February 18 Questions with Exploring Alternatives

by Guest Writer

Photo Credit: Jacques Dubé

1. What are each of your names?

Danielle & Mat

2. What is each of your occupations?

Mat is a visual artist and I’m a writer. We also work together on a project called: Exploring Alternatives. It started off as a way to share our lifestyle experiments with long-term travelling and living with less, and grew into a platform where we now share stories about other people who are choosing to live their lives a little differently than the norm.



3. Do either of you have a “green” memory growing up?

I remember having someone come into one of my elementary school classes to teach us about recycling. They handed out different pieces of plastic and cardboard to each student and then we each had to go up to the front and put it in the right bin. They made it fun for us.

4.What are your favorite meals?

Anything with salsa and guacamole on it.

5. Who/what inspires the both of you to be more “green” in your life?

We spend a lot of time watching documentaries and learning about issues like climate change, fresh water shortages, deforestation, pesticides used in cotton production, etc. and they inspire us to be more conscious of how we live our lives – whether it’s taking shorter showers, turning down the heat at night, eating a plant-based diet, or choosing to buy organic cotton clothing.

6. Where on the “green scale” do you two fall?

That’s a tough one! We have solar panels on our van, we use cloth handkerchiefs, we eat certified organic food, and we rarely buy new “things,” but we also drive a van and travel overseas at least once a year. I’d say we’re very green, but far from perfect.

7. What are the most rewarding and the most challenging parts of your jobs?

We’ve spent a lot of time wondering what our ideal jobs would look like, and after some trial and error, we were able to create the Exploring Alternatives project which allows us to travel, create, share inspiring stories, and make our own hours. It’s perfect for us, but there are challenges too. We’re never 100% sure if we’re going to earn enough money to make ends meet each month, and there’s also a lot of self-doubt when you’re self-employed that you don’t necessarily encounter when you have a boss telling you what to do.

8.Where’s your “green spot” food, body care/beauty, oceans, home or neighborhood, explain:

Our original “green spot” would have to be Market Organics in Ottawa. It’s a health food store where I worked for close to 10 years during school and between travels and it’s also where Mat used to get his groceries each week. I used to ring him in at the cash, and bag his groceries, and that’s where we met.

9. Where do the two of you turn for your news?

We get almost all of our news online and we try to get it from as many different sources as possible.

10. What is one environmental change you both vow to make in the next year?

We vow to bring our reusable coffee mug, water bottles, and take-out containers with us everywhere we go so that we never need to buy bottled water or use single-use take-out coffee cups and containers.

11. If you could each trade places with one person from any time in history (past or present) for one day—who would it be and why?

I would trade places with Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of Little House in the Big Woods. When I was a kid, her books inspired me to dream about living a simple life, growing my own food, and spending quality time with my family.

12. You have a meeting with the leader of every country in the world. You have 30 seconds to tell them anything you want. Go!

Why are you still trying to solve problems with violence? Let’s end all wars and learn to resolve conflict using logic, peace, and compassion.

13. You have the chance to send one tweet to all the tweeps in the world. Let’s hear it in 140 characters, or less!

Don’t spent so much time on Twitter. Go spend time outside in full HD reality.

14. If there was one industry/product that either of you could make more eco-friendly, what would it be?

We’ve recently learned that “cotton is the world’s dirtiest crop due to its heavy use of pesticides” (Rodale Institute), which is not only terrible for the environment, but also for the growers, processors, manufacturers, and even for us, the consumers, who work with it and wear it. We’re making an effort to seek out organic cotton clothing as much as possible. All it takes is a quick online search to find out which clothing companies have an organic cotton line.

We wrote a blog post about How to Create an Ethical Wardrobe that has suggestions to help get people started. If we keep demanding organic cotton, the producers will have to produce more.

15. Where in the world would the two of you most like to be right now?

We can usually find something to love about every place we visit but we’re always a tiny bit happier when we’re hanging out by the ocean or on top of a mountain. Being in nature gives us perspective and makes us feel refreshed.

If we had to choose, it would be either the summit of Mount Revelstoke in British Columbia, or the beach in Montezuma, Costa Rica.

16. What is the best book each of you have read recently?

In Praise of Slow by Carl Honoré.

17. What is something that makes both of you cringe?

When we have to throw out single-use containers that aren’t recyclable or compostable (hence our vow to bring our own from now on!).

18. What do you two want your legacy to be?

We want to know that we lived our lives according to our values and that we weren’t afraid of taking risks and being a bit different.

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