Some might think that living by Living Planet Community principles is simply too time consuming, but Sara Campbell Mates would disagree. The WWF-Canada employee is also the proud mother of young twins.
"I came of age during the green wave of 1989-1990, and I really stuck with it." While interest in environmental issues subsided for some, for Sara it became a lifelong passion. "I was really into animals as a child. I had a WWF panda sticker on my ghetto blaster at age 11."
Apart from her ghetto blaster advertising, it wasn't until 1999 that Sara joined the team at WWF-Canada. She left briefly to complete her MSc. in planning at the University of Toronto, and returned to the organization as Manager, Customer Services. She moved to Marketing in 2007.
While Sara was pregnant with her twins, she worried about the health risks associated with the chemicals in her household cleaning products. After temporarily switching to products purchased from health food stores, Sara learned that she could make her own natural cleaning products.
"I am cheap and I don't like that awful chemical smell that most products have. You get the sense that you are breathing in bad stuff when you spray them in your home. So I did some research and read about how to make my own window cleaner. All you need to do is mix one part rubbing alcohol, 1 part hot water, and a tablespoon of vinegar. Shake it up, and it works better that store-bought products. The alcohol evaporates, so there's no streaking."
She bought a recipe book for guidance on making other cleaning products, and lent the book to her daycare provider, who also started making these items at home. "Now, the only things I don't make myself are detergent, and toilet cleaner. I still purchase the eco-brands of these products from natural food stores, but learning how to make them on my own is my goal for the summer."
Sara also used cloth diapers for her twins, and buys shammies instead of napkins. "Cloth diapers are easy to clean. With twins, we were washing them every second day, and hang dried them in the sun to bleach the fabric. It's simple, healthy and cost-effective. It is the easiest switch to make."
Sara's love of nature extends into her garden. With native plants, and natural pest control, her garden is a "bumble-bee festival" in August when the wild bergamot blooms. To keep slugs and earwigs away, she uses a small cup of beer, with a conical cover with a hole at the top. By serving this brew, she keeps her garden healthy without harmful chemicals.
"We need to realize the impact human beings have on the planet. People have a responsibility to take care of the world around them."
"My brother and I were hiking in California when I was 20. We took a path up a steep mountain on the coast, up a rock face. When we reached the top I tried to take a picture of the scene, with the ocean clouds and mists, but my camera just couldn't do it justice, it wasn't something you could capture with a photo. When it comes to the wilderness, a photo won't capture it for future generations either, we need to preserve nature."