A carpenter by trade, Jessica Madott grew up in the Ottawa area, spending many hours of her childhood roaming the great outdoors and developing a strong appreciation for nature. As a pre-teen, she had a poster in her locker at school that read, “I’ll clean up my planet, but not my room.”
“These concepts never faded – reducing, reusing, recycling, healthy living, shopping locally, animal and environmental welfare have always been at the forefront for many of my day-to-day decisions,” Jessica explains.
Over the years, however, she started finding it increasingly confusing to make good decisions and trust that those decisions made a tangible difference. “Exaggerated labeling, media stories, and fads contribute to information pollution that leaves those of us who are trying to adopt a healthier, sustainable lifestyle pretty overloaded with options, but not really clear on what are the best ones,” she says. “Where do you even start, really?”
Jessica began to make the switch about a decade ago when she moved to wellness conscious Perth ON to study carpentry. Cleaning products were the first to be replaced. “I started with things I felt were the most toxic or that would have the most adverse effect, and found myself looking at how I cleaned my home,” she says. “Air and water quality were both addressed and this has made a huge difference for both the feel and cleanliness of our home, and my family's overall health.”
Now, she takes comfort from knowing that her living spaces and belongings are clean, safe, and healthy, and that anything left in the air or going down the drain into the water isn't harming anything or anyone on its way by.
Her second switch had nothing to do with chemicals; rather, she targeted apparel. “I was very concerned about the ethics of where things are produced. Most apparel is produced in massive foreign factories, where it can be difficult to know if working conditions are fair,” she says.
Jessica is continuing to switch over her personal care products, and is also moving towards a diet that is meat-free, on account of the environmental impact of animal agriculture.
“I've always been somewhat mindful, but also somewhat blissfully ignorant when it came to animal testing and chemical composition of cosmetics,” she says. “Knowing that ingredients like lead, formaldehyde and toluene are commonplace in many of these products was only slightly less frightening than learning of just how much animal testing is still being done for big brand names.”
She is now reaching for more natural, cruelty-free, and sustainable alternatives. A professional make-up artist friend got her hooked on cosmetics brands like DaLish, 100% Pure and John Masters, and terra20 has introduced her to Hugo Naturals, Green Beaver, Live Clean, Avalon Organics, Purple Urchin, Burt's Bees, and Kiss My Face.
“One thing I’ve learned about making the switch is that you don’t have to compromise. You can still have your make up, food, personal care, cleaning products, and the products are even better! Making the switch is good for you, and for the planet,” Jessica says.
While starting her switch pre-dates terra20, she is thrilled to have terra20 to help her along her way ongoing.
“The values and ethics that terra20 upholds - sustainability, fair-trade, cruelty-free, organic, locally sourced, and energy efficient - all resonate with me and represent ways in which I strive to live and improve my life, and the lives of my loved ones.”