I can’t remember exactly when my love and passion for simple natural solutions started, but I do recall memories from the age of 12-13 of putting lemon juice in my hair after reading it can be used as a natural lightener. I loved experimenting & trying different things. But, don’t get me wrong, my focus wasn’t at all on sustainability back then, I thought nothing about what chemicals I put on, or in, my body. I was a typical teenager, who’d go to school with a full face of makeup & regularly used chemical laden home dyes to change the colour of my hair.
I struggled a lot with depression in my teens and left school early to enter the workforce. It was while I was working at a surf clothing store, that I talked extensively to a work colleague about her daughter, who had severe chemical sensitivities, and the natural solutions she found. Her daughters situation forced her into a world of self education, trial and error to find suitable products. I was fascinated and loved hearing all about it.
One day she brought in a poster of an information talk being held by a professor named Dr Peter Dingle, on the effects chemicals have on our life & health. She asked if I’d like to go with her, and I gracefully accepted.
Come the day, I was having second thoughts, surely this was just going to be a sales talk, filling me with information and then getting me to sign up to a sales scheme for some overpriced products, and who the hell has a name like Dr Dingle anyways? I wanted to cancel, but I felt bad as I’d already committed. Reluctantly, I got in my car and headed down the hill to the big smoke.
Attending that night was to change my life forever. I was 21 at the time, already had a few jobs under my belt, I knew I wanted to study but wasn’t too sure what in, and every avenue I researched ended up being a clear ‘no’. As I sat, glued to every word Dr Dingle was saying, enamoured by the terminology and wanting to know more more more, I knew I’d found my calling in life.
The following week I got in touch with Peter & asked ‘what I needed to do to learn more?’. It just so happened he was running a new Bachelor of Science Degree the following year at Murdoch University called Health and the Environment. As soon as I got off the phone, I organised to sit my mature age entry test to get into university.
The following year I started my degree.
**Photo: I had no idea what photo to use for this post so I’ve used a pic from my 23rd Birthday party when I was drunk as a skunk. This gives another insight into my non tree hugger life back then!
Thank you for your story Karla, such an inspiration.
Last year I retired from student support and mentoring.
Great to be home to pursue my art, but I know after your story I will go and do some study, and get into making soaps. I really enjoyed your workshop at Rockingham library today
Thank you Lynnie
Thank you so much for sharing Lynnie – and for being here and reading my story! I wish you all the very best with all you do – especially soap making, but I’m biased of course because of today 😉 Thank you for your lovely words and feedback. Karla xx