Wright shares her impressive knowledge in her new book, Go Gently: Actionable Steps to Nurture Yourself and the Planet. The guide is more thoughtful (and practical) than many celebrity-authored books, and their passion for sustainability is evident. Wright’s goal? Helping people take microsteps toward meaningful change, whether it’s swapping out packaged products for homemade ones, deciphering what can (and can’t) be recycled, or repairing their clothes instead of buying new ones.
HBO Max’s Harry Potter reunion: Tears, nostalgia, and an odd lack of JK Rowling
We spoke to Wright about Zoom. The conversation was edited lengthwise.
Q: You’ve been an activist for years. Why write this book now?
A: Many of the [climate] My actions took place in public space, be it demonstrations or direct actions with Greenpeace. But at home, I’ve also made quiet changes. I began to think that perhaps these quieter practices were almost as interesting as the public actions. The book is about empowering us to make better, more informed decisions when faced with so many options. The title “Go Gentle” is [saying] We should be gentle so that we can sustain these actions over a longer period of time.
It mainly focuses on the house; There is a practice where you pick five items in a given room and study their environmental impact. “What is this notebook made of? where is the paper from What can I do with it when I’m done?”
Q: They initially focused on plastic waste.
A: I’ve always loved the ocean dearly and I’ve seen so much more plastic pollution ending up on our beaches and waterways. I was angry and upset [by it]. By wanting to understand that, I have [realized] … there are reasons why people do not dispose of their waste properly. There are disposal systems [that are] just doesn’t work; then there is a lack of guidelines to reduce single-use plastic; and to push companies to use more refillable, reusable materials.
The UN passes historic resolution to end plastic pollution
Q: You once said “Every piece of plastic I’ve ever used is still on this planet somewhere.” But aren’t many plastics recyclable?
A: The plastics industry literally created the recycling system for us to keep using. Plastic is a fossil fuel – it invests a lot of money to convince the world that recycling is a great thing.
But most of these great companies are driven by the bottom line. New plastic is cheaper than recycled plastic. When your recycling is collected, it is taken to a materials recycling facility where it is sorted and sold to recyclers. There are some plastics that are more difficult to recycle because they don’t contain money.
Maybe a week, #2 recycling isn’t very profitable. All that plastic could literally end up in a landfill because nobody cares [buying them to recycle]. Other materials in the chain, like aluminium, are almost always recycled because they have a higher value.
It should not be imposed on us: the choice and the pressure. This is where politics and education come into play. There’s a good term, “wish recycling,” for “wish recycling.” [throw something] in the bin hoping it will be recycled but don’t really know.
Are you interested in the protection of old-growth forests? Here are some steps you can take.
Q: What are people doing wrong when it comes to sustainability?
A: For so long we thought recycling was the answer to our problems. Better systems we could implement are refillable, reusable things, like going to the coffee shop and bringing a reusable cup. Instead of buying new “sustainable” products, what can we be imaginative for in our home?
Q: What can parents do to help children become more environmentally conscious?
A: Young people are good at seeking transparency on these issues; Teenagers I know are also aware of the role that government plays. But younger children are in this amazingly suggestible stage. Gardening and composting are fun things for kids to say, “We eat our food, then leftover food goes back into the ground and allows other food to grow.”
Do you want bike? If so, you’re not actually helping with recycling.
Q: How does your activism influence your film work?
A: What’s fun about the power of media is that you can take people with you on this journey of history and use characters to overcome stubborn feelings. A short film I [directed] last year my storytelling crossed paths with concerns about the climate crisis. It’s essentially a monster movie called Consumed.” It’s about our consumption, how it comes back to haunt us.
Q: Have you always been interested in acting? You were young when you starred in Harry Potter.
A: I was so young I didn’t know what I wanted to do. My older brother read the first two Harry Potters Books. He heard they were auditioning for the films and said, “You should audition for Ginny Weasley.” I thought, “Okay. Sounds funny.”
It happened very quickly and my love of acting and filmmaking happened in real time on the sets. I graduated from film school in 2012, continued to work as an actor and director, and then said, “I’ll just do it [focus on] directed for [a while].”
I started a YouTube channel all about Go Gently and just make the videos myself. It was interesting to get back in front of the camera after hiding behind it quite happily.
Six steps the world can take to stop climate change
Q: What is your greatest hope for your book?
A: I hate to think that people could read the book and just sit on the information. I hope people know that there is no wrong or perfect way to confront the climate movement. The planet needs all of us to show up in any way we can, roll up our sleeves and get involved.
Laura Barcella is a freelance writer and author of books for adults, children and young adults including Fight Like a Girl: 50 Feminists Who Changed The World.
Actionable steps to take care of yourself and the planet
A note to our readers
We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program that allows us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated websites.