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Musings with Montana Lower: Making every day a celebration of people and planet

Ok friends, Plastic Free July is drawing to an end, so what next? How do we keep our sights set on sustainability; how do we keep the passion for people and planet consistent beyond the calendar event? Well, in the words of the fiercely motivated  Montana Lower, “you don’t have to be an expert to make a difference, you just need the courage to show up”. 

Redefining motherhood and sustainability, Montana Lower is an environmental engineer, a mum to beautiful daughter Blue, a conscious climate activist and a model. She’s the founder of ethical skincare brand, Bluem, and the passionate pioneer beyond the ARTivism movement, Murals For Change. Alongside her partner Tom Linwood, Montana manages all this while living between her charming bus-home and her latest adventure: a divine little cottage nestled on five acres of lush Tasmanian bushland.

Ambitious yet humble, and endlessly generous with her time, we caught up with Montana to hear about the journey so far, her pursuit to cultivate community and create change, and her words of wisdom for anyone who may be starting their journey towards sustainability, or just looking for a little inspiration along the way…

TH: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us at TOWNHALL! Let’s start at the start – where did you grow up and what was your exposure to sustainable and eco-friendly practices/lifestyles?

ML: Thank you for having me! I was born in the northern rivers, Australia but shortly after moved to the coral coast of Fiji. We were raised simply, spending most of our days in nature. At the time, there was very minimal ‘waste management’ in place, so basically anything you didn’t dispose of yourself/correctly would end up on the beach in your front yard. For this reason amongst others, ‘eco friendly’ has never been an extra consideration, it’s just been a self responsibility.

TH: Tell us about Bluem and Murals for Change – what was the inspiration behind both?

ML: To create a better world. I first created Murals For Change when I was pregnant with a big soul with an even bigger message – ‘every voice matters’. We use a ‘colour by numbers’ approach to invite local community members of all backgrounds to paint huge activist theme murals, encouraging tangible impacts on their local community and raising awareness for important causes. Our mission is to show that you don’t have to be an expert to make a difference, you just need the courage to show up.

Bluem is an ethical skincare line inspired by my years as an international model being both horrified by the reality of animal cruelty in cosmetics and the lack of self love in young women. Through using only pure plant serums that are both gentle AND effective, we inspire people of all ages to treat themselves as nature intended and reveal their beauty within. Having multi purpose serums also means that as a busy mum my skincare can be quick & potent, ensuring that I can show myself love each day.

TH: What’s your vision for both initiatives?

ML: I dream of taking murals for change on tour, being able to visit rural towns all over Australia and work with communities delivering art therapy workshops for free and painting a better world. This is looking like a reality in 2022 so keep your eyes peeled!

I have two big dreams for Bluem. 1. To go completely zero-waste. We already use recycled glass bottles, have a completely zero-waste cleansing sponge that naturally biodegrades within 2-3 months, our soul soap is made from offcuts from mass production in the natural beauty industry that were destined for landfill (even though they are perfect!) and have a TerraCycle program in place… HOWEVER as we grow larger the dream of being able to refill bottles gets closer and closer.. My next dream is to continue to grow our relationships with the traditional custodians of this land, where we work with native plants, securing fair trade opportunities and land protection. The product I am most proud of in our range is the Kakadu Plum Vitamin C boost which is wild harvested right here in Australia.

TH: What are your hopes for the future in terms of sustainability and a movement towards a more eco-conscious society?

ML: I just hope we can all learn to live in synchronicity with the environment, rather than it being an afterthought or ‘box to tick’. Where something comes from and where it will go after we are done with it should be asked at the same time as us asking ourselves whether we truly need it. There is a big movement of decolonisation happening in Australia which excites me every day.

TH: We were so impressed by the funds you raised for those affected by the bushfires by way of your beautiful ‘grow together’ mural – what other charities or initiatives have you worked with or supported along the way?

ML: Thank you. I think what a lot of people don’t realise is that the majority of the funds raised for the bushfires went straight to the government and did not reach the people in need. So this activation was important for us to be able to generate some much needed funds for people in rural communities STILL living in tents.

TH: What’s your ‘why’? What drives you to live the life you do, and what motivates you to create change?

ML: Because that’s what community means. We work together, help one another and do what we can to create the world we want to live in. Of course my daughter is a huge inspiration and through the process of becoming a mother I realised that our society is devastatingly lacking in connection with community. And if I can do anything to protect and preserve that so it might be different when she grows older, I will do it with every breath I have.

TH: Can you share with us a few simple tips or small changes people can make, to be more environmentally friendly?

ML: Consume less. Buy local. Make things yourself. If it’s broken, fix it. Connect to the source as much as possible.

TH: What about for mums? How do you maintain that lifestyle with beautiful Blue in tow?

Presence is free and for some reason the hardest thing in our modern world to achieve. Your baby doesn’t need more ‘stuff’. They need more YOU. You need more you. Simplify yourself and watch the journey simplify itself.

TH: What is your advice to aspiring changemakers who are just starting out on their own journey?

ML: Start with yourself. I used to think the biggest way to make a difference was to scream it at the top of my lungs and convert everyone around me. But now I realise the purest, potent action comes from living your own truth and letting others see it bring you joy.

TH: Do you have any tips for other changemakers on staying motivated? Who or what do you look to for inspiration?

ML: Find like-minded community. It can feel incredibly lonely out there and at times like you are the only one who cares. A big reason that I wanted to create Murals for Change and really any of my online platforms is to be able to host a space for people to come together and feel heard. 

TH: How did you honour Plastic Free July, or last month’s World Environment Day?

ML: I’m actually not that into commercialising days or months. I think it’s more about it being Environment Day every day all over the world and taking a moment every day to say thanks to nature for all the abundance it provides. My ultimate way to do this is making an earth altar and my friend Prue at Earth Altering seriously inspires this for me.

TH: Anything else you’d like to share?

ML: True sustainability is true freedom. You can’t have one without the other. 

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Musings with Montana Lower: Making every day a celebration of people and planet

Redefining motherhood and sustainability, Montana Lower is an environmental engineer, a mum to beautiful daughter Blue, a conscious climate activist and a model. She’s the founder of ethical skincare brand, Bluem, and the passionate pioneer beyond the ARTivism movement, Murals For Change. Alongside her partner Tom Linwood, Montana manages all this while living between her charming bus-home and her latest adventure: a divine little cottage nestled on five acres of lush Tasmanian bushland.

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