this week we had the pleasure of interviewing one of our good friends, nicky kullback. she has always been an inspiration to us with her passion and work in the environmental space. she genuinely lives by what she teaches and is someone we can all learn from when looking to implement a more sustainable life. enjoy her wisdom, we sure did!
1. tell us a bit about your background in sustainability and when did it start?
Sustainability has always been something I have been passionate about! My mom was very eco friendly while I was growing up and taught me to always reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible, so I suppose that is where it started. Something that was ‘sustainable’ that I did at a young age was become a vegetarian. I was 10 when I decided I no longer wanted to eat meat, mainly because it gave me stomach aches and I always felt bad for the animals. The older I got, the more knowledgeable I became of the meat and dairy industry. Between my mom and being a vegetarian, I knew sustainability would have to be involved with my higher education.
I went to San Diego State University and received my Bachelor’s of Science in Recreation Administration with an emphasis in Sustainable Tourism Management. I thought I would use this degree to travel the world, meet new people, and educate those about sustainable tourism and the industry along the way. But during my senior year of college, I landed 3 internships, all with environmental nonprofits. These internships lead me to where I am today! I work for 2 different environmental nonprofits whereI get to educate people on all different areas of sustainability. With every part of my life, I try to involve sustainability, whether that’s educating the public on recycling, trying my best to be zero waste or working for an organization that promotes solar power and electric vehicles.
2. are you involved in any environmental programs?
Yes! I work for two rather large environmental nonprofits in the San Diego County. One full-time and the other I work part-time for. I still try and make time to volunteer with the 3 organizations I had internships during college.
3. what tips do you have for people looking to be more sustainable in their everyday life?
Start with something easy! Sustainability has so many aspects to it that it can become overwhelming to know where to start. You can start by volunteering with an environmental organization once a month, or by remembering to bring your reusable and bulk intent products to the grocery store/farmers market each week. Once you make one small change, add in another! I love educating myself on San Diego’s new sustainability laws. The city has a goal to divert 75% of its waste from the landfill by 2020 - this is something I learned relatively recently that I wish I had known about earlier. With so many new sustainability laws coming into place, taking the time to learn about these helps me be more conscious of my day to day choices with waste, electricity and gas, etc..
4. what are the most common recycling myths?
Everything can be recycled, including used napkins and paper towels....No!! Each city has their own laws, take the time to educate yourself on your cities recycling rules. If you live in San Diego, check out wastefreesd.org. This website not only helps you with basic recycling rules, but also can show you where to recycle your household hazardous waste like batteries, motor oil and paint.
5. what do you want people to know about sustainability?
It is so so important, now more than ever, to educate yourself. Sustainability is more than just recycling. It’s about caring for our one and only planet. The sooner we start working together to help our earth, the better our chances are to reverse some of the damage we have created.
6. where do you hope to see the world in terms of sustainability in the next 5 years?
I hope to see all generations take being kinder to our environment a lot more seriously. Hopefully in the next 5 years, the term zero-waste becomes something that everyone knows and is working towards!
7. what does intention mean to you?
To me, the word intention means to care about something that has a purpose or greater good. For example, being kinder to our environment with the intention of making our world a better place for all living things.