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Emmanuel goes green! (Women 24)

“Respecting yourself means respecting your environment,” he says. “I have always had a great love for animals and nature. As I grew up I became increasingly aware of the issues that affect our environment.”

For Emmanuel, it’s the little things that make a big difference when it comes to being enviro-friendly. “You don’t have to go out and install a solar overnight or start growing your own vegetables,” he says. ” Shower instead of bath, read the labels on goods in the shops, walk to the shop around the corner – don’t drive, plant a tree.”

In addition to being part of the Glass Recycling Company’s campaign to promote environmental awareness, Castis uses organic and eco-friendly soaps, conserves water, and doesn’t buy fish on the endangered list. Here’s what he had to say about living a greener life…

Has it been hard creating a greener lifestyle?

Yes and no. My lifestyle is chaotic – I travel a lot, work long hours so sometimes things slip because you’re in a rush. There’s loads more I would like to do – recycling is an area for improvement and I’m really keen on starting an earthworm farm for composting.

What challenges have you faced in the process of “greening” your life?

I think awareness is the hardest step. Once you’re aware and conscious of the issues you think before you act. The other problem of course is that there is so much information out there and you don’t know what’s credible and what isn’t, so it can be a bit of a minefield.

Why do you think there’s a surge of interest in environmental awareness?

I think there’s a surge in environmental awareness because influential public figures have become more vocal – it’s on the global agenda seriously for the first time. I’m not sure that it is filtering through at a policy level adequately though. Small example – at a time when we need green areas the percentage of open (green) space in cities is decreasing annually. I also don’t think the awareness has grown sufficiently where it counts and that is at grass-roots level. Poor people who struggle to feed themselves are less worried about these issues and with good cause.

If you have a patch of land that has been damaged from excessive farming you’re not going to let it lie fallow for a season because you have no alternatives for food. In South Africa we also have so many competing needs – healthcare, education etc – that funding “green” projects simply can’t be top of the list. This means that it becomes even more important for each of us to contribute in whatever way we can. This is where celebrities can speak out and encourage people to “live green”.

What would you teach your children/family members about the living green?

Respecting yourself means respecting your environment. I also think that I would teach my kids/family that they are a part of the environment – so often we think of man as outside of the environment influencing the environment as opposed to man as part of the environment influencing it – I guess that’s the difference between preservation and conservation. You’re not looking in through a window seeing how you can keep things the same – you’re involved and part of it seeing how you can contribute to balance.

To find out more information or for a list of Glass Banks where you can recycle your glass, check out www.theglassrecyclingcompany.co.za.

Read the original interview here: http://www.women24.com/Wellness/Green/Emmanuel-Castis-goes-green-20090722.