Meet 3 Women Who Are Redefining Sustainable Living In 2018

iko

A decade ago, the definition of "sustainable living" was simple. It meant you recycled when it was convenient, turned the light off when you left a room, and maybe kept a few reusable shopping bags in your car. A few years before that, the phrase as we know it didn't exist.

But today in 2018 we're starting to tell a different story when it comes to sustainable living. Consumers, business owners, and innovators are coming together to try to change collective behavior in order to maintain a better ecological balance for our earth and ourselves.

That's why we teamed up with The North Face and their Move Mountains campaign to bring you a profile of 3 incredible women who are making waves in the sustainability world. They've adapted in the face of a rapidly-evolving industry, broken through boundaries and obstacles, and carved out their own niches, doing good each step of the way.

Get ready to be seriously inspired.

Kathleen Elie — Founder, Conscious & Chic

Kathleen Elie's career progression was anything but predictable. After starting out in the finance industry, she pivoted to fashion design, which is where she ultimately felt the calling of sustainability. She combined her two passions and founded Conscious & Chic, a style blog turned platform for all things sustainable fashion.

As the editor-in-CHIC, Kathleen works with brands to educate her audience about why living (and dressing) sustainably and ethically is both necessary and doable.

Although she has faced plenty of obstacles over the course of her career, Kathleen never allowed herself to lose sight of her mission.

"When I first began writing and speaking about sustainability and ethical living, I was stepping into uncharted territory," she tells us. "It wasn't as widespread as it is now. That didn't deter me from continuing to raise awareness, challenge the norm and provide support to people and brands wanting to engage in these important issues."

Melissa Lee — Founder of The GREEN Program

Sustainability begins with education, and this mindset is exactly what inspired Melissa Lee to create The GREEN Program. TGP is a platform that uses experiential education abroad to nurture the next generation of leaders by helping them develop skills that relate to sustainability.

And it's not just about skills — TGP is literally giving students an opportunity to discover (and redefine) their purpose in life, all while striving to make the world a better place.

Lee's innovative approach to sustainable development landed her on the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the education category, which is an honor most people only dream of.

In her own words, this girl-boss breaks boundaries by "arming our university graduates with the proper training, experience and knowledge to be the entrepreneurs, innovators, risk-takers and creative problem-solvers that our world needs."

There's no doubt about it — Melissa Lee is at the top of her game (and her field). We can't wait to see what she does next, and we're so inspired by her mindset.

"Women have this unique sense of grit, fortitude, and perspective that has set our generation up to thrive and gain more momentum towards gender equality," she says. "Being a woman in a male-dominated field is a strength that will only continue to get stronger."

Lauren Singer — Founder, Trash Is For Tossers

Lauren Singer never pictured herself working in sustainability, and even now, she doesn't really view herself as having a "career," so much as a life of activism.

The turning point came when it dawned on her that humans have such a powerful ability to cause harm to the environment. That realization, coupled with her love of environmental-focused classes in college, inspired her to create her sustainability blog, Trash Is For Tossers. In addition to her blog, she's also founded two businesses — The Simply Co., an organic vegan laundry detergent company and Package Free, an eCommerce and brick and mortar store providing alternatives to wasteful single-use products.

When it comes to empowering people to make positive environmental impacts, Singer sees endless possibilities.

"The only boundary that I see in life is myself," she tells us. "For me, breaking boundaries would be to constantly challenge myself, change my mind, grow and never be complacent. I think I’m my biggest obstacle and so my goal is to always push myself to do more, to be more, to learn more and to question everything."

We are VERY on board with that advice.

This post is sponsored by The North Face.