When #PursuitLife meets Zero Waste Life: Catching up with Hannah Antonsen


Hannah Antonsen at Lake McArthur, BC

Remember last year’s Earth Day contest winner, Hannah Antonsen? She’s an avid traveler, passionate friend of the planet and SEO & Web Content Specialist for Pursuit. Last year, we put a question out to the Pursuit team: “how will you be celebrating and contributing to Earth Day?” Hannah took this question to heart.

“I hadn’t had any special plans for the day,” she wrote on her blog. “I intended to spend it like any Saturday; skiing in the Rockies, and making each decision with forethought to how it will affect the planet long-term. Just another day, really.”

Then Hannah started thinking about how she could share all the little things she does every day to live more sustainably. It was late evening when she started jotting down a list. By the time she went to bed, hours later, she had finished the list and started a Facebook page and website for what became 52 Weeks for Earth.

Hannah at Polychrome Overlook in Denali National Park

The Challenge and the 5 R’s

“There’s a lot you can do, and not do, to change your impact on the planet,” Hannah says. “And when we all make these strives, well, that collectively can really make a change for the better.”

She designed the 52 Weeks for Earth Challenge to start small and implement one habit per week, every week, for a year. It began with something that seems intuitive, but is often overlooked – not taking things we don’t need, like a free pen or a plastic bag.

“Ask yourself – do I need this object in my life?” she suggests. “Everything that you take into your life becomes permanent. You should feel responsibility for the full life span of an item. Throwing something away doesn’t mean it just disappears.”

The Week One task was inspired by the first of the 5 R’s that are outlined in a book Hannah speaks about as a revered bible – Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson. The book outlines how to live waste-free by following the 5 R’s:

– Refuse
– Reduce
– Reuse
– Recycle
– Rot

Hannah lives by these principles, and they are evident in each of her 52 weekly challenges – from buying in-season produce to starting your own compost. She is adamant that any impact we can have really matters – it’s a movement.

Creating a worm compost box at home

Taking Zero Waste Home on the Road

For someone who loves experiencing new places as much as ensuring that our impact on these places is limited, travel can pose a dilemma. Until this year, Hannah has always made public transit her primary way of getting around. “When I was teenager and people asked me if I would get a car, I remember saying that I didn’t want to have a vehicle unless I could live in it,” she says. “Though to be fair, I didn’t really understand what that meant.”

She does now. Hannah’s first vehicle is a Dodge Sprinter that she is making into her “Zero Waste Van Home”. The goal is to be able to continue to explore with as little environmental footprint as possible. Exploring is pretty important to Hannah – she has visited every single Pursuit experience in Vancouver, Alberta, Alaska and Montana.

@hannahelse on Instagram "Coworkers just back from Alaska and the incredible content they've already started producing for @alaskacollection has me seriously missing the Last Frontier. Take me back!

Hannah has put the 5 R’s to use in converting her van. She has rescued flooring from a bathroom renovation and insulation from Kijiji (an online classified ads site). When she has had to buy anything new for the project, Hannah has searched out damaged materials that she knows others are unlikely to buy. She even has plans to take her worm farm on road trips to manage food waste.

You won’t catch Hannah driving to work though. She filled her gas tank when she returned from her last trip in January, and didn’t need to go back to the gas station until just last week in early April. She says it’s the little things like this that make a difference in our world. “It’s okay to start small. You don’t have to do everything – you just have to do something.

@zerowastevanhome on Instagram "Gotta thank @freecamping for this camping spot outside of Zion National Park. We drove up the 4WD friendly road after dark, so in the morning we treated with awesome red rock valley views on the drive down."

“I know all the issues that come with a changing climate can seem daunting and anxiety-inducing, but that’s why I wrote this list of easy and common solutions to make a difference in your own life,” Hannah says. She’s always up for a chat about getting started, and taking your habits to the next level. Check out the list and if you have any questions, reach out to Hannah.

“There’s positive work already being done around the world to shift our lifestyles in a less-harmful way, and I’m sure you’ve even noticed some of these in your own community. I encourage you to take a look at the list and see how many you’re already doing, and what you might like to give a try!”

Visit 52 Weeks for Earth

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