Heena Shah is a woman on a mission. A mechanical engineer, freelance writer, consultant, and owner of a postcard shop in Caranzalem, Goa, India, she has made it her life's work to promote sustainable living in her community and beyond. Her journey towards sustainability began while living in Japan, where she saw firsthand the devastating effects of waste and pollution on the environment.
"It was eye-opening," she recalls. "I could only drop my waste to the common area on certain days of the week, and seeing the waste pile up, with maggots growing, was a shock. I realized that my plastic waste was piling up in a plastic bag that I had paid for. I'm so glad I went through it, as it made me switch to a more sustainable way of living."
Heena's sustainable living practices, as she sums it up for us are "Fun, anxious, but worth the number of regrets just decreasing action after action." However, as with any significant lifestyle change, there were challenges she had to overcome. She lists five main challenges she faced during her journey towards sustainable living: being torn between "I really want it" vs. "do I really need it?", being grossed out to clean her own cloth pad and moving stinky wet waste, people eyeing her for carrying her own reusable items, hoarding onto reusable, hoping to use them or find someone who will, and looking for sustainable alternatives is time-consuming.
But Heena is not one to back down from a challenge. She overcame these obstacles by networking with the right people, sharing resources, maintaining a schedule, and not caring about what others think. These experiences have not only helped her live more sustainably but have also taught her valuable life lessons.
"I need less, I want less, I save so much money, and I am more mindful about my actions," she says, reflecting on how sustainable living has benefited her life. However, Heena's work goes beyond just her own personal practices. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge and helping others live more sustainably.
Through her Instagram account, @explorer.heena, and her blog heenas.in where she creates content on sustainability, and her weekly column on sustainable travel and lifestyle for the Gomantak Times, Heena tries to bring sustainability into every article she writes and the story she tells. She has also founded OpcoHQ.com, which focuses on efficiency and sustainability, with a mission to help Indian SMEs attain Japan-level efficiency and effectiveness.
As she continues to spread awareness and inspire others to adopt sustainable living practices, Heena remains a force to be reckoned with. Her determination, passion, and commitment to making the world a better place serve as an inspiration to all those around her.
You can find her collection here:
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