Hi everyone it’s Zainab here, welcome or welcome back to Zainab Chats! Today’s post is another interview with my good blogging friend Catherine (I actually interviewed her a year ago, but we both thought it would be fun to do an updated interview!) It’s actually fitting to do an interview now, as Catherine has done a huge brand revamp from Cath Jane Blog to The Ecolytical which I’m so excited about. We’re going to be chatting all things the environment, her revamped blog and more. Let’s jump into it!
Hello Catherine, thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed! For anybody that doesn’t know who you are, could you please introduce yourself and explain what The Ecolytical is about?
Hi! Thank you so much for having me Zainab, it’s an absolute pleasure to be here. My name is Catherine, and I’m a teen blogger from the UK. I live in just about the middle of England – not quite north or south. The Ecolytical is my passion project. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted to share with the world in one online space. The combination of the prefix eco- and the word ‘analytical’ in the name summarises what it’s all about: picking apart environmental news to be more digestible and accessible to everyone.
That’s so cool! So how long have you had the idea in your mind to start The Ecolytical?
I had the idea for the name in January of this year but I only started writing content for it in around April. So, it’s been a long time in the making!
I’m excited to see it! Before we get into chatting about The Ecolytical in depth, I’d love to talk a bit about your blogging journey. So I’m curious to know what inspired you to start blogging, is it something you’ve always wanted or did you decide to do it ‘in the moment?’
It was a very spur of the moment decision. I have to admit, Zoella was my largest inspiration to get started! Once I had finished reading her Girl Online book series I went straight to my parents to ask if I could start a blog (I was quite young at the time) and to my surprise they said yes almost immediately. Anonymity was part of the deal but I wanted to have an alias anyway so it worked out really well. The first few years of blogging were hit and miss, just posting whatever I wanted, until last year I tried to make it as best as possible and then just a few months ago I decided to pursue this niche.
That’s quite similar to how I started blogging! Obviously you started blogging quite a while ago, for anybody that’s apprehensive or doesn’t really know where to begin with blogging, what advice or tips would you give them?
It’s the most basic piece of advice but it’s incredibly true: just do it! Don’t be afraid to try out different formats! In the beginning you don’t have much of a following to restrict you to a certain niche so this is the time you can experiment and see what feels right for you. Then as soon as you start building followers you can stick with a certain niche.
So what kind of things did you try out, that you wouldn’t normally post, when you started blogging?
I did lots of Q&As and things similar to that which I wouldn’t really do anymore. I tried to focus on lifestyle and even though I still talk about that sometimes, it’s not really what I want to do anymore. The same with fashion! I think I had a couple of moments where I wanted to do Outfits Of The Day but that’s not really what I’m interested in anymore.
Yeah I do notice a few lifestyle posts on your Intagram sometimes but it’s much more related to your current niche! Now moving onto The Ecolytical, the mission is to ‘help everyone to live consciously: of themselves and their world’ which is such a powerful statement. What gave you the idea to revolve The Ecolytical around this, and what made you start it in the first place?
So, I really believe if you’re not aware of what your world is going through, there’s no incentive to take action and participate in these larger conversations. The climate crisis is the most pressing global issue facing us at the moment, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by it.
On my Instagram recently I have spoken about the idea of ‘reconnecting with nature’. Not only does it do wonders for your wellbeing, but it brings you closer to the Earth so you can hopefully gain a bit of empathy towards it. When you’re closer to the cause, it makes you more likely to take action.
Love this perspective! So would you say that someone like Greta Thunberg is one of your role models, or do you have any other role models and could you share them?
Greta is one of my hugest inspirations, but I also love David Attenborough of course. I also love Steve Backshall, I went to go see him once and he was really cool!
One of the other aims of The Ecolytical is to help people live more eco-friendly lifestyles. Is an eco-friendly lifestyle something you’ve always had or something you’ve implemented over time?
I can’t say I’ve ever been perfectly eco-friendly (and I still am not now) but growing up semi-rural, I do have an understanding of the importance of caring for wildlife and nature. My parents always made me get outside and I was subscribed to a lot of nature magazines. One thing that’s always been drilled into me is to make use of everything: don’t buy anything for the sake of it and to be as conservative as possible about what you buy!
That’s really good advice! You always stress the importance of small changes and how they can create big results. So why is it vital that everyone knows this and plays a part in a small change , and how will it help the environment?
I don’t know whether you have seen this idea floating about on Instagram, but I’ve seen a graphic where, in quotation marks, it says ‘just one plastic bottle, says 8 million people’. Now that’s quite a negative take on the idea. But look at it this way, what if 8 million people refused a single use bottle?
Even though we aren’t world leaders with big companies and sums of money at our disposal, but there is power in the people. And the more we speak up, the less the Governments can ignore us. Even just a small change can create a ripple effect and I think it’s important that you don’t feel overwhelmed by the crisis otherwise you won’t feel as inspired to take action!
So when did you start learning to take action, and when do you think is the right time to start?
Obviously just as soon as possible (as soon as you can talk) you want to be kind to your planet. But, I’d say around 6-7 years old, I joined an eco club at school and we made art out of litter and then I started going to clubs such as Wildlife Explorers. So, that’s when I started being aware of climate change.
Then in recent years, with the rise of people like Greta Thunberg and her speeches, I realised the severity of it and why I need to talk about it myself.
You mentioned young people, so how do you think parents and schools can implement activism and changemaking spirits into young people?
I think it’s good to have small conversations and not be too overwhelming. So, just pose a simple question like, ‘Are you sure you want to buy that drink when you could just take a bottle with you?’ Don’t try to overwhelm children on a large scale of this, because it can cause some anxiety and that’s not necessary. But if you speak about the bees in your garden for example and explain the issue in a simple way it could be much simpler. So, just try to thread it into conversation where appropriate to avoid confusion and overwhelming children.
Making things simple is a great way for young children to understand! Speaking of simple, for anybody that wants to shift their lifestyle to make it more eco-friendly could you give us some examples of simple changes you can make to have good effects on the environment?
Of course! Buying in bulk, taking your own cup, buying second-hand, eating meat-free (even for just one day a week), signing some Greenpeace petitions. Next time you have to replace your toothbrush – go for a bamboo one (but check the bristles are biodegradable too). Resuable masks are also great (buying them from a small business is even better, my favourite is @namishopuk)
Even just talking about the climate crisis more within your school communities or sports clubs. I want The Ecolytical to have a ripple effect. I want to start conversations that will be continued, and continued, and continued.
You mentioned buying second hand, do you mind sharing some examples of where you could buy second hand clothes, items etc?
Go to charity shops – they’re the best because there are so many in the UK! Car boot sales are great for more practical items and E Bay is also great as you have to buy locally to get quicker delivery. Also, a lot of my clothes can also come from family which is another great source!
Family is a great one, there’s also an app called Vinted where you can buy second hand. So, what’s your final statement about The Ecolytical or piece of advice you’d like to share with my readers?
One last piece of advice, because I don’t want to sound egotistical and talk about myself! Don’t fall for the eco-friendly ‘aesthetic’ because it’s progression over perfection! Use up what you have, and repair what you already own before you go on a shopping spree for metal straws or glass food containers! The whole idea is to push against capitalism, not drive it. Doing your best is the we can do!
Thank you so much to Catherine for taking the time to be interviewed! I learned so much from listening to her, so make sure you comment what you learned and check out her links!
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Have a fantastic day!