We cannot live a life without impact, so I throw myself the question of HOW do we impact with the knowledge we have. Growing up in the Kaipara and Mahurangi areas I lucked into a few neat lessons. I.e. the water is low so keep showers short (I know, I know this in itself is a luxury). Progressing to the fun task of boiling bore water due to a completely empty tank. There were no last-minute trips for supplies to the supermarket, simply a set time for shopping and it had to last. This is not hard living, it’s basic survival and pretty smart if you want to avoid dollars flying out of your sustainably sourced pocket. I’ve observed that this can change as circumstances do. However, I do not want to lose this foundation with a strong inkling that it could be more important now more than ever.

Where did I take these insights from my formative years? In some areas, I feel proud. Others, I am failing greatly with much work to do. Questioning every day how we have come to consume so wildly with the greatest detachment from resource and zero concern should it run out.  

Convenience, convenience, convenience. Plastic first came onto the scene over 100 years ago, a blip in time that has produced a problem we simply cannot ignore. Being able to produce water at the spin of a tap is still a relatively new thing but look at how quickly we’ve leaped into this luxury as though it has always been there. We are having to undo and relearn a few generations of practice, paired with mankind’s unique ability to evolve in both necessity and pleasure. Convenience is lovely, but at what cost? Do we want to be deemed reckless with such reliance on easy tricks and services, or will we include a few new practices in our lives with the goal of reconnecting us with each other and our resource? These are a few of the thoughts that spin about my mind on the daily. And here are a few of the conclusions I’ve come to so far (with absolute understanding that I’ll punk myself, adjust, and continue on the learning train).

Mindless Consumerism vs Mindful Consuming

  • Take time to research and understand companies and products I use. Why not? We know if we jump into personal and professional relationships without making an attempt to discover the nasties, it never turns out well.
  • Quality over quantity. This is where WE-AR is a delight. I know the items I have, I will get a lot of wear and the impact is far less. I also enjoy having my favorite pieces. My clothing is on me every day - I don’t like not having a sense of what it's made out of and where it has come from.
  • Find joy in thrift shopping. Not everything needs to be brand spanking new. It’s one of my favorite past times and a strict rule I apply to most things.
  • ‘The travelling bag’. Stage group clothing swaps or apply the travelling bag trick. Take what you’d like out of the bag, put in what you want to remove from your wardrobe and send it off to a pal. This continuous cycle refreshes your wardrobe and sometimes a piece you put in years ago comes back around and you like it again!
  • Buy bulk or find products with responsible packaging. I made the switch to ethiquebeauty.com for my skincare and locks. 

This list is ever changing as I pick up and drop off tidbits along the way. Never clinging so hard that I am unable to let go of what I felt was the answer. It’s a funny thing, the dent in one’s pride attached to being misinformed- and this cannot be a quest of ego! The best part of it all is through consciously choosing how I dress my life, I feel connected to something. At the end of the day, we all need a little more of this in our busy and at times singular lives.

Planning an island holiday this winter to get away from the colder months? We are lathering our bodies with chemicals immediately before jumping into the oceans and our waterways. This is an environmental nightmare, so I practice these points to ensure I’m doing what I can with what I know…and I encourage you to do the same

  • Using reef friendly sun care (my tried favorite is Coolasuncare.co.nz) and synthetic free products on my skin and hair before swimming.
  • If I know I’m heading to the beach, I hold off on heavy hair and body products. So long as my skin is protected from the sun, I moisturize and treat my hair AFTER being in the water. This decreases what washes off my body and into the water.
  • Have fun with fabrics! I love my Plant Dye Poncho which is on hand always. This one-stop-shop item helps protect my skin from the sun and covers my shoulders during a cool evening and most recently while exploring the wilderness of Utah USA!

This is a new dawn of how we chose to align with brands and products, and the sheer fact we are here is by challenging and demanding changes that match the knowledge we can no longer ignore. What a cool community to be a part of.

Aroha nui,

Shannon Ryan


(pictures of WE-AR garments adventure worn in Rarotonga and Utah)