Five Minute Philosopher is a weekly series in which Stylist gets profound with people we love. Livia Firth is the founder of Eco-Age, a sustainability consultancy whose new Brandmark initiative supports fashion companies to develop their commitment to ethical, social and environmental practices. But what’s her ethical take on our existential questions?
What is the meaning of life?
To put meaning into your life and make sure you try to make a difference every day.
What is the difference between right and wrong?
That wrong is just bad news for somebody or something.
Where is your happy place?
Being in nature – whether that is at home in Umbria, Italy, and walking in the countryside or lying on the beach anywhere in the world or looking at the mountain tops full of snow and feeling that energy inside you.
Nature or nurture?
I tend to believe more in nurture but surely nature makes a big difference. I only have to look at my two boys to realise that.
Is it more important to be liked or respected?
Respected. I really couldn’t care less if someone doesn’t like me. Or at least this is true of people I don’t know – not to be liked by your loved ones would be hurtful.
If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be?
‘She never shut up.’ Can we write it on my tombstone?
Who or what is your greatest love?
How can you have just one greatest love? I have so many great loves in my life and I’m grateful for all of them. My family in its entirety, for example.
When did you last lie?
I tend to bullsh*t more than lie.
Does the supernatural exist?
Are you fatalistic?
I tend to think everything always happens for a reason. I’m not sure if that is fatalism or just the law of the universe? If you are kind, you attract kindness, if you build bridges, people will walk on them and help you build more, and so on. It’s the law of universal attraction.
What is your greatest fear?
I am not sure how to answer that. I am quite fearless, although if I think of a slow, painful death from a serious illness then that scares me a lot.
Animals or babies?
My own animals, and other people’s babies which I can return. I already had mine and that’s enough. We have one cat in London, four dogs in Umbria and we recently adopted a pig.
What talent do you yearn for?
Street dancing. It’s my secret aspiration. I’ve watched all the movies about dancing you can imagine. Dancing is my favourite pastime in the world.
Do you like to be complimented?
Of course! Who doesn’t?
Do you have a high pain threshold?
I think so but I have been very lucky not to have had any major accidents so far.
What book do you recommend most to others?
On Life After Death by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. It was recommended to me by my friend Brooke years ago and it changed my life and perception on death.
Which lesson has been the hardest to learn?
What food sums up happiness?
Pasta, of course.
What have you never understood?
So many things – like how can you be racist, or consider people from other countries who travel to escape wars, rape, poverty and so on, different from you? I don’t understand how people can buy fashion without thinking. We created the #30Wears campaign so someone can ask, ‘Will I wear it a minimum of 30 times?’. If the answer is no, don’t buy it.
What is the one thing you want to know before you die?
Will my children be alright when I am gone? You know, Italian mamas are the worst. I’m not sure how they can survive without me.
Are you scared of dying or what happens when you die?
Not at all – see my favourite book.
Quinoa or Quavers?
Neither. Both are so boring.