingesting all these plastics, the manta rays, all these beautiful sea creatures who I love to swim with and it breaks your heart and I credit yoga. I was practising every day and so my body was clean and I had the energy to work towards solutions and I had clarity of mind so I wouldn't get bogged down in these depressing thoughts instead, I could drink so much water, I eat healthy food, I eat fresh vegetables and fruits and I move my body, and I know enough I've studied Ayurveda.

 

Kate Nelson: (30:36)

So I know how to prepare foods and how to use spices and how to feel into my body and tune into my body and know what I need and follow that instead of just perpetuating unhealthy habits. So I have body awareness, I have a relationship with my intuition, so I know if I need to rest or sleep or go play and move my body, if I'm feeling stuck energy, if I'm feeling depressed or sad, go take deep breaths or go out in the nature, go for a surf or move your body, do yoga. So I have these practises, I call it kind of your recipe to True North. So how do you get yourself back? You have a whole number of things that are going to help you. So finding at least if you don't have energy to do yoga, or go for a run or swim, at least just drink heaps the water that day, or just eat only fresh fruits and fresh vegetables that day.

 

Kate Nelson: (31:26)

Just know the things that you need, and then pepper them in everyday until you're back, until you feel better again, and surround yourself with good people., have meaningful conversations. Don't just be depressed and talk about the same horrible things or be talking to people that have given up already and don't care. Find people that are inspiring, that are listening to good podcasts and are eating healthy foods too, that can influence your life or you influence them in positive ways and they influence you.

 

Kate Nelson: (31:55)

So I think having this recipe of goodness, knowing the things that make me happy and healthy and vibrant and able to continue on, just knowing that recipe and putting those ingredients back in as often as possible.

 

Mason: (32:09)

You said then how you were in your, I imagine early 20s when you got out of college and you did this and you were saying you were young and had lots of energy, so you were able to make the decision and go, bang and change. I got to talk about how you've only got one or two of those really in life, at least in that first half of our lives or in the first century because I'm the same. I kind of talked about the fact that I was 23 and I was like, I'm going to completely transform my approach to life and I went and just dove into the deep end or people watch a documentary and will completely alter their diet overnight. That's been heavily the vegan narrative or that's been now that's more in the other extreme balancing that out is carnivores is now just watching one thing.

 

Kate Nelson: (32:56)

Paleo, or whatever it is.

 

Mason: (32:57)

Whatever, it's all of them.

 

Kate Nelson: (32:57)

Keto, yeah.

 

Mason: (32:59)

Yeah, keto's a massive one. The church of keto's is huge now. There's lots of missionaries with, going out with their own propaganda now. From the keto and the carnivore. But you only have a few big swings of a documentary. So someone might be at that point, what was the documentary you were talking about?

 

Kate Nelson: (33:19)

Story of Plastic.

 

Mason: (33:20)

So the Story of Plastic, I think a few other women who were at that workshop in LA, where were we at the sauna place? Whatever it was.

 

Kate Nelson: (33:25)

Yeah, Float.

 

Mason: (33:27)

Float. Shout out to Float.

 

Kate Nelson: (33:27)

Check them out.

 

Mason: (33:27)

Yeah, yeah. That's the influence I have, you're welcome Float. You might be at a stage of life, especially if you're a bit younger, or especially if you're kind of undergoing and already a bit of a transformation for yourself, there might be a dramatic transformation in the way that you approach life and you can sustain that and then as you only have a couple of those, so most likely not. The other thing is you might be someone that's consistently looking for that next thing and so you might be, sorry to say it, but you might be so floppy that every time you watch a new documentary or a new thing every couple of months, it's enough to be like, that it. I'm going to change everything and you pile on this pressure of yourself and then it's this huge up and down cycle.

 

Mason: (34:18)

Either you stay that way or the other kind of side of it is, which I feel like where I've got up until a few years ago, is I got a little bit sick on that up down energy and the expectation I thought the world had on me but it was the expectation I had about myself. So I became a little bit resentful towards this perceived pressure that I had to be Mr. Perfection, and so I started becoming a little bit counterculture towards that which I thought was the counterculture that was going to save the world until such time that, now as you're watching a documentary going in, not with suspicion or necessarily scrutiny, but just watching with my open mind and my feet planted on the ground and watching where it is actually impacting me and thinking about my life and what's going to be a sustainable life and what my values are, then just letting that what's realistically I'm going to be able to change and what I realistically feel is going to fortify my emotional self going. I'm really stoked about myself making these alterations.

