The Butterfly Effect of Refillosophy: Let’s Spread our Plant-Based Wings

The Butterfly Effect of Refillosophy: Let’s Spread our Plant-Based Wings

Synchronicity guides us every day, connecting each event and being of life in a complex web that often feels more wondrous than not. It's within this web that we recognize our ability to affect real change through the butterfly effect.

Here we share crazy stories of synchronicity, zero waste wonders, and a call to raise us all to the next, plant-powered, planet-first level.

Throughout this journey we've experienced many profound moments of synchronicity.

Once, in Inverness, we casually met someone while passing down a street who showed great curiosity about our journey. We chatted with her for a few heartfelt minutes. She and her friends wished us well and off we went.

Then, a couple of days later while cycling north, we saw something unusual up ahead on the quaint countryside road.

A car was pulled over and a group of people stood around the small vehicle. They all gazed down at the flat tire.

As we approached we couldn't believe our eyes.

From around the car came a familiar face, the very same someone we'd chatted with in Inverness! We were many miles away and in a rural setting, but there she stood with a flat tire. Luckily help was already at hand.

We realize how small the world really is.

This was made apparent in another part of Scotland, further south on the way to Aberdeen. We were camped in a forest used for lumber and eager to reach the city for an herbal workshop. As we cycled through the forest around 7 AM, we met a friendly dog who came ambling up to us, far from her human companion.

Her companion rounded the bend and we quickly fell into amiable conversation about all things cycle touring and forest. She told us the story of the forest and how many trees fell during recent wind storms. It's clear to us that these trees are vulnerable as commodities used by the timber industry. They aren't part of a deeply rooted and diverse forest with their purpose to grow and fall quickly.

This sparked a dialogue about resource use and living mindfully with the natural world.

We mentioned zero waste shops and that's when our new friend told us about the Butterfly Effect in a nearby town. She spoke highly of the zero waste shop and encouraged us to visit, which we promptly did.

Alas, the shop was still closed that early in the morning, so we left a card of gratitude and carried on.

Fast forward to Aberdeen.

Later that day we stood in front of Refillosophy, another zero waste shop calling to us. Our hearts were full with the love from a recent herbalism workshop and our bellies full with delicious food from the vegan Bonobo cafe. Now we were eager to gather supplies from a shop intent on helping the planet.

We entered and the shop owner kindly greeted us. As I began to explain what we were up to, she quickly asked,

"Are you the two cycling around the world?"

We nodded, puzzled, and affirmed with a curious smile. She carried on,

"I know the owner of the Butterfly Effect and she shared about your note left at the door this morning, it really made her day!"

We couldn't believe our ears. The world is small, indeed.

And this illustrates the entire meaning of the butterfly effect:

We all have the ability to enact small changes to have a big impact on someone's life and the entire planet.

What we do matters. The butterfly may seem fragile and delicate on her own, but the wings are creating movement, and when joined by others, the single being grows into a powerful force.

We humans can create a butterfly effect of positive change.

This philsophy is shared by all zero waste shops, and it was illuminated clearly in the Refillosophy shop. Mantras and artwork line the walls, sharing the work of artisans and selling products from local producers.

Stepping into Refillosophy felt like entering into another time, not the past or future, but the present world of potential acted upon. Here we witnessed a passion brought to life and felt the love in every word, gesture and detail flowing throughout the shop.

Contrast this to mainstream supermarkets, which undoubtedly are staffed by friendly people, but lose a sense of nourishment under cold lights, long aisles, plastic overload and extravagant consumerism.

Instead we advocate for the local grocer, produce grown nearby and markets where you feel truly cared for. The warmth you feel in a shop like this goes deep and reciprocates into other areas of our lives.

The elephant in the room.

Taking up a lot of space in these cozy yet powerful shops stands a peaceful elephant. He may be invisible to most, but we see him clearly. He and his companions are asking you to see as well, to see the suffering of his fellow beings on this planet.

It's clear that zero waste shops care about making a difference, but there's one major area where many can evolve.

We encourage all shops to become vegan to fully embrace their initiative as world-changers. The research is clear and animal suffering obvious. Dairy and other animal derived products are a leading cause of environmental degradation and disease. We must step into this truth and make a bold stance to stand for the health and well-being of all. While many zero waste shops already offer vegan products and promote plant-based philosophies, their inclusion of non-vegan goods is far more detrimental and we can't turn a blind eye to it.

Begin learning more with these resources:

Join the growing vegan movement.

While some zero waste shops are already fully vegan, others still offer a small selection of dairy or animal products. We've been told that they provide what the consumer wants, but shop owners have to realize their power. They are leaders in their communities, already making a stance by promoting zero waste and community-first actions. It's time to take the next step, we are here for you.

So let's go all the way. Let's go vegan. For the animals. For the people. For the planet.

These are our wings and words making movement, let's rise together.

Written by Karla Sanders @karlasandersart | Photos by Steven Tiller @steventiller