Adria Vasil knows the value of promotion.
If she wasn’t so sincere, it would be nauseating.
The author of Ecoholic, Ecoholic Home and Ecoholic Body, she’s been writing practical columns for Toronto’s NOW magazine.
She’s the real deal, a true believer in the environmental cause. And she’s combined her journalism degree with her activism.
Since her teens, she has been a vocal advocate of women’s issues, human rights and Mother Earth. She appears regularly on TV.
I had a chance to interview her by e-mail recently.
Q. Congratulations on the book. This is the first question off the top of my head and it comes from my own experience of being and living with someone who is very environmentally conscious (my wife!). Do you think there’s a fatigue for environmental issues? Some might argue that they have adopted various lifestyle changes. How much more is there really we can do?
A. The majority of Canadians have the basics covered — they’ve changed their light bulbs and use low flow showerheads, which is really great to see. But before people start thinking, ‘alright, I’ve done my part for this whole green thing,’ I’ve got to tell you that there’s a lot of pollution sneaking into our lives via the stuff we use everyday including some shampoos labelled as “natural”, popular cough syrups, even plastic flip flops are turning out to be leaching banned chemicals into kids’ feet. But don’t worry, Ecoholic Body is loaded with tons of Canada-based, wallet-friendly solutions for you!
Q. What’s the greatest obstacle to becoming an ecoholic? (I might argue that it’s the price of some of these greener products).
A. People often think that going green or becoming an ecoholic will cost them a fortune, but honestly, the greenest stuff costs us the least — second hand clothes for adults and kids, holding clothing swaps with friends, easy do-it-yourself recipes for lotion, shaving oil, hand soap, shampoo, you name it. Ecoholic Body is loaded with really affordable tips.
Q. Why do you think there’s still a disconnect between what people use on their bodies and their lack of knowledge of what’ actually in these products?
A. Most Canadians assume that all the products on shelves are safe and have been pre-screened for safety – and I don’t blame them in the slightest, that really should be the way of the world. Unfortunately Health Canada is only now sifting through the backlog of risky chemicals and while they make a big to-do about declaring an ingredient like antibacterial triclosan toxic, they’re not actually banning it from shelves even though the Canadian Medication Association has been asking for a ban since 2009 since it’s linked to super bugs. The truth is all the products we put on and in our bodies every really makes pollution personal.
Q. What are three easy changes a person could make today to be greener to their body?
A. Toss out your antibacterial soap and go back to plain soap and water, doctors will tell you it’s better and safer for washing hands. 2) Look for unscented products whenever possible — that way you avoid a whole stew of hormone disrupting chemicals, without even having to look at the ingredient lists 3) Knock one product out of your daily bodycare routine, it’ll reduce the amount of unnecessary chemicals you use everyday — and save you money and packaging to boot. Oh and print out my downloadable wallet-size Mean 15 list of ingredients to avoid from Ecoholic.ca to make it super easy to remember which ingredients are the baddies next time you’re out shopping.