 

Mason: (35:19)

I think when you just brought up that you've been in your early 20s, it just opened up that little perception of that, how should people take reading your book? Following you?

 

Kate Nelson: (35:32)

I love this, and I totally agree. I think, I used to be an extreme activist. I was playful with it, but I'd be like, ooh, cool. Plastic Cup. Don't you realise that you're killing the ocean, and put pressure on people but do it in a playful way. So that it wasn't super aggressive. People couldn't reject it as easily. They were like, oh, I'm being teased, but she's serious.

 

Mason: (35:57)

Just passive aggressive.

 

Kate Nelson: (35:59)

Exactly, yeah, or I'm a mermaid so I can't have any plastic and then I'm talking with the city council member or something and they're like, you're not a mermaid, and I'm excellent. I'm debating whether or not I'm a mythical being with this executive. So yeah, it was really fun. Still have fun with it. But I think now, I feel I've learned a lot about different approaches to activism. And now that I'm a bit older as well, I'm so much more compassionate and soft and relaxed. I feel like as I share this invitation to kind of just a moral existence, instead of it being quit plastics, just never use them again. It's more of just like, it's just an invitation to increased awareness or consciousness. It's just thinking about the recycling guy who has to sort through our trash. Okay, I'm gonna wash my containers.

 

Kate Nelson: (36:53)

Just that step alone is going to make a huge difference, or thinking about a way and the beautiful villages, the people who are having to live with our trash and, excuse me, the trash that they're sorting through each day has like, it's from Australia, it's from the US, it's from Europe, and they're probably never going to leave that island. So it's thinking about all these other people that are engaging with the materials that we're using. It's not necessarily about stopping using plastic, it's just becoming more aware of what we're using, what we're spending our money on, what we're touching. And I've been kind of this observer of the vegan movement, because I find the approach so aggressive, and I think there's a place for that. I definitely think there's a place for aggressive activism and the fear, and showing people about the horrendous conditions that a lot of the animals are being subjected to.

 

Mason: (37:46)

I completely agree.

 

Kate Nelson: (37:47)

Yeah, and I also think that we need a welcoming community that allows for people to transition, and that's what I try to do with my activism as well is just say, hey look, we're never, like you said, there's a long road to being perfect, and how are we ever going to be there? Last year I got so frustrated because I was like, oh my gosh, I've been an environmental activist my whole life and yet my carbon footprint is fucked. I'm hosting mermaid retreats all over the world and I'm teaching people environmental activism, but we're flying there. And you try to mentally calculate your offset of if you're inspiring these 10 people to completely change their life. Is the flying they're worth it?

 

Kate Nelson: (38:34)

But ultimately, I feel after I had this extreme awakening when I was young, and I was able to just live this extreme lifestyle and now that I'm older, and I've sustained it for this long, I'm like, okay, now it's easy for me. I'm trying to teach about that. I'm trying to inspire and welcome people that you don't have to be this extreme 22 year old, never again will I touch the plastic. I did the hard work, so now you guys can learn from that and just do it, here are the steps. That's what the book is. It's you just don't worry about it, just do a few little changes and the baby steps, it'll happen slowly, surely and then you'll get there and watch all the documentaries and listen to the vegan and the keto prophecies, whatever, and make your own decision.

 

Kate Nelson: (39:26)

When we're so easily influenced by every new dogma or every new blog or every new thing that we read, you're right, we're not grounded, we don't have our feet planted on the ground, we're flowing with the wind and that can be a fun thing too. It can be exciting for all that change. But I think to have a deep relationship with our own value system and really cultivate our own set of ethics is a really beautiful thing, and to constantly, not constantly but regularly reflect on those and what we really truly care about and I think that's what this reset is really allowing a lot of people to do is to think about, oh, what do I care about? Who do I care about? What relationships do I actually want to put energy into? How do I take care of my body?

