One local woman’s life story inspires us to make a difference towards waste-free living. Carmel Hatfield, from the Douglas Shire Hatfield ( ‘Hattie’ ) family speaks with DouglasNews.Network about her journey towards a sustainable life.
When did your journey towards waste-free living start for you?
❝ My turning point was one day when I was cleaning out the fridge and making salad lunch jars. As I filled lunch jars with a variety of ingredients, I realised that everything came in plastic and quite often not just in one layer, but multiple layers of plastic per item. I then moved from room to room and saw the toothpaste, the dishwashing liquid…. there was plastic everywhere. There and then, I decided to educate myself so I could start the journey to reducing my waste output.❞
In your messaging, you describe yourself as a working wife and mother of three with a passion for the environment and drive to make change.
❝ Yes, I grew up and attended primary and secondary school in Mossman. Growing up in the Douglas Shire gave me a connection to the land, and a wondrous love for nature. Some of my most resonating childhood memories involve being outdoors and connecting to the environment. There seemed to be an innocent fun that we had, and a huge amount of freedom- but it was always safe.❞
Growing up in the Douglas Shire helped Carmel form a closer bond with nature. She started to unconsciously understand how the environment is delicate and needs our respect. Even though Carmel always felt a connection to nature, and in particular to the tropics, she did not have conscious thoughts about it until she grew older. She did not really understand how her everyday actions affected nature and the world around her.
From the moment of looking deep into the fridge, Carmel decided to start educating herself . She states that getting rid of ignorance is the first step to take on any journey.
Do you have one key message that you would like to share with DouglasNews.Network readers Carmel?
❝It is not about changing what the stuff we waste is made of, it has to be about us stopping waste to start with. Refuse, reduce, re-use, re-think, re-educate and then re-cycle. Being more environmentally conscience is not all about looking for stuff made from a more ‘sustainable’ product. It is about needing less stuff. Need less, use less, live more.❞
What do you say to people who think that individuals cannot make a difference?
❝ There are a lot of individuals out there, we all add up. One person’s lifestyle change as an individual then becomes a community, becomes a city, becomes a nation and then it becomes a change.❞
Just a few years ago, Carmel made her journey public, sharing her discoveries as to what we can do. She now has a large, supportive and enthusiastic following through her Facebook page. Carmel also offers education classes to anyone interested in taking the first step through her workshops, available for festivals, schools, workplaces, community events, parties, and private bookings.
❝ I supply all the ingredients and materials. I make sure that these are ethically and sustainably sourced, recycled, are natural, and can be composted after use. I am based in Cairns, Australia but am happy to travel within Australia depending on the event.❞
- Bin Liners (Ditch plastic, and learn four different ways to make your own from recycled paper)
- Produce and Shopping Bags
- Beauty Products (make-up, skincare, haircare)
- Health and Hygiene (toothpaste, deodorant, hand sanitiser)
- Household Cleaning Supplies (dishwashing tablets, washing machine powder, disinfectant, clothing stain remover)
- Composting (DIY compost bins or worm farms)
- Sustainable Decorating (bye-bye balloons, making gorgeous decorations that don’t cost your wallet or the planet as much