Mili's Playground: Eco Activism
TAGS: SIDE-PROJECT I PLAYS AT WORK
''Start small and see how eco-lifestyle can be fun. I consider this as an interesting game in which with every newly adopted habit I gain points and advance to the next level''. I needed to meet Mili of Silly Kohlrabi, if nothing else but for the cool name, but also because she chats about important topics in a different way.
What was your fav game when you were a kid?
I always liked being out in the open. While growing up, I lived in a house with a huge
garden and I would always sit or lie on the bench and look at the clouds passing by and listen to the sounds of the urban forests - a melody made by birds, insects, wind, cars and people.
During spring, I also had this funny game of singing to flowers. I always thought that my song will help them to open faster. Needless to say, I was quite a bad singer (and I still am 😊), but these small rituals have made me feel connected to the changing patterns of nature.
Tell us about the name Shashava keleraba (Silly Kohlrabi)?
It's is a nickname I carry from my university days. One of my friends made a game to combine terms out of things that you will not usually put together. Mine was Shashava keleraba (silly kohlrabi). All the others grew out of their nicknames, but I really liked mine, so it stayed and became sort of a trademark. When I started my Instagram account and decided to focus on the environmental issues and solutions I kept it and added ‘eko-brbljivica’ which literally means eco-chatterbox 😁.
Why do you do what you do?
It is important to give people solutions, rather than overwhelm them with a lot of negative information. I found that the way in which environmental issues are currently communicated is sometimes just far too aggressive, and I have decided to change that.
I like to talk about these issues by asking people for solutions, rather than just ‘me teaching them something. I think people should be included and asked about the future and that the ecological community and organisations need to be more open to communication.
My goal with this profile is to show people that the fight for a better environment starts at your home. I understand that in the age of brutal capitalism, not everyone can be included in every cause (there is quite a large number of them) and we need to choose wisely in which one we want to participate. I mostly discuss veganism, a low/zero-waste lifestyle, overcoming the urge for needless consumerism and eco-anxiety (the feeling that the world will end, no matter how much we try to ‘save it’). Often, I also reflect on the systematic changes that need to be implemented, environmental justice, eco-feminism, political actions etc.
What do you wish you knew when you started?
That it requires a lot of work and that I can not simultaneously work on 5-6 different things. You need to be well prepared and explore the topic in-depth, but it is also OK to make a mistake.
I think my biggest fear was, and still kind of is, making a mistake. And I have made a few of them and the Internet was not so nice. But in the future, I will focus on nurturing the idea that it is ok to make mistakes and that it should even be encouraged. Now I see it as a learning point, and not as a shameful obstacle.
What helps you balance your side-gig and your ‘regular’ job?
At the moment, nothing does 😊 This is something that I love to do, while my regular job just gives me stability and the resources to sustain my current lifestyle and eat. They often overlap, so during my working hours, I also read articles, create posts and answer interview questions (:D) and constantly investigate the topics that I can cover next. The good thing is that I am obsessed with creating to-do lists so this helps.
What supports you to keep creating?
People. It means the world to me when I receive feedback and when people tell me what changes have they implemented, just because of my profile. I love to connect with people who think and feel the same. This became a lot easier because of social media and I hope that my profile and the community will continue to grow.
What is a simple eco-friendly tip we can do right now?
Start small and see how this lifestyle can be fun. I do not see it as a burden nor do I feel as if I am giving up something. I consider this as an interesting game in which with every newly adopted habit you gain points and advance to the next level. But, unlike so many games, where if you make a mistake, you might lose a level/life, in this one you are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them.
Also we can reduce the use of plastic bags. Don’t trust the word ‘biodegradable’ on plastic bags, we do not have the conditions for biodegradation of plastic bags and most of them end up on landfills, rivers, lakes, streets… The average use time of a plastic bag is 12 minutes and it takes up to 1000 years for it to degrade in the landfill. There are several small brands that are making/selling bags for fresh and dry products from the market (eko_dada, minimal_ecobags, bezo_tekstil, slatki_orascic, vrecice_srecice). Or better yet, make one yourself from the old fabric/clothes you might have lying around the house. :)
8. Leave one question at Playground for the next guest :)
If you could take away one thing that will make the world a better place, what it would be?
P.S. Since our interview took place, Mili accepted an offer for a new job which she is excited about and is in line with her values. She believes that her online presence helped her land this new job.
P.S.S. If you would like to work on something you care about, check if Playground can support you.