 

Kate Nelson: (40:11)

Okay, maybe I ate bad food at the beginning of this COVID thing, but now I'm like, oh, I'm still here, and I need to eat better. I'm going to do some exercise or we're having to look at how we live our life and also how we want to live our life when this is over, which is beautiful. Then we should think about that.

 

Mason: (40:32)

A bit of coaster action. I can understand you're going there with reviewing the ethics and reviewing your process you've said constantly instead, or maybe not constantly, but now we get to chat every couple of months, and you pop up here and there in the Insta just even from that, I can tell over the last year there was a big process going on.

 

Mason: (40:54)

So I can imagine you probably coming out the other side of a constant analysing. I saw you using the example of finding those practises and those things that ground you, the yoga, the Ayurveda and what I can tell through watching your process going into say to, what's the name of the guys you going out in Myocum, the farm there?

 

Kate Nelson: (41:22)

Conscious Ground, yeah.

 

Mason: (41:23)

Conscious Ground. Dani and the crew there. Just going there and you having that question and questioning your own potential rigid belief system around veganism, because people think I rag on veganism and I don't. That's why bring up the carnivore and keto and anything or someone who has an identity based on being a sceptic or whatever it is, it's just the rigidity that isn't questioned and tested within yourself that allows you to find freedom in it and then freedom in your expression.

 

Mason: (41:51)

So watching you go through that process, coming out the other side and going, actually not much is going to change in the way that I'm eating or living but you've had to go through a process in yourself in order to be more grounded and that questioning and analysing, I really appreciate and I think what's come out of it, if I may say so, in your message, there seems like an even more of a genuine invitation for people, and I think I can relate, where I was being genuine about my invitation to get healthier, but there was probably a subconscious knowing for me, an egoic subconscious knowing that really, this is where you have to be and this is the better place for you to be over here, rather than actually working on myself enough to where I don't have an agenda and I can actually create an offering and lay that out there.

 

Mason: (42:43)

I've noticed that shift within yourself and with your message. I don't know if that's something, I'm just seeing that now. That's kind of crystallising now. That's something I can appreciate. When I see it, I can appreciate how much hard work and conscientiousness needs to go into it as well, and juggling having a brand at the same time and not becoming enmeshed in your brand. You seem to constantly kind of balance that out.

 

Mason: (43:14)

I think you're a good example of that it's not boring. It's not black and white, which I really like. I don't know if that lands or not. But that's been my observation.

 

Kate Nelson: (43:23)

Yeah, thank you. What a beautiful compliment. I really appreciate that.

 

Mason: (43:28)

Book. Is it we're revolving? You've got your number one, chapter one, is the path.

 

Kate Nelson: (43:35)

The path.

 

Mason: (43:36)

Yeah, and so I mean, it is a path and it is a journey. So is that mostly you describing your journey and where you've arrived?

 

Kate Nelson: (43:47)

Yeah, a little bit. I mean, we've talked it about today, it was an adventure and so I share a bit of that adventure, but I also talk about, yeah, the ethics and how this can be a path for anyone and how they might venture in.

 

Mason: (44:07)

Pros and cons. Nice.

 

Kate Nelson: (44:08)

Yeah, so that little section is just a few examples of what you're interested in, like basil to cook with and then what you can do if you're going to get up at the supermarket, if it was packaged in plastic or just growing it yourself. So just different ways to, yeah.

 

Mason: (44:26)

So good.

 

Kate Nelson: (44:28)

So there's, yeah, how you...

 

Mason: (44:30)

Well, let's talk about ethics because that's something that is, I think, ignorance isn't an excuse or not an excuse, necessarily. I think, to an extent ignorance is ignorance and you can get it in your face, and that's really a warrior path if you can look at your ignorance in the face and start to be like, all right, buddy, I'm going to like. Where especially in the dark here in the West, we've been so domesticated and cuddled.

 

Mason: (45:02)

I don't see much ethics in the political system. I don't see in the way that people are voting and that can be overwhelming. So what do ethics and the development and the malleability of your ethics, what does that look like even? Or is it pretty simple?

 

Kate Nelson: (45:23)

This is the question. This is something I love thinking about. I'm a philosophy major, that's what I studied in college.

 

Mason: (45:29)

Oh, really?

 

Kate Nelson: (45:29)

Yeah.

