Hear from Ariel Green, founder of Sustainable Brown Girl!
Who are you and how did you become involved in the environment movement?
Hi! I'm Ariel Green, host of the Sustainable Brown Girl podcast and community. I created this platform to highlight women of color who are making positive changes for the planet. From sustainable packaging engineers to climate activists to gardeners to sustainable business