5 quick questions with Erin Lewis-Fitzgerald

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The Environmental Film Festival Australia and City of Stonnington will be partnering on World Environment Day - Tuesday June 5 - to host a screening of the award-winning documentary The Clean Bin Project.

After the film audiences will hear from a panel of local zero-waste experts, including the Rogue Ginger (aka Erin Rhoads), Eva Mackinley (founder of The Last Straw) and social entrepreneur Erin Lewis-Fitzgerald.

We sat down (virtually, at our computers) for five quick questions with Erin Lewis Fitzgerald. 

Hi! Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?

I'm an American expat who's been living in Melbourne for 17 years. I have a few jobs: I'm a communication specialist, helping not-for-profits and corporates with marketing, copywriting and editing; I mend other people's clothes on commission; I teach workshops; and I'm writing a book about creative clothes mending.

See more at www.erinlewisfitzgerald.com.

Can you remember a specific moment that got you interested in sustainability?

It was a gradual process over a few years. I got involved in community repair projects because I had sewing and mending skills to share, not realising there was a sustainability component to repairs, too. It was only when someone introduced me as being from "the sustainability world" that I realised I was!

If a friend was starting to think about how they personally could lessen their impact on the planet and asked you for advice, what sorts of actions would you kick them off with?

Love your stuff! Buy the best you can afford, choose second-hand if it's available, and make a conscious decision to maintain your stuff and keep it going forever (or as long as possible). The same applies to things you buy for other people - don't give gifts that are likely to be unloved or binned after five minutes. If something breaks down, try to repair it yourself, take it to a Repair Cafe or get it professionally repaired. Ask Google or crowdsource the information on social media if you don't know where or how to repair or recycle something.

Why do you think storytelling & film has the ability to change people’s minds about environmental, social or political issues?

Storytelling invites empathy, which is so important for motivation and change. It's much harder to get passionate about something like waste or climate change with just the facts. The visual aspect helps, too - that's a big part of why the television show War on Waste has had such a profound effect.

What’s your favourite environmental film, documentary or otherwise?

Demain (Tomorrow) is inspirational and filled me with hope, which is unusual for an environmental film.

Thank you Erin!

To hear more from Erin and our other fantastic speakers, after a screening of The Clean Bin Project, book your tickets now.