 

Mason: (45:30)

Oh, cool.

 

Kate Nelson: (45:30)

And I think I had a lot of questions, and I left college with even more questions. Philosophy is not where you're getting answers. But when I was thinking about what I wanted to do with my life, it felt really important to me to live for something greater than my own self service, and I don't think we have great role models in the West. I think we have political leaders that got to where they are through greed and corruption and sexual assault. I'm surprised that more of our youth aren't leaning towards corruption.

 

Kate Nelson: (46:10)

I mean, I think we need so much. So much of what I've been learning on my journey and I really love that you brought up Conscious Ground because all of these different inputs on my particular path around learning regenerative farming or learning and the importance of having relationships with elders and with youth and reaching out and studying basket weaving and slowing down and all these different things that build this really beautiful way of life that quitting plastics is just one part of and perhaps more of a gateway too because it's accessible, right? It's conceptually, we can say, oh, zero waste. I'm not going to touch plastic or buy plastic anymore. But really, it's this movement towards a more fulfilling, enriched, regenerative lifestyle.

 

Kate Nelson: (46:55)

So, yeah, I think ethics is valuing not just our own self, our own survival of what's good for me, but thinking, its nature, it's what's good for the ecosystem, it's knowing that it's not just, if I'm thriving, that doesn't serve the ecosystem that I'm a part of, unless I'm giving back to the ecosystem. It's realising that we're a part of, if we're growing our food in our garden, and we're eating it, we have to take care of that garden for it to be able to produce and feed us, it's seeing that connection. So it's seeing the connection, it's knowing that we have impact both good and bad, and figuring out if we want to have a good impact, we have to look at the bad, we have to look at our ignorance, we have to face our ego and soften those things and work on it.

 

Kate Nelson: (47:46)

So I think ethics is a lot of reflection. It's a lot of taking time to examine our life and thinking about how we're living and what we care about. Do we care about the people who are with? Do we care about the animals? Do we care about a beautiful world? Do we love surfing? Just figuring out what we value and then thinking about how we can actually live a life that supports those values.

 

Mason: (48:14)

So good, and as you say in here, it's just do your best, mate.

 

Kate Nelson: (48:17)

Right?

 

Mason: (48:17)

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Kate Nelson: (48:17)

It's simple. It's not rocket science. We don't have to know what the government's up to, we don't have to save the world, we just have to do our individual best.

 

Mason: (48:27)

I realise you can't underestimate it. You never could, and I mean, there's no point in underestimating anything. You do it and it works for you, and it makes life sweeter for you and for your family.

 

Kate Nelson: (48:38)

Yeah, I have this conversation a lot because I have a lot of really extreme activist friends and I and they're like systems change, not individual change, systems change. We have to go take the corporates out, it doesn't matter. Consumer demand is not going to affect the corporate hold and grip that these big conglomerates have and I'm like, yeah, but it's so disempowering to even say that. We need both.

 

Kate Nelson: (49:06)

I wrote a thing the other day on my blog about, yes, systems change, and yes, individual change, both at the same time or one before the other, both. If the systems are eventually going to change and require individuals to change, if eventually we want to have no plastic, and so everyone's going to be using reusable water bottles, if that's the system change we're going for, and the individuals are going to have to change eventually, individuals should change now.

 

Kate Nelson: (49:34)

The more individuals that change now at least, that will slowly begin to influence some of the systems change that we're aiming for. But if we don't change as individuals, and we just wait for systems change, good luck.

 

Mason: (49:46)

I see it as a, I relate to it To that kind of the extremists going, you know what? What's the point of doing this unless we do this? And from my personal experience internally, I'd say it's apathy that drives that more than anything, or just a desire to be in opposition of something.

 

Kate Nelson: (50:07)

Yeah, totally.

 

Mason: (50:08)

Because then you get a nice little identity about you, don't you?

 

Kate Nelson: (50:10)

Yeah, people love to argue, yeah.

 

Mason: (50:12)

I love being against that.

 

Kate Nelson: (50:13)

I'm actually right.

 

Mason: (50:14)

Yeah, and therefore I'm something because I can feel something through pushing back against rather than actually generating something internally. So yeah, I find it cool to an extent. As you said, I that kind of extremism. But it's got a time and a place. I find it ultimately boring, and I kind of have been saying this a lot lately. But I found that part of myself very boring, and I find it boring in other people.

