Mermaid Tales: Meet Jillien – Influencing People Through Her Actions
Just this year, I told myself to commit to making good habits. One of these is not using straws. I know that it is bad for the environment, and it is totally useless, and obviously human beings can live without it. But half a year later, I am still struggling and failing to commit to give up plastic straw. But every time I saw my friend posts on how she did it every single day in instagram, she inspired me to strive and push myself more.
My boyfriend, gave me this idea to interview her in my blog and to share her experience and to inspire other people as well. I’m planning to interview more ladies that are doing the same.
Just a little background, we met in a free diving community where we mostly dive every Sunday (kung di siya mang-indian. HAHA.)
So with no further ado, meet this inspiring mermaid, Jillien!
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am Jillien Lacerna. I have loved the ocean since the day I laid my eyes on it. People always see me as a mermaid, not just for the reason that I freedive, but because of how passionate I am about protecting it.
Why did you decide to minimize plastic consumption?
I saw a documentary entitled “A Plastic Ocean” on Netflix. It made me confront the reality that our planet is becoming more plastic than plant. And it plants a seed in your mind, encouraging you to acknowledge all of the possible places your plastic container might end up: inside the stomach of a fish, bird, or whale, washed up on communities that lack the means to “dispose” them properly, in a landfill, or at the bottom of the ocean.
The ocean provides us with everything we need: food, oxygen, inspiration and jobs. It also regulates the climate. Despite its vital importance, we are currently treating our ocean like an enormous dump. In my countless beach trips, I have often seen plastics floating around the ocean or being washed up on the shore. Nobody dared to pick them up. Nobody seemed to care about its impact to the environment. I saw how people ignored the fact that we are actually drowning in our own trash. Because of this realization, I decided to eliminate plastic from my life early this year. I may be just one person, but I believe that through my actions, I can influence a lot of people to do the same.
Are there any challenges doing it?
From lunch to tissue roll, alternatives to products using plastic were often hard to find and much more expensive. This is the number one challenge for everyone trying to live a plastic-free life.
Any memorable experience so far involving not using plastic that you want to share?
Just last week, my boyfriend and I decided to eat at Sugbo Mercado. We all know that they only serve their food and drinks in single-use plastic products. So what I did was I brought my own stainless plates and utensils and also a Tupperware. People were staring at me as I handed out my stainless plates to the people cooking my food and asking them to place my order there instead of their usual paper and styrofoam plates. Some gave me the side eye, but I took it as an opportunity to tell them “daghan na kaayog plastic sa dagat.” There was even one food stall owner who commended me for bringing my own plate as he also tried to convince his customers to bring their own to save the environment.
Also, because of my countless posts about my journey in reducing my plastic footprint and the dangers of plastic to the environment, people have been inspired to reduce their plastic footprint. When I’m with my friends, I often hear their stories about refusing a straw or even feeling guilty about using plastic cups. It’s very heartwarming to hear these things, to know that I have influenced people to make a change not just by preaching about the harmful effects of plastic, but also by doing something to solve the problem.
Any advice to those who want to start doing the same?
“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.” – Paulo Coelho
Don’t be afraid of to look weird by asking for something in a reusable cup or bottle, or for using stainless straws and bringing your own cutlery and plate/Tupperware. You are an awesome person doing something that is amazing for the environment. If someone gives you a look for doing something different, it is not something to be ashamed of. You could be doing something they have never seen before, so think about it in a way that makes you a teacher showing someone something new, and be proud!
Jillien recently started a zero waste shop on Instagram – litterless.ph – which offers sustainable options for earth-conscious customers with little or zero packaging. Their aim is to make a low-waste lifestyle cheaper, easier and more convenient. Everything you purchase will NEVER and up in the ocean. Driven by the need to make a positive change, she believe in bringing people together and helping them on their journey in reducing their plastic footprint.
You can follow Jillien on her Instagram Account @jillienlacerna