"I took a deep breath 4 years ago and asked myself what I actually wanted to do. I decided that from then on, every decision going forward should be in service of that vision."
We’re thrilled to introduce you to instagram-powerhouse, green activist, writer and public speaker, Gittemarie Johansen.
You'll likely know her as @Gittemary.
Gittemary, you are an artist of many formats, what does your day usually look like?
I spend most of my days working on my platforms. I'm writing several ebooks as well a physical book. I write blog posts, film videos and do photoshoots. In the afternoons and evenings, I am usually giving talks. Outside of work, I go to farmers markets, practice yoga, climb and do taekwondo. I enjoy developing recipes and discovering thrift shops.
What are you passionate about?
My great passion is being able to change the world in some sort of way. That probably sounds naive, but essentially that’s my passion.
I have a desire to better myself and my impact on the world while also encouraging others to reflect on the impact and influence they have on the world. I believe that when we reflect on the way we view and practice consumerism, economics, waste, and production of goods, we can change the world.
A big question, we know, but could you tell us about what you dream of achieving in life?
Throughout my time attending university, it has been a goal of mine to be self-employed. Now, this dream is finally coming true. I hope to continually expand my online platforms so that I can continue to host talks and workshops as well as write books. This is something that I am working with every day.
I took a deep breath 4 years ago and asked myself what I actually wanted to do. I decided that from then on, every decision going forward should be in service of that vision.
What do you think our greatest challenge is right now, when it comes to consumer behaviour?
Western consumerism is an enormous challenge. In our society is a massive middle and upper class who is absolutely addicted to convenience. We are constantly looking for cheaper and faster products produced in sweatshops, we want single-use products produced from fossil fuels and we want large houses, more cars and the biggest TV on the block.
We want to travel the world and we cannot imagine a life without bacon. The foundation of our Western consumerism is built on the notion that resources, animals and people are disposable and we therefore misuse these resources, trying to achieve prestige and comfort.
I believe that by rejecting convenience and the prevalent desire for “luxury”, we can better the entire socio-economic structures that, at this moment, reinforce poverty and pollution. I haven’t bought anything new in over 4 years, with the exception of a pair of underwear from a sustainable/ethical brand. Aside from that, I buy pre-loved and second hand.
We consume an immense amount of products today, many of which are completely unnecessary for us. We often assume that consumption, or overconsumption, is a right we have earned. It is not. In today’s society, it is still seen as prestigious or luxurious to own a lot of things, and we need to change that perception.
When I see a person with 3 cars, a large mansion, tons of clothes or expensive watches I only see the C02 cost of these products. I think of the factory worker who produced them, I think of how the products will be disposed of eventually. How we choose to perceive happiness and wealth determines what kind of consumer we become.
Have you seen any climate-related impacts on nature where you live in Aalborg, Denmark?
For a while, there were no visible changes in Denmark but people are starting to notice it and it’s incredibly scary. There is plastic in our water systems, in animals and on our beaches. The temperatures during summer are becoming higher and higher.
Most consumers do not see the connection between what they buy and what is happening to our environment, but the link is inextricable. Fossil fuels, fast fashion, animal agriculture, data storage, and plane travel are all components that affect our climate and by collectively criticizing our current relationship to these things, we can hopefully realize the need for change.
On a more positive note, what would you say is society’s greatest opportunity right now, and how can strengthening our communities play a role in seizing this opportunity?
Change is on the forefront right now; with plant-based foods, with Fridays for Future and general sustainability initiatives. We need to embrace the change that is heading our way because it is a privilege and great opportunity.
The most counteractive thing we can do as a community is cling on to how we have always done things. It is time to collectively change our routines and habits.
We ask this of all our community members to get some new perspective each time; What in your mind signifies “A Good Community”?
Compassion. Treating each other kindly and respectfully is, to me, fundamental to a good community. But it’s not just about treating other people with respect. I think a huge aspect of a good community comes from compassion towards the environment because such priorities inspire a change of behaviour in every layer of human interaction. When we have learnt to love and protect our planet, we will truly fulfil the essence of a good community.
Imagery from Gittemary's inspiring instagram.