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INTERVIEW: Monica Giermek

Interviewing Monica Giermek from Green Habit

Introducing the gorgeous Monica Giermek from Green Habit in Cape Town, here she is to tell us a bit more about her company that she founded, her latest passion, as well as herself.
Monica Giermek

Monica from the moment we connected on
twitter, I’ve been so interested in what you do! Please can you explain to my readers what Green Habit is all about?
When
conceptualising Green Habit, I noticed that many of my friends and colleagues
would like to be ‘greener,’ but they were too busy and lacked the tools to set
up greener habits within their home. This is how the company began sprouting!
We
are an environmental consulting and eco-education company based in Cape Town.
From personalised consulting meetings where we discuss your kitchen habits and
how to green them – to holding ‘Green Camps’ for children, we are the link between
you and the greener you!
   Being the founder of Green Habit and
being so involved in the environment, you have a really interesting story
yourself! How did your love for the outdoors and nature begin?
My
mom has had a green thumb since she was little and I believe that rubbed off on
me at a young age as well. When I was about 4 or 5, my parents tilled up a
patch of lawn and told me it was all mine to plant. I remember being so proud
of that little vegetable patch! I showed it off to my friends and neighbours
and entered (and won!) local children’s farming competitions.
  You recently hosted a ‘Green Camp’
during the school holidays, what did this entail?
What
fun was had at our inaugural Green Camp this September! Myself and two assistants, Kirsten and Nick, led a group of 12
campers through various Green activities daily.
Looking
back at the planning, it began with months of scouring the Cape for the perfect
venue. Finally I came across Soil for Life, an amazing NGO in Constantia. Their
motto is “Build the soil, grow the plants, feed the people, heal the planet”
and what spectacular grounds they have! They have fabulous demonstration
gardens, are within walking distance of the Constantia Green Belt (perfect for
nature hikes with campers) and have a stunning wood building with two glass
walls for venue rental .
I
grew up outdoors and was part of a lot of camps and workshops growing up. I
also organised and led camps for high school students while I was living in
Malawi (2009-2011), where I learned a lot about curriculum planning and
supervising/guiding large groups of children.
Every
day had a different theme, which we would intertwine into a daily nature walk,
art project, lesson and story. Themes ranged from Nutrition We Gain from Nature
to Creative Conservation.
Our
next Green Camp will be held once schools close for summer and will run 9-13
December 2013 – can’t wait to meet the next group of campers!
  What is ‘Green Club’ all about?
Green Club is an afterschool workshop,
held for 1 hour every week for 8 weeks. I cater curriculums for each club based
on ages enrolled and what topics the students are learning in school. As Green
Habit grows, I plan to sponsor Green Clubs in underprivileged areas to expand
avenues for green knowledge, as well as inspire possible future environmental
scientists!
What advice do you have for those who
want to do more for the environment?

While
starting at home is often the easiest (using reusable grocery bags, switching
to LED light bulbs), giving back is often the most rewarding (beach cleanups,
tree plantings). My favourite is joining Cape Town Beach Cleanups which are all over the Cape and are held every first Saturday of the month. I
always meet new friends and now look forward to seeing those who I’ve gotten to
know at previous cleanups.
What’s your number one green tip?

Recycle!
Anyone in any size house or flat has the opportunity to recycle. Find a bin and
place it right next to your garbage can to help remind you. You’ll be amazed at
how much waste you keep from going into your big black bin! Our personalisedhome consultations can help you set
up systems in your home, as well as advise you as to the nearest drop of
location or help you sign up for regular home pickup services.
Lastly, what’s one thing people don’t
know about you?

I
spent 27 months living off the grid in Northern Malawi. I had no car (just an
awesome mountain bike that I loved!), no running water (a tap was about 500m
from my house fortunately – but even that distance took practice carrying water
on my head to and from!), and ate all locally grown rice, beans and veggies. I
think those years really expanded and shaped my thoughts on subsistence farming
and new ways to be green!
Thanks so much for sharing with us about Green Habit and about yourself Monica! Be sure to check out her website, and sign your little one’s up for Green Camp & Green Club!

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