Ruby Wax interview: My Sustainable Life - ‘Be a b****** but don’t then tell me you’re all green’

The author tells Olivia Petter how sustainability influences her daily life

Tuesday 27 July 2021 13:09

The Independent’s My Sustainable Life is a Q&A series in which famous faces reveal their personal approach to the climate crisis

This week, for My Sustainable Life, we hear from comedian, writer and performer Ruby Wax.

Previous guests on My Sustainable Life include model Daisy Lowe and TV chef Gizzi Erskine.

Born and raised in Illinois, Wax, 68, is a hugely successful author, having published three bestselling books, including A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled, which was published in January 2016.

She has also been widely praised for her mental health campaigning, and was awarded an OBE in 2015 for her services to mental health awareness.

Here she explains why installing a pay-back system could be the key to making the world greener, how she hopes her eco home in Scotland will make up for the flying she does, and why solar-panelled planes are the future.

The most sustainable decision I made in the past year was...

I’m getting a little eco house in Findhorn. which is an eco community in Scotland. They know how to build eco up there. The house will rely on wind turbines, solar power and car sharing. It’s the real deal.

My least sustainable guilty habit is...

I fly. So, that’s pretty awful, but I’m trying to balance it out with my house.

If I ruled the world, I would make it more sustainable by...

...making it a law that whatever you take out of the world you have to put back in it. So if you were drinking from a plastic bottle, you’d have to then go and deliver food to people who can’t leave their homes, or something. It would be a pay-back system and you’d be fined for not complying.

When I want to feel in touch with the natural world I...

...go to Findhorn. I’m sitting in a forest now, too, so that’s pretty great.

If I could invent one thing that would make my life more sustainable it would be...

An electric plane, or one powered by solar-energy.

My sustainability hero is...

David Attenborough, he’s just brilliant.

The one thing everyone should watch or read about the climate crisis is...

Attenborough’s Netflix film, Our Planet.

My favourite vegan or vegetarian restaurant is...

It used to be Food for Thought in Covent Garden, where I lived for 30 years. I think it had been there since the 1970s but it’s gone now. There are some great places on Portobello Road in London, too, though most of them smell like incense.

My one piece of advice to people trying to be more sustainable is...

Watch what you’re doing. As you speak, notice where the water being held in your hand came from. Everyone’s going on about sustainability but nobody’s aware of what they’re holding or touching or wearing.

I don’t mind somebody who does what they want but don’t be a hypocrite, that’s what I can’t stand. I cannot stand it. Just be a b****** but don’t then tell me you’re all green.

Three sustainable brands everyone should know about

Patagonia - It’s where I worked. They’re the most sustainable and the only brand I trust with clothing.

Riverford Organic - I love using food delivery boxes. I use lots of them.

Second-hand shops - It’s always better to buy second-hand clothes if you can rather than buying new.

A Mindfulness Guide for Survival by Ruby Wax is published on 5 August by Welbeck

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