Greenish - Mari's story
Updated: Mar 31
It’s impossible to ignore the increasing coverage that the environment is getting in the media, and it’s good to see that our country is beginning to take the issue seriously by introducing new laws and measures to deal with the problem – yet there is much more to do. From reducing plastic waste to stopping airborne pollution, and from recycling to producing renewable energy, the battle has begun. It’s as if we’re waking up to the fact that we need to care for our planet. Here we speak to Mari Elin who’s behind the popular blog Greenish, which aims to promote environmental issues.
Tell us a little about yourself – have you always been interested in caring for the environment?
My name is Mari Elin, and I live with my husband Gruffydd near Aberystwyth. I work as an exhibition curator in the National Library of Wales by day, and by night I meddle in all kinds of creative things, from art to writing a book!
Honestly, it was only eighteen months ago that I started to think seriously about the environment on a personal level.
I spent a lot of my childhood on my Mam-gu and Dad-cu’s farm, where I helped Mam-gu with the garden, noticing how she always made the most of all she had. Nothing went to waste, and everything was always fixed. And of course, there’s the TV programme The Good Life, which I love, so the concept of living with less waste has always been around.
Why is looking after the planet so important to you?
Several small things led me to take more of an interest in the environment, but maybe what had the biggest impact was the David Attenborough documentary, Blue Planet II. It made me feel so many things – concern, disappointment and guilt.
But when I started to think why this had such an effect on me, I realised it was because I’m a Christian. I believe that the earth and everything in it is a totally amazing gift from God, and it’s our responsibility to care for and not to exploit it:
“The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15)
How are we doing in Wales compared to other nations?
The Welsh Government has introduced several environmental policies and the aim is that we’ll be a zero-waste country by 2050. Wales was the first country in the UK to charge for plastic bags, and we’re the second-best country in the world when it comes to recycling in the home – there’s a lot of work to do, but we’re on the right track.
Tell us a little about your blog – Greenish, and the new Welsh book?
As I started on this journey of using less plastic, I wasn’t sure where to start, and there wasn’t much information out there to help – especially in Welsh. So, I started to record my journey as a blog called Gwyrddach (Greenish in English). I’m not an expert on green living by any stretch of the imagination, but I enjoy trying different things and writing about the experience. The blog is in the process of being transferred to a book that will be full of personal experiences, simple ideas and many different recipes and tutorials – from cleaning products to wrapping gifts!
How does your faith affect you from day to day?
I tend to worry (a lot!) about things, especially in the last few years, so having a personal faith in Jesus who I know I can trust with everything is a massive help. My faith also makes me a more joyful and hopeful person and, since taking more notice of the world around me, I’m able to enjoy so much more knowing that God has created every element of it. I marvel at God’s creativity and kindness every day.
As a (fairly) young person – are you optimistic about the future?
It’s very easy to be pessimistic about the future – every day we seem to get another statistic that scares us. It is true that we’ve made a mess of this Earth, but there is hope. The younger generation are taking more of an interest in the environment, and if we could just persuade everybody to make one small change, there’s certainly hope. After saying all that, everything is in God’s hands, and I’m so glad about that!
Mari’s top five tips to live in a more sustainable way
Re-use your shopping bags
Use a reusable water bottle and refill it
Use a reusable coffee cup
Buy second-hand or vintage clothes
Don’t get too disappointed when you struggle – keep going!
First published in Ask Magazine August 2019