Caitlin Mellor is a traveler, adventurer, and wild woman always striving to be authentic and open in everything that she does. She wants to make the world a better place and do it while going after her passions and joy. Because of that, all the work that she does is within something she is passionate about. She’s an international photographer, writer, fitness/wellness coach, and public speaker. Caitlin combines and integrates many of her businesses to work with one another and separately all in hopes to help make this planet a better place helping others feel more connected to the Earth and to themselves. Follow her journey on CaitlinMellor.com, Facebook, Instagram or join her Facebook group Women’s Eco-friendly Health Collaborative.
1. That’s amazing that you volunteer to do beach cleanups. What inspired you to start doing that?
My two true loves in this life are the ocean and the mountains and it was while hiking in the mountains that I began to notice the trash lining the trails (and this was in an area where recycling is highly available and publicized).
This really bothered me and lead me to learn more about the detriment happening to our Earth not just from trash in general but more specifically from plastics.
I started to bring a bag with me on every hike and on the way back down I would pick up all the trash I could find, sort it, and ensure it got to its proper facilities.
Then an event came across my Facebook for doing a beach clean up. I thought to myself ‘well I do this in my free time on the trails, I would love to protect the ocean as well’ and I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet like-minded people.
But overall it is my passion to make sure that this planet survives for future generations by protecting it and it’s animals from the harm humans cause.
We are at a crucial point in history where, right here and now, we will either be the cause of passing “the point of no return” giving our planet a death sentence or we can start to retract what we can of the damage we’ve done and help the planet to repair itself and stop further damage from happening.
I choose to do my best to save this beautiful planet in whatever ways I can.
2. You also collaborate with them to teach high school students about climate change. What has that experience been like for you? What often seems the biggest takeaway for the students?
The experience of teaching high school students about climate change has been more inspiring than I imagined.
For me high school was a horrible experience and graduating was finally reaching freedom from the torment. If you would have told me when I was a teenager I would go back to do presentations at high schools I don’t think I would have believed it.
But because of my negative experience in high school, I wanted to make sure that my talks didn’t just involve climate change but helped them to believe in themselves. I didn’t want to tell these kids horrible truths about a planet and problem they inherited and leave them feeling overwhelmed or hopeless.
So I make sure within all of my talks to let them know that each and every one of them is important and that who they are and what they do matters. I wasn’t really told that when I was young and I think it’s important to let them know, despite being handed a huge issue that wasn’t created by them, that their unique ideas and minds can create real change and their lives matter.
These students have taught me just as much as I have taught them. Seeing their creativity, devotion, and hearing their ideas and questions have helped give me hope for the future of the planet.
For the students, I think that the biggest thing they take away is that plastic is poison for everything on this planet. A huge portion of my talk focuses on the toxins in plastics and how they create a vicious cycle that hurts the planet, animals, and us as humans. I explain the harm of single-use plastics and how plastics don’t biodegrade, they take up to 400 years to “break down” and when they do they’re not completely gone, they’re reduced to microplastics which are even more dangerous. These are things most adults don’t even know. They ask me a lot of questions about how to take away specific plastics and also share their creative ideas with me, asking me if I think it’s possible as an alternative to something destructive.
3. I love that you started a collaborative for women to discuss ways to be eco-friendly in health. What have you found to be the biggest challenge with being eco-friendly with beauty care? Any tips you’d like to share?
There are so many challenges to being eco-friendly with beauty care but for me, the biggest challenge has been avoiding single-use plastics and finding products that are ethical (cruelty-free with no testing on animals).
I think one of the biggest challenges would be women’s hygiene products such as pads, tampons, and menstrual cups. Plastic applicators are a big problem, and even if we choose a company without applicators or with paper ones, often the tampon itself still contains micro plastic – this is not only hurting the planet but also hurting us.
It is the same with silicone menstrual cups, silicone contains similar and matching toxins as plastic, and while it eliminates single-use plastic, it doesn’t eliminate the risk to our own health as women.
My tips for ladies would be to look at everything in your health care routine that involves plastic and to look up alternatives and if you don’t know, seek out informational pages or groups to help you learn and expand your knowledge to better your own health and the health of the planet.
Shopping for natural products can lead to some great discoveries such as having shampoo in powder form. Using toothbrushes made from recycled material/wood not plastic. Shopping in bulk using glass jars and making it yourself are also options. But most importantly educating yourself on toxins common in beauty products, never buying anything with microbeads (which are microplastics), and doing research into the companies you support will help you to ensure their products are eco-friendly and cruelty-free but also that they are healthy for you and toxin free.