While Christina Cavaco was living in Portugal in a small country town, she decided she wanted to work for a purpose, for a bigger cause and do something that aligned with her values.
The problem was, she had no idea what she wanted to do how to contribute.
“I came across a blog about zero waste living and I was so intrigued about the idea and this is where my passion for sustainable living started.
From this, I continuously researched more and more about what sustainable living is and what we can do to help. I knew this is how I wanted to contribute: both personally and professionally.
When the idea of Cork Leaf came about there was no thought of whether it will be an ethical business or not. It was simply an extension of my values and myself. It was another opportunity for me to make my contribution.”
Wanting to help reduce the ecological impact of yoga, Christina set out to create a yoga mat that was environmentally friendly and durable.
“The journey has been exciting, stressful, emotional and everything in between but definitely worth it and fulfilling.”
“There were (and are!) many challenges.
The first obvious challenge (like many start ups) was funding. I was in Portugal for 2 years and only worked for 6 months during that time. I struggled to find work due to the poor economy and language barrier. I was fortunate enough to have supportive people in my life that was in the position to help me get started.
Then there were the unexpected personal ‘growing pains’. When I started the Cork Leaf journey I never thought I learn more about myself in less than a year than all the years before.
You learn a lot about yourself, neither good nor bad but all very confronting. For many months I was confronted with beliefs that I held about myself which affected the growth of Cork Leaf. It’s still a challenge I face every day but now I embrace it, learn and grow from it and let it go. Well, try to anyway!
Getting caught up in what other people are doing. There are so many talented people out there and I’m inspired by their work every day. However in the beginning I found that I got so inspired that I got carried away with what was working for them that I would lose vision of what makes Cork Leaf unique and authentic.”
With a yoga philosophy promoting presence, not performance. I feel this really sets us apart.
In October we are launching Slow Movement; which is a wellness channel that provides the tools to reconnect you and help find alignment in your life. It will consist of the most gentle, restorative practice to healthy eating and activities that promote self-compassion, self-care and self-appreciation.
We are really passionate about promoting environmental sustainability and inspiring those to make everyday simple sustainable choices… and that we CAN make an impact. We believe in making small, meaningful changes everyday, to create a positive impact over time for future generations.
Being present. This helped opened my eyes to really see what is happening around me. Whether it is was the single-use plastic water bottle I was drinking out of or the fruit I bought wrapped in plastic. I never actually realised what I was doing (I was in auto pilot) until I slowed down. Now that I practice being present I feel I have the power to make more sustainable choices.
Don’t be hard on yourself.
This is something that I really struggled with in the beginning (and still do). We can only learn and do our best. If you forget to ask for ‘no straw’ with your drink or need to buy a plastic water bottle because you forgot your reusable bottle at home … don’t be hard on yourself.
It’s a journey. It’s your journey. Go easy on yourself and start slow. Make small steps. Slow down, reconnect and be present.
Kira Simpson is an environmentalist and sustainability expert. She started The Green Hub as a blog in 2015, which has since grown to become one of Australia’s largest education sites dedicated to helping people live a more sustainable lifestyle.