Terra Heilman owns and operates Terra Linda Consulting

I’ve been working in waste reduction education for the better part of the last decade and what has become apparent to me in that time is that we, as humans, need to fundamentally change our relationship with consumption. In short, we need to do a whole lot less of it. Unfortunately, "reducing consumption” sounds like sacrifice. It sounds hard and scary-heck, any type of change seems like that at the beginning. In my own life, I had an interesting experience with “giving up” much of the unnecessary consumption. I found it wasn’t nearly as scary as I initially feared it was going to be. In fact, it wasn’t that scary at all. Once I got the hang of it, it was easy and there were all these “hidden benefits” that I never expected.

When we "give up" our consumption of low quality (and low cost) items, we might see benefits such as longer lasting/more durable products, things we truly love and not just clutter and so much more.  For example, if you spend the time making your own food, you know what went into it and you're likely saving money over pre-packaged foods. We can employ this thinking in virtually every area of our lives. We don't necessarily need to give up anything, except low quality. 

Professionally, I’m known for being the gal with the answers. It seems like everyone comes to me when they have a waste related question. I don’t always have all the answers, of course, but I enjoy researching and following up on the tough questions. I also have a knack for creative solutions and for connecting people. I fill the gap between good science and the general public…or, the gap between waste and pop culture. I make connections.

When I’m not working, you’ll often find me thrifting or executing creative reuses of my own. I might be sewing or creating a fun and personal gift for a family member or refashioning a clothing item for myself. You can also frequently find me in front of the TV or big screens I mentioned earlier. I enjoy movies and TV shows and have been known to devour an entire season of a show in one weekend. I also thoroughly enjoy games and puzzles. I think that’s why creative reuse appeals to me. It’s like a puzzle that needs solving. “We’ve got this waste item…what could/should we do with it?”

The most important things in the world for me are my partner, Carlos, my dogs, Zoe, Teddy and Kaylee and family/friends. That’s about it. Everything else is just stuff. (Although, I do really like jewelry…)

I want to be remembered as the person who made durable cool. Sustainable consumption is classy. Let’s bring the class back!


Click here to read Terra's article in the Green Living Journal: Top 5 reasons you should be thrifting