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April sustainability hero: goth babe

April sustainability hero: goth babe

Apr 24, 2020

 


Meet Griff Washburn—better known as Goth Babe. He’s one of our favorite musicians (always bringing the mellow, good vibes), and as a true nature-lover, he’s also our April Sustainability Hero.


Between shows, he lives in a tiny house in the PNW with his dog Sadie, and when he’s not writing music, he’s outside surfing, climbing or camping. We caught up with Griff to learn about tiny house living, and to hear what he’s been doing to make the planet a better place. 

 

Can you take us on a quick journey through your life — where you’re from, how you got into music, and how you ended up living in a van (and now a tiny house)? 

I’m originally from Tennessee; I spent half my time on Lookout Mountain and the other half in Memphis. I got into music because I always felt left out of jam circles in high school. In the summer of 2017, I ended up moving out to Southern California to pursue music and to live rent free (aka in the back of my old Ford Explorer). I ended up doing that for two and a half years. Making music and being on the road was pretty great, but this past winter I retired from van life. With my tours getting bigger and longer, I felt that it was time to have a more comfortable space to go home to, so I decided to build myself a tiny house

 

 

What’s a typical day-in-the-life of Griff?

I really don’t have a “typical” day, which I like.


Yesterday my day went a little something like this: my partner and I woke up, went to the local Trash & Recycling Center (there’s no pickup for my tiny house), and then we went to get some supplies for the beehive that my partner has started. Afterward, we rode our bikes around a trail by my house for an hour or so. We ended up coming home a little too late, so we made last-minute soup, and finished the day watching Parks & Rec before hitting the hay.

 

Nature seems to play a big role in your life. Whenever you’re not playing a show, it seems like you’re outside—either climbing, snowboarding, surfing, biking, walking Sadie, or camping. Has it always been that way?

The outdoors were definitely a big part of my childhood. My dad is the director of a summer camp in Tennessee, which has every outdoor activity you could possibly think of. Growing up, I got to run around the camp all day and try the activitiesit was incredible. 

 

Now when I spend time outdoors, it brings me back to that feeling I had as a little kidjust excited and happy. Being outside is pretty grounding for me, so I try to spend as much time outdoors as I can. 

Have you always been passionate about protecting the environment?

I wish. It really wasn’t until I traveled out to the West Coast and started surfing. I would notice trash washing up on the shores, and I knew that I needed to start more actively looking after the Earth.

 

So what does sustainability mean to you? 

To me it means being more selfless for the sake of future generations. It’s important to take care of what has taken care of us, and leave it better than you found it. Sometimes that means slightly inconveniencing yourself. There is no world without the natural world. We need it. For me, that means donating to folks fighting for the climate crisis on the front line, being conscious with my energy consumption, growing my own food (well, trying to), composting, and creating less trash.

 

Wow, that’s an ambitious list! How exactly are you being conscious with energy consumption?

A big reason why I decided to move into a tiny house was for the planet. Over 60% of our electricity is powered by fossil fuels, so the light that’s on in your home or your phone charging right now is most likely powered by coal or natural gas that was burned moments ago. In my tiny house, I only have two light switches. We keep things off during the day, and we unplug anything that isn’t in use. 

 

In a tiny casa, you also pay attention to your water consumption. I try my best to keep my weekly water usage under 30 gallons a week. My composting toilet saves 1.5 gallons every use because there’s no “flush”, and you really only need to shower 2-3 times a week. I eat all natural foods, and only use products made with natural ingredients, including my hair products, toothpaste, etc. Since I’m not hooked to a sewer line, my waste water goes directly into my pasture, so it has to be clean! No chemicals or weird ingredients allowed.

 Any notable organizations that you like donating to?

I personally donate to NRDC, Animals Asia, and Honnold Foundation. Animals Asia is fighting the horrific animal cruelty problem in China, and Alex Honnold is putting solar powered lights in powerless homes around the globe.


 Let’s talk about growing your own food. What sparked that interest?

Growing your own food is one of the most accomplishing feelings. To plant and nurture something so that one day it can nurture you back is pretty neat. It can also save you money, and keep you from having to go to the grocery store.

 

What about composting?

Composting is my way to utilize the resources I already have to nourish my garden. It also helps me produce less landfill trash, so it’s a big win-win. Composting isn’t too hard either. You make a composter, put some dirt in the base, start putting food scraps inside, add more dirt on top...easy peasy! We also have chickens here on the farm, so our compost sometimes goes to those little guys...who, in return, will gift us eggs the next morning. 

 

What are some habits that you're working toward to reduce your waste?

I avoid all types of plastic as best I can. It’s downright impossible to be plastic-free and consume anything in this country, but cutting back feels really good, and it’s not that hard.

 

I bring my own grocery bags to stores, use a reusable water bottle, and try to shop at co-op style grocers only. Best part, it keeps me from eating junk food too, since that always comes in a single-use plastic.

 

To end things off, if you could grant the world one magic wish, what would it be?

I wish that every person walking on the planet would have more empathyfor each other and for the planet. Have more love, live more intentionality, and do more good.

 

Griff's wearing the Bison Ultralight Jacket, SoftHemp™ Socks, and Down In The Valley Tee.