Monthly HighlightsSustainability Star

Sustainability Star of the Month – Habiba Bien

3 Mins read

Tell us about yourself 

habiba

My name is Habiba. I am 29. I recently moved to Dubai from Kenya and I currently work as a Digital Content Creator at Thrift For Good, a thrift charity organization in the UAE. I love traveling, swimming, art, reading, writing and am also passionate about sustainability and environmental conservation. This guided me towards creating a niche blog as a sustainable lifestyle blogger, climate activism and founded an initiative called Trashion Kenya which aims to create awareness and educate the public about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), advocating against single-use plastic and other toxic disposable products and how our lifestyle choices contributes towards climate change. Which led to partnering with organizations working towards climate action for a bigger impact. Volunteering in environmental initiatives like stop pollution campaigns, beach and town clean ups, mangrove planting, visiting climate change victims in my country and promoting eco friendly businesses. 

During my travel blogging explorations, I used to reach out to hotel/restaurant managers to urge them to stop using plastic straws and guess what? Some actually did! Ever since, I’ve been on a mission to raise as much awareness as possible and work towards a more sustainable lifestyle. 

What motivated you to shift to being eco-friendly?

Coming from a country – Kenya – that is adversely affected by climate change yet contributes the least carbon emissions, witnessing the amount of single-use plastic and toxic waste filling our landfills, towns and oceans during beach and town clean-ups made me take initiative to shift to a more eco-friendly lifestyle. 

My sustainability  journey began in 2018, attending the first global conference on the sustainable blue economy in Kenya as a delegate. I learned so much about sustainability and climate change. It was an eye opener. Especially learning about climate change victims and innocent wildlife and marine life affected by this. I then started attending more sustainability related events, webinars, research, learning about the UN SDGs, and environmental initiatives. In 2017, I was fortunate to be one of the Kenyan Ambassadors to attend the Creativity World Forum in The Netherlands. I am feeling lucky that I can visit Expo Dubai to learn more about sustainability.

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The main things you do to be eco-friendly

First I have to admit that being eco-friendly is not an easy journey, but motivating. I usually make a trash/sustainability audit in 4 aspects of my home with the 3 Rs guide (Reduce, Reuse & Recycle). Bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and closet and incorporate eco-friendly products and habits in each by making eco-swaps. 

I try my best to purchase products that are vegan/organic, and aren’t packaged in single-use plastic or any other disposable packaging. In either glass jars that I can reuse, especially in the kitchen, or opting for biodegradable products. Avoiding fast fashion. 

My closet consists of thrift and sustainable brands only. I also carry my own reusable bag and bottle. Take the train and bus to commute. I hardly take cabs unless it’s necessary. Trust me, an eco-friendly lifestyle is budget-friendly too! I have managed to save so much money as I’ve also cut down on eating out – it’s been my biggest struggle. But I try to cook or carry food to work. It’s been a beautiful journey and I’m happy to learn more to improve my eco-friendly lifestyle. 

Your easiest eco -friendly swaps

The easiest eco-friendly swap would be a reusable plastic bottle and bag. These two help reduce so much plastic packaging out there. In my top list I can also add bamboo toothbrush, tooth tabs, package-free organic bar soap, reusable ear buds, a reusable pad and a menstrual cup. I’m currently loving my Rethynk reusable bottle and metal straw from Shift Eco. I am still working on making more eco-swaps. 

What makes it hard for you to be eco-friendly?

As much as I make plastic free eco-swaps, I still encounter single-use plastic packaging in one way or another. Accessibility is everything, but there’s hope that more businesses are going to be eco-friendly in the near future due to a rise of small eco-friendly businesses. 

Clean beauty is still on my to-do list as I’m still trying to find the right products that work for my skin and hair. I’m also learning to compost my food and reduce my meat intake. I would also like to get to know the how-tos in growing my own food. However, I am trying my best and I believe small steps will get me there. 

How do you plan on continuing your sustainability journey? What other aspects do you plan to change?

I aspire to be a minimalist in all aspects of my life, learn more about composting, grow my own food and zero waste options. Upcycle more, reduce my meat intake, adapt more healthy eating habits and take part in more climate action initiatives. My mission is to promote and educate people on sustainable living through my blog so as to grow together as a community both online and offline to change throw away culture. I wish to create an educational center around sustainability in the future that can also double the impact with solving societal and environmental challenges.

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