Elle Deco Editor's Letter

In DECO Editor Bielle Bellingham’s latest letter to you in the Green Issue,  she explains the importance of truly going ‘green’ without lapsing into the media hype of ‘greenwashing’.

I will get straight to the point. We are dangerously close to allowing this concept of ‘sustainability’, or ‘eco-consciousness’ and ‘green thinking’ to become an overplayed and vacuous fad that we entertain if and when it suits us.

As Macio Miszewski says in this issue’s ‘Off the Grid’ story,

We are in serious trouble on this planet; we stand at the threshold of a paradigm shift – greater even than the Industrial Revolution.

The writing is on the wall, and yet the majority of us still only know just enough about it not to sound ignorant. We do the bare minimum. We recycle and take slightly shorter showers and what not… but admittedly we have not even begun to really interrogate what this means. I am generalising, yes, and speaking from a personal perspective because I too am guilty of only scratching the surface of what sustainable design, decor, architecture and building really means. My husband, on the other hand, has made it his life’s mission; developing renewable energy resources all over South Africa. This just goes to show how easy it is to slip under the radar.

We need to hold each other accountable; friends don’t let friends design (or live) irresponsibly.

‘Sustainable’ is a choice we have to make every single day. It is a maintenance plan where we constantly make little and big decisions that allow us to exist in productive harmony with nature. Good planets are hard to find these days. We have to properly acknowledge the impact that the built environment has on our access to finite resources, and design conscientiously.

Rant over. The brilliant news is that quality is always sustainable, and that ‘green’ design doesn’t always have to look like Weet-Bix. While working on this issue, we have really enjoyed getting to know the people, materials, concepts and practices that make ‘living the dream’ possible and discovering the somewhat unexpected glamour of it all.

I, together with my extraordinary ELLE Decoration team, am excited to share our findings and look forward to hearing back from you. It’s no longer about who is going green, but who is doing it best.


Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @bielleross

ELLE Decoration Green Issue coverThe Green Issue edition of ELLE Decoration South Africa is on the shelf of your nearest magazine retailer now. Packed with sustainably stylish interiors, it’s full of all your favourite features and decor tips plus the green spaces of Patrizia Moroso and Pietro Russo. Pick up your copy today – across South Africa wherever magazines are sold – and tell us what you think on Twitter @ELLE_Deco, sharing your #GreenIssue #DECOselfie.