 

Kate Nelson: (50:41)

I love that because that would just drive them mental. Because I feel like so many people are that extreme to not be boring.

 

Mason: (50:46)

Because they're attention seeking.

 

Kate Nelson: (50:47)

Yeah, exactly.

 

Mason: (50:47)

They're absolutely seeking.

 

Kate Nelson: (50:47)

I get it. I've been there, I've worked on those campaigns.

 

Mason: (50:55)

Oh, yeah. Likewise.

 

Kate Nelson: (50:55)

And that's the whole reason I'm getting quieted on Instagram is because I'm calling. That's the system's change that I'm advocating for. People don't even like when I post on it. Who knows if it's the algorithm or if people are just sick of that. So it's ironic to me because I'm like, cool. Yeah, we're working on it. I get it. I'm a part of it. That's why I'm involved with Break Free From Plastic, and that's why I advocate for the [inaudible 00:51:18], and that's why I'm a part of The Story Of Plastic documentary, and I'm like, go watch it. That's systems change.

 

Kate Nelson: (51:23)

Those people are targeting the corporation. Those people are working with the governments. It's like, that's all happening, awesome. Go support that. Join that. They need you for sure. Also, individual change, I think it's frustrating. I mean, I enjoy having these conversations and these discussions. But I kind of agree with you where I'm just come on, because some people are facing the apathy of, yeah, only systems change. And so then they don't change and then they're perpetuating the systems that aren't working.

 

Mason: (51:50)

Exactly. And then on Centrelink and [crosstalk 00:51:53] which is like no judgement at the moment, especially when there's no need for it, so on and so forth. They're those things that apathy. I think it's an excessive analysis.

 

Kate Nelson: (52:05)

There's a chapter on apathy in here, actually.

 

Mason: (52:07)

Is there really?

 

Kate Nelson: (52:08)

How to deal with apathy, yeah.

 

Mason: (52:09)

Oh, my God. It's so good.

 

Kate Nelson: (52:10)

Oh, yeah. I don't know where it is.

 

Mason: (52:11)

But I'm with you, I ultimately think the difference there is, you're on the field going, stop thinking about it. Just like when you stop analysing, of course, you're going to make individual change, and you're going to see that there's mini systems, there's micro systems that we're going to be working on. And then of course, you're going to be impacting the bigger systems.

 

Kate Nelson: (52:30)

Well, and I just want to say is that I think, these are activists themselves, and they're just resisting having to make these small changes in their own lives, because they're probably fucking tired. They're not giving themselves time to regenerate, and they're just always fighting. I realised this about myself. I was like, whoa, I put on armour every day. I've been an activist for over a decade.

 

Mason: (52:52)

Oh, the martyr.

 

Kate Nelson: (52:53)

I've been fighting this stuff, and then I was like, whooo, COVID-19. Took a break for the first time in so long. I just did nothing for two weeks. It was great. I free-dived every day. I went surfing.

 

Mason: (53:07)

Sick.

 

Kate Nelson: (53:07)

I was like, man, I needed a break. And I think a lot of people that when they get this angry and vocal about it, it's because they're resisting something like you said, in yourself. We're tired. We've already taken on veganism and plastic free and climate, it's like, there's a lot of things that we have to change personally for us to fit this ideal environmental mould and we don't. The problem is, is that most of us don't have the resources to make all these changes.

 

Kate Nelson: (53:36)

I Quit Plastics, I was 22 I could go without. I wasn't going to die. I could travel and sleep in hammocks. My levels of comfort were low. I didn't need it. But these days, if you're a parent, single parents, with multiple kids, don't worry about plastics, likefFocus on keeping your family healthy and buy local or do things in other ways, this is one route. Quitting plastics, it's one way. If that appeals, if you've got that, go for it but I think when we try to take on everything is really when we burn out.

