Last night, I had the chance to meet Camille Allard, this young Angevine is the founder of the project: God Save the Green! She shows us an example of how to be Catholic AND Eco-friendly!
Sabine Maldague: Good evening Camille, can you tell us about your journey, your path towards integral ecology and a zero-waste lifestyle ?
Camille: Good evening Sabine! Thank you for welcoming me! To answer your question, first of all you have to know that I didn't at all grow up in a family that was touched by integral ecology, on the contrary, we were really pro-consumption, with Amazone Prime, and all those awful brands! I was touched because I have lived a lot in hospitals, it made me very sensitive to everything around me. When we are very often locked up, we aspire to what is beautiful outside, to nature!
My travels have also shaped me a little, I travelled to Australia, where I discovered what comes after over-consumption, it was really measureless. I then lived in Austria, where I became very aware of vegan and organic food. It was the first real discovery of a better diet, and then I went to India, and that's where I understood that water is a real wealth, that food is also a real wealth, as well as health. Everything is a wealth there. There I learned to live in simplicity, sobriety, and Zero-waste, in the sense that we are living in such simplicity that we are limiting ourselves in our daily lives.
When I came back from India, it took me a long time to get over it. The day I came back, I was taken to Zara's and I started crying in the middle of the store, because it was unthinkable for me to have all these clothes available when in India we only had three T-shirts and they didn't even have one. Taking a shower had also become unthinkable, it was really very complicated.
That's when I told myself, that I had to rethink my way of life, because I didn't want to deny everything we have in France, we are very lucky to have all the things we can have, but I had to be careful about my way of consuming ! In other words, don't overuse, don't always try to get more than you need. It goes through the kitchen, why do we keep buying products from the other side of the world when there are plenty of things available next door.
I became a teacher, I had this idea that I wanted to give to the little ones: Respect of trees, respect of others, respect of God, of the Earth and of oneself! With the children, I rediscovered this naivety, this sensitivity, when for example we see smalls insect, beetles, earthworms, it may sound a little gross but anyway, it made me realize that it was important to marvel like a child.
I was already in the Zero-Waste lifestyle, at my level, because as I am handicapped, there are limits, things I can't go towards! I was already doing what I could! Then I started to convert to agriculture, I spent a month in a sheepfold and two months in an organic market gardening, and that's when I told myself that it was impossible for me to continue to eat so-called "organic" products in the supermarket and I started paying attention to my diet. My family started to follow as I have been living with them since November, my parents became sensitive to the fact that I was going to the Local Farmer's Markets when I couldn't necessarily afford it.
They realized that it was another way to consume and then the confinement brought us much closer, we're in the countryside, the Local Farmer's Market is on the outskirts of town and we can go there by bike. They realized that we didn't actually need to go to the supermarkets, and that we were even invited not to go too often! Slowly the family's going into transition! That's really great!
Sabine: That's great news! Thank you for this beautiful testimony! Could you tell us a little bit about the "God Save the Green" project that you launched during Lent?
Camille: First of all, you have to know that it has always been complicated for me coming from neither a Catholic family nor from an ecological family, and when I regularly invited friends at my place, in my apartment where I didn't have things similar to a "normal" way of consuming, I was often entitled to remarks that could sometimes be hurtful from Catholic friends.
Because of it, at first I decided that if it was like that, I preferred to be assimilated as an environmentalist since they were more open-minded, rather than being assimilated to the Catholics who didn't hear what I was doing, and who told me there was no point.
A little later, during a retreat and adoration in an abbey, I realized that in fact I shouldn't try to separate these two things that were in me, I had the right to be different and I had the right to be a Catholic and an ecologist! And on the contrary, normally, every catholic should be Catholic AND ecol-friendly, because it's part of our history, of what is said in the bible !
I had a small and unpretentious mission, at my small scale, to raise awareness among people who wanted to go green! On one hand, I knew that I wouldn't change those who had decided that it was pointless and that it was rubbish, but on the other hand, there are people who only need a little push or a little help. God Save The Green started with a Lent, and then went on and the goal is to really raise awareness, to sow small seeds in people's hearts so that they in turn will go and try other hearts! Everyone does their part to understand that ecology is also at our level, we don't all need to be in extreme examples or approaches, everyone does what they can! That's what I would really like, that everyone finds ways in their daily life to bring little seeds of ecology!
Sabine: What advice could you give to someone who would like to gradually embark on a journey towards integral ecology? Where can they start?
Camille: First of all, READ Laudato Si! I think that it's really the first thing to do! Then we must return to sobriety, evaluate of our own lifestyle. Do we really need to use the car that much just to go out and buy a baguette? Do we really need to have 250 sweaters, or 250 little dresses in every color? Declutter and then readapt to daily life. And as far as consumption is concerned, please go to the local farmers market, be aware of what you eat, buy seasonal veggies and fruits and above all buy local food!