#MySustainabilityStory: Ellie Ashton-Melia

Find out how members of the isla team 'live' sustainability away from their 9 to 5.

Here at isla we think it’s important to practice what we preach, so in this series we take a deeper dive into what sustainability really looks like on the ground for members of the isla team. This week we hear from our Community Lead, Ellie Ashton-Melia.


Sustainability loves

Food: Every dish from Rukmini Iyer, The Green Roasting Tin: Vegan and Vegetarian One Dish Dinners. If I had to choose one, Escalivada, a classic Catalan dish of roasted aubergines, tomatoes and peppers. 

Drink: Huel (technically it’s a meal replacement but I love food too much for that) salted caramel or berry flavour are my go-to. The best plant-based protein out there in my opinion.

Fashion: Depop. Preloved fashion that is loved even more by me. 

Product/Service: ModiBodi period knickers, it’s an upfront investment but I can’t remember the last time I bought menstrual products or threw them in the bin win, win! 

Location: My friend Laura’s garden. It’s a little piece of heaven in SE15 where nature is thriving and the bird song drowns out the sound of London. 

Resource: The Zero podcast by Bloomberg Green. It explores climate policy, tech and innovation that could help us reach net zero.   

Quote:“Be a kind human.” It’s my mantra.

How do you ‘do’ sustainability in your own life?

Cycle. It’s all about pedal power it’s good for the body and mind, zero emissions and zero £. Any reason to avoid the public transport crush at rush hour can only be a good thing. 

Are they any local sustainability initiatives that you’re excited about/have engaged with? 

I’m about to join a community-operated grocery store in Lisbon. Their ethos is grow horizontally in an organic and democratic fashion. We all volunteer our time plus a small annual donation which keeps food cost affordable whilst supporting local producers in Portugal. 

How do you connect to the natural environment?

Whether that’s walking down the Liverpool Leeds canal back home, or heading to a beach near Lisbon when I’m by water I instantly feel grounded. 

What one event that you attended really impressed you in terms of sustainability credentials and why?

The Blue Paradox immersive experience on the ocean plastic crisis. I picked this not for its sustainability credentials but the awareness it created amongst the general public about the sheer scale of the plastic problem that impacts marine life, ecosystems and food chains.

What was your biggest aha moment when it came to climate change/the environment? 

Intrigued to find out about the XR movement unfolding back in 2018, I headed to Parliament Square, London to see the first mobilisation of climate action against the government. A gentleman beckoned me over to his stand to share the harmful impacts of fracking on the environment i.e. water use, air and water pollution, earthquakes, biodiversity loss. Until this interaction I had limited knowledge of energy and the UK government’s plans for the expansion of fracking, and other fossil fuel extraction sites across the country. This was a turning point for me because although I’d started to make conscious decisions in my personal life, this “individualism” narrative drilled into the public is a deflection from a far greater systemic problem. 

Tell us something unusual about your sustainability journey

During lockdown I was on furlough, so thinking I would have to pivot my career as an Event Producer I started to take online courses through Coursera and Futera to broaden my knowledge of climate change and sustainability. This led me to volunteer for a climate litigation charity called PlanB which took legal action against the government for the expansion of Heathrow Airport on grounds that they had failed to assess the plans against the Paris temperature limit of 1.5˚C.

What’s on your sustainability to-do list?

I have recently passed my driving test so when I finally take the plunge to switch from two wheels to four I would like to purchase an EV. Fortunately, at isla we’re part of the EV scheme so that may be sooner than I think. 

Read more:

                                                                                             My Sustainability Story: Ieva Tarutytė

My Sustainability Story: Alex Camacho

My Sustainability Story: Malcolm Leach

My Sustainability Story: Susanna Zema

My Sustainability Story: Alex Schlacher

My Sustainability Story: Emily Shephard

My Sustainability Story: Megan Harris

My Sustainability Story: Kat Bednarczyk

My Sustainability Story: Rebecca Lardeur   


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