 

Mason: (54:12)

Sing it. Yeah, just sing it because that's the sustainability model is what you were saying around COVID hitting which been talking about so much here is there's a world of Yin and especially in conjunction with us heading into winter, we're in a descending Yin stage, and it's been so long, since we've actually had somewhat, even enough space to even consider descending into a place where there's less agenda and the need to achieve and more of an accumulation and a resting in the non-doing, and that's what's occurring. And then if we can get that, we realise the sustainability model is falling into sync with the elements around us and then that makes us healthy, what makes us robust, and it can make us a jovial old codger or a ducky that just have that skipping their step and they're sassy. And then they're 80 or 90, and they've got wit. They've got a wit about them, and they can share all their wisdom and think of all the years of activism and all the years of sharing that message, it's full on.

 

Mason: (55:22)

And there's a thing that's there, it's a sustainability, there's an in syncness with the seasons that exactly I'm feeling the same thing. How about we just stop for a little bit, readjust our lives. And that's the same, it funny you bring up the mum of four. I always think about the mom of four, I say mom of four, and that grounds me into what's realistic. I used to just give advice at the markets and I was like, yeah, you can just do this and this and the mums of four would be like "Phfffft Mason shut the F up. Oh, my God", and that was just trying tell people not to buy my herbs and go and pick herbs themselves. And they'd be like, "Give me the mushroom extracts, mate."

 

Kate Nelson: (56:06)

Hilarious.

 

Mason: (56:11)

Yeah, I mean, making those slight alterations, that towards something, towards it in a sustainable manner, and it doesn't matter if you backtrack, I feel you on that and you will find those areas, right? Where there's so many ideas in your book in ways to alter your life and become sustainable that if you start making your own toothpaste, and none of the kids will use the toothpaste then all right, just back off a little bit.

 

Kate Nelson: (56:37)

Fine.

 

Mason: (56:37)

I mean, there's other areas that you can focus, so.

 

Kate Nelson: (56:40)

It's like nature. I've learned so much living in this area, right?

 

Mason: (56:45)

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Kate Nelson: (56:46)

Where we get to walk barefoot and play with dirt and not wash our hair. It's so great that we can re-wild here. It's socially acceptable and I just have learned so much, especially with studying a lot of Joanna Macy's work. Do you know Joanna? Oh, Mason. You will love her. It so beautiful. She talks about, she has a book called Act of Hope, and it's like when people get into depression and despair how to transform that into action.

 

Mason: (57:16)

Oh, sweet.

 

Kate Nelson: (57:17)

Yeah, she's really beautiful. She's this legend. She's like 80 but she's a Buddhist poet.

 

Mason: (57:21)

Oh, there's an example.

 

Kate Nelson: (57:24)

Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah, yeah.

 

Mason: (57:25)

There's an exact example. An actual elder.

 

Kate Nelson: (57:26)

Yeah, and we've got so many here too, that are so radical.

 

Mason: (57:29)

We do.

 

Kate Nelson: (57:31)

And it's like, they're just pausing because 20 years I was like, quitting plastic things. Saving the world. Save the whales. And it was just like [inaudible 00:57:39].

 

Mason: (57:39)

Hey, I've been doing this for a year. Why isn't the world saved yet?

 

Kate Nelson: (57:42)

Yeah, exactly.

 

Mason: (57:42)

Be saved dammit.

 

Kate Nelson: (57:47)

It's just such a whirlwind. And now that I'm like, I'm in a different season of my life as well, and just learning how we are nature and remembering that we don't need to save nature, we are nature and just learn it. Whenever I'm confused about anything or something's not working instead of trying to force it I used to when I was young and just push it, I'm just like, okay, take a step back and what's flowing organically and what's fluid and just observing and yeah, the seasons. Okay, summer action energy and then ah, coming into winter reflect and if I'm tired it's, have I allowed myself to rest? And just really tuning into the different seasons of our lives and how we interact with nature and what's flowering and what's growing and turning the compass, what do we need to let go of? It's just really beautiful to have a relationship with nature and understand it or at least witness it and learn from it.

 

Mason: (58:39)

Mm-hmm (affirmative). I'll let you go soon. But you just brought up the earth. I feel like it's a debate I've had a lot, does the earth need saving? Does it not need saving? I find that again, such a brain fart of the conversation-

 

Kate Nelson: (58:54)

Totally.

