Eco-Warrior Profile: Gittemary Johansen Awakens Our Power as Consumers
At 26, Gittemary Johansen is already a veteran of the #ZeroWaste movement. But for such an expert in reducing her carbon footprint, Gittemary surprisingly didn’t grow up in an eco-conscious family. In fact, most of her life, she wanted to pursue a career in fashion and never thought about the environmental impact of her actions.
That is until she came across an article that opened her eyes to the plastic pollution crisis. She read how every piece of plastic ever made still exists in some shape or form. This newfound knowledge planted a seed, and Gittemary began her foundation in environmentalism. The article led to a whirlwind of lifestyle changes for the Denmark-based creator who is now plant-based, fly-free, low waste, and a boycott of fast fashion. Her old dream was suddenly less appealing when she learned of the immense waste the industry produces.
Nowadays, Gittemary is a full-time eco-warrior traveling the world. She gives lectures and workshops on how she lives waste-free. One of her most memorable experiences was her very first lecture on veganism in Budapest. She was a new vegan, but the feedback from her lecture was overwhelmingly positive. That lecture fueled her commitment to a low waste lifestyle when she experienced first-hand how sustainability can create community.
Gittemary also makes a living creating content on social media that encourages others to join the Zero Waste movement. Check out her Youtube channel for videos like 50 of my Daily Zero Waste Habits or The Ultimate Low Waste Shopping Guide. She also has a blog where she shares tips on zero waste, plant-based recipes, eco-beauty tips and sustainable fashion alternatives.
When asked which aspect of climate change isn’t talked about enough, Gittemary had quite a few mentions. She started with the meat production industry’s effects on the environment. “It is absolutely crucial,” she says, “that we understand how what we put on our plates has an enormous impact.” Then moved on to the world of fast fashion, where the vast production of clothing has resulted in water pollution, also mentioning the fact that cotton production uses the most pesticides in the world. Her biggest fear when it comes to the environment is misinformation and “greenwashing.” While straws are certainly not good for the environment, she says, they actually only account for 0.025% of plastic pollution. Whereas, waste from fishing boats, on the other hand, receives no media coverage and accounts for a whopping 30%!
Gittemary has a truly unique perspective on climate change, which is likely what has made her such a successful lecturer. “We are told so often that we need to treat ourselves, to put ourselves in focus, and to buy what makes us happy. But realizing that we are more than impulse buys and must-haves has a lot of power. Realizing that we vote every time we buy something will make every purchase a chance to perform sustainability activism. And knowing that we as a consumer have a massive amount of power is what essentially will fuel a lot of sustainable initiatives. Most companies will cater to consumers by doing nothing more and nothing less than what consumers will purchase, so when we decide to buy our products based on other factors than convenience we will start to see companies changing it up, and that's what we need.”
When asked about her future, the sustainability guru told us about her new book on zero-waste living. To stay up to date on all things Gittemary, follow her on Instagram. And to meet some of The Oxygen Project’s other featured eco-warriors, click here.