I would like to begin by introducing myself. I believe it’s important to tell my upbringing in order to understand why this topic is so important for me. My name is Lina. I was born in Lithuania, in a small city called Taurage, lower middle class family. We lived in the house and because of the small budget we were always very considerate about how we are using our resources. In the garden we used to grow vegetables and fruits, in summer we would go picking berries from the forest, in autumn we would pick the mushrooms. Recycling was simply a necessity in our household. We would collect the organic trash which every day would be thrown away in the compost behind the house, improving the soil. The paper trash would benefit in heating the house. Glass jars were always washed and collected, as my mum would reuse them for pickled vegetables and jams that she would prepare. The only trash that would leave our house was plastic, metal or broken crockery. But as we did not have much money, we didn’t buy many things and always tried to find a second use for it. Later in school when learning about environment and global warming I realized that our way of living was not only saving us money, but also was good for the environment. Suddenly, from being shy about our frugal living I became proud of it and shared with my classmates how we manage our trash and how sustainable is my family. I must say I am still proud of what I learned from my parents. I learned such things as love and respect for the nature, and how simple and natural things are more valuable than the mass production items.
After school I moved to the capital city of Lithuania to study in University. And again my frugal skills came in handy as money was still very restricted for me. I lived in a dormitory in one room together with other three girls. I learned also about minimalistic lifestyle and how often less is actually more. I was creative with my meals, clothing and making the best out of my resources.
When I graduated I moved to Italy, because I always had this big wish to know more and felt that traveling is the best way to do that. I happened to live in the apartment with Italian girls who were passionate activists for the environment. Recycling was taken seriously in our house and we would spend a lot of time discussing existing issues of pollution, problems both in social, political environmental fields.
And one day when I was searching for a new job I happened to get the opportunity to move to Dubai. It was the job that I just couldn’t reject – my dream job as cabin crew. Finally I found a way to travel world! I jumped into this opportunity and moved to this futuristic and far away from what I known country. From the very beginning I was astonished how comfortable life become to me. My company flown me in, provided me with accommodation, transportation to work, gave me uniform, free laundry service for it I even got the starter pack with all the things I might need once I arrived, starting with toothbrush to the bed sheets. I didn’t need to think about anything, all I needed to do, was to get ready for work and enjoy exploring the world. I must admit, very fast I forgot about my life before moving to UAE. Money suddenly wasn’t the issue anymore, and I sank into this very comfortable and careless lifestyle. I still had my passion for organic products, making my skin care products from scratch and enjoyed being able to invest in better quality clothing. I would throw away the trash and it would disappear out of my sight, out of my guilt. But when traveling I would be reminded that I am living in a bubble and how actually both people and nature get affected by such consumerist approach to life. I saw the beautiful beaches covered in plastic rubbish, forests cut out to make the palm oil farms, the under-waged people who work for the companies that make most of fast fashion clothing that we use… When you see it with your own eyes it cannot leave you indifferent.
I live in Dubai for almost five years now and I see some changes happening, but I think it is not enough and we need to wake up, people need to be more aware about what they consume, what they throw away into the landfills and learn how to live more sustainably.
I have a trust in the humankind. UAE is the best example of what people can do with their own hands, It’s difficult to comprehend that not so long ago it was just desert and now it is a thriving city. That is closest to a miracle what I have seen. We need to acknowledge our mistakes and raise everyone’s awareness. I want to start making better choices and would like to invite you to join me in this journey of awareness and learn the greener ways together.