 

Mason: (58:54)

... Which is an excuse not to do anything or do something, and I've just realising that now. I'm getting a lot here. This context from my own lifestyle, which is #sustainable or more so on, does it need saving, is it not saving. It seems a redundant conversation that we can just leave at the, and just be like, whatever. You guys, you have that, and then let's just go and look at what's going on in our own lives and what our values are and yeah, make some changes if along the way.

 

Kate Nelson: (59:26)

I mean, does your life need saving? Or does your life not need saving? I mean, who can define that? Does it? Do you need saving? If I'd looked at myself 10 years ago before I quit plastics, yeah. My life is way better because I quit plastics. Was I saved by plastics? Was I saved by yoga? Probably was I saved by Ayurveda? Again, yeah. All these things, it's like the better we live in line with nature, the better the world is going to thrive and look beautiful and have magical waterfalls and flowers and passion fruits. What's your definition of a saved world?

 

Kate Nelson: (01:00:09)

This is where it's so fun to explore all these philosophical thought experiments because my saved world is a different version to your saved world. Half the people out there would think that plastics are fine and saving the world is more about solving hunger, or eliminating disease or all these social justice issues. So it's our worldviews are different. I read, do you know Charles Eisenstein?

 

Mason: (01:00:33)

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Kate Nelson: (01:00:33)

He wrote this thing coronation, this recent essay, and he's like, you guys we're never going to know what it is up with this virus. We're never going to know if it was created in the lab or a conspiracy or whatever. It doesn't really matter. What matters is what we do with our life. It's how we live each day. We don't need to save the world. We just need to save our own life. We just need to work on how we live and have a beautiful experience with the world.

 

Mason: (01:01:02)

That was such a good article.

 

Kate Nelson: (01:01:04)

I loved it, yeah.

 

Mason: (01:01:05)

And you're bang on the desire to be right, and when you realise you trying to make a completely subjective matter and turn it into the black and white of morality. Black and white, right and wrong. I think everyone should go and grab your book because we haven't even really touched on many of the super practicalities that you can just start getting a little bit of inspo for body care. The cleanings always one that's surprisingly easy to change over to the cleaning materials.

 

Kate Nelson: (01:01:39)

It's so easy. Yeah, I mean, I can teach you how to make every cleaning product you ever need with stuff you've already owned, stuff you already have in your pantry, easy. Vinegar, bicarb, sodium bicarbonate, lemon, that's it.

 

Mason: (01:01:52)

Boom.

 

Kate Nelson: (01:01:52)

Washing your clothes, cleaning your toilet, whatever.

 

Mason: (01:01:55)

It's so good.

 

Kate Nelson: (01:01:56)

So easy and non-toxic. All these sprays that we're using are full of all these other really harsh chemicals.

 

Mason: (01:02:01)

A lot of greenwashing in that sector as well.

 

Kate Nelson: (01:02:03)

Woof, yeah. I mean, I feel like I'm warrior out just fighting on the greenwashing half the time. I could have a whole career where I just debunk all these myths that circulated. It's hard.

 

Mason: (01:02:16)

Yeah, I mean, having a business is it's a weird one. That's why that's one of the main reasons I don't have investors because only for a second I can empathise with that. The struggle that's there when you've been told to go in a particular direction but don't tilt too much. For a lot of the time I understand behind the scenes, it's not realistic to be completely transparent just in the mindset that you have in a business. I can really get into that headspace and then I can also see that they've got this pressure to even if they've got good investors, there's still this pressure. Like that investor has, unless they're loaded, absolutely loaded, and I've empirically told you this, I don't give a shit about dividends ever.

 

Kate Nelson: (01:03:07)

Right, do whatever, yeah.

 

Mason: (01:03:07)

I don't give a shit about dividends, then maybe there's no monkey on your back kind of pushing you in one direction, but most of the time you get skittish when a business, I don't know what it's like because I don't have an investor, you'd get skittish doing just something that, and so you'd feel that pressure to present something too early or to spin it, and you can feel perfectly ethical around doing it and it's a problem, yeah, because there's so much validation. There's a comedian who talks about, how do you tell a toddler not to lie?

 

Mason: (01:03:47)

Here's the thing that you can just lie, and all your problems go away in like a second, and there's no repercussions. It's like, did you eat the cookies? Did you eat them? No. All right then. But yeah, I think the biggest thing is, I think from what you're saying about the greenwashing, what I like about your approach is you're like, how are you sleeping at night?

 

Kate Nelson: (01:04:17)

Totally.

 

Mason: (01:04:20)

And I think that's a really effective not judgmental way. But how are you sleeping at night?

 

Kate Nelson: (01:04:23)

Yeah, life is hard enough. We can't be hard on each other for these things that we don't even know we're doing, and that's why I think sometimes the vegan movement is too aggressive because it's people are like, we saw you. There was a cheese packet in the back of one of your photos. People are really quick to be really hurtful and judgmental, and I think that we can't even point the finger at anyone else before we just focus on ourselves.

 

Kate Nelson: (01:04:50)

Really clean up how we live our life, the most we can ever and then you can point a finger but I don't know when you're ever going to get to that point. I think we can point the finger at corporations and that's where I think transparency is the sexiest thing alive. I think the more we as consumers, again, empowering the individual, we have power, look at you and me, we have influence, because we've stuck to it, and we've talked about it. And I think the more that we drive that transparency, and we keep asking questions and the who made your clothes movement, the fashion revolution movement is doing incredible things in the fashion industry. One of the dirtiest industries out there.

 

Kate Nelson: (01:05:26)

So we as individuals, it's not like that was already existing, people started that, humans, individuals. So we can influence change, we can influence systems change, and we can stop greenwashing. It's going to be slower than I personally want but other people are like, whoa, I had no idea that most of our clothes are made with synthetics now. It's like, well show the label, talk about it, read the label. We as consumers have to be more curious. We have to be more investigative. We can't just be sheep just buying everything into the trash can, the what is it? The cart?

 

Mason: (01:05:58)

Yeah, the trolley and the cart, the vegetable cart.

 

Kate Nelson: (01:05:59)

Whatever, the trolley. Yeah, so I think that that's the invitation is, yeah, if you want to be that 80-year old with Jing, with bounce in your step, wake up, be sovereign, get agency back and choose what you buy, and maybe cut off everything for a minute to reset, and we're having to cut off a lot. A lot of people haven't been able to go to the grocery store in a long time.

 

Mason: (01:06:22)

That's it.

 

Kate Nelson: (01:06:23)

It's like reset, start over. You don't have to live the life you were living before. I mean, maybe. Maybe that's real for some people. So yeah, I just think that this, what I talked about in my book and my life is just coming back into relationship with ourselves and this one experience we have on this planet, this one life and how you want to live it, what you want that experience to be and just being sovereign choosing what you touch, what you buy, what you eat, who you talk to, how you feel, choosing those things instead of just letting it happen to you.

 

Mason: (01:06:56)

Boom, guys, support Kate, buy the book. I Quit Plastics: And You Can Too. And Kate is a really good example of someone who has turned your life into your passion. That gives you meaning into a nonconventional career for lack of a better term. So your Instagram's a great insight into that journey. So guys get over Instagram and follow, plasticfreemermaid as well. But yeah, get behind her, get behind the book, and thanks heaps.

 

Kate Nelson: (01:07:31)

Yeah, thank you for having me. If you guys want the book it's, you can find it-

 

Mason: (01:07:35)

Oh, yeah.

 

Kate Nelson: (01:07:35)

... iquitplastics.com/book, is the website.

 

Mason: (01:07:35)

You got iquitplastics.com?

 

Kate Nelson: (01:07:35)

You know it.

 

Mason: (01:07:35)

Oh, yeah.

 

Kate Nelson: (01:07:35)

Years ago.

 

Mason: (01:07:35)

Before it was cool.

 

Kate Nelson: (01:07:35)

Before it was a book.

 

Mason: (01:07:36)

Yeah, you were quitting plastics. I mean, it's like the 80-year old activists who are like, all right, now it's trendy. God dammit, finally, it took a while. I mean, but still when you were 20, 22 did you say?

 

Kate Nelson: (01:08:00)

Yeah.

 

Mason: (01:08:00)

It still wasn't very trendy back then, was it?

 

Kate Nelson: (01:08:02)

It wasn't that cool.

 

Mason: (01:08:04)

Get on to it early. Really appreciate you. Thanks so much for coming.

 

Kate Nelson: (01:08:07)

Thanks so much, Mason.



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