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Interview with Jen Gale - her eco-piphany

The Beagle Button is a sustainability tech start-up. We have designed a tool that helps you shop more sustainably online. Whether it's plastic free, recycled, vegan, ethically sourced or any other of our carefully selected metrics, we'll find you recommendations for better alternatives when you shop online. We aim to make sustainability accessible and affordable for everyday items, from furniture to shoes. It might seem difficult to switch to a more sustainable lifestyle, but that is not the case. You simply need the right tools and a little inspiration.

We have decided to share with you our sources of inspiration, in the hope that they will do the same for you. We have chased up the people and companies that inspired us to create the Beagle Button, and are revolutionising sustainability. We are very grateful that Jen Gale agreed to being interviewed.

Jen Gale

Jen Gale is just like any one of us, a mother of two who decided one day to make sure her family bought nothing new for a year, back in 2012. Read more about her year of making and mending here and the TEDx talk about her “Make Do and Mend” journey here.

Since then, she’s written a book called The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide - easy ideas and suggestions for anyone to save the planet. Her book covers topics from being sustainable in the with the food we eat and our shopping to how we travel and celebrate. With this book, Jen is sure to “change your impact without radically changing your life”.

Jen is also an avid blogger and has blog posts containing do-able changes that you can undertake to make the world a better place, from conscious consumption to posts about family and food. However, if you’re looking for something less visual-related, Jen has a plethora of podcasts that she’s been recording with different guests. Moreover, in the spirit of Christmas, Jen did a sequence of 12 podcasts with heavy relation to the first 12 chapters of her book!

In our interview we asked Jen what her eco-piphany, the moment of revelation that kick started her sustainability journey and she told us that during her year of nothing new, she began to make the link between her family's consumption and the effect it had on the planet. Like all of us, Jen was aware of the things we read about every day, such as climate change and fast fashion. Iit was only during this “buy nothing new” year that she realised no one was doing anything about it - no one was looking after workers along their supply chains, the scientific evidence behind climate change was being pushed aside. Jen assumed that as one little family in England they couldn’t possibly make a difference. Then came her eco-piphany where she realised she had to take responsibility over the things she can control.

“I realised I should take responsibility over things that I can control and if we all did that, the cumulative effects would be huge.”

We wrapped up the interview by asking Jen what her favourite sustainable swaps were and she immediately mentioned swapping your home energy to a renewable supplier. Most of us think this is a very dull and “grown up” thing to do when really it’ll take you 10 minutes - the perfect use of time during an ad break (unless a Christmas ad comes on of course). You can find energy comparison sites that compare renewable tariffs which will help cut your carbon footprint by a quarter. This is a step both Jen and the Beagle Button recommends everyone to do as it’s incredibly simple and effective.

Another brilliant sustainable swap from Jen was to move your bank accounts to a more sustainable and ethical financial provider, for example, Triodos Bank. This way, you can align your money with your values and avoid financing unethical investments in fossil fuels, arms and other unsustainable activities. This lockdown is the perfect opportunity to take the time to make these simple switches for ourselves and the planet!

“We talk a lot about the power of our choices but what we often forget is that we have power in our voices.”

We are so grateful to Jen for taking the time to speak to us here at the Beagle Button - sustainability champions like Jen are so inspirational. Dont miss her new book out March 2021 : The Sustainable(ish) Guide to Green Parenting. One final thing to remember, repurpose, recycle, reuse, repair and borrow whenever you can!

We are proud to say that we are growing everyday, and hope to pave the way for anyone trying to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. Feel free to check out our Instagram or Facebook page, and don’t forget to sign up online for the Beagle Button tool. We are currently in the beta phase of our product launch, so if you install our browser extension please let us know if you stumble upon something you think could be improved!

Our interview with Jen is the fifth in a series of interviews. In this series we plan to ask each interviewee what their eco-piphany was. How did that moment change their life? And what is their top sustainability swap. We look forward to sharing other interviews and blog posts from this series soon. The team at Beagle hopes you are staying warm and sane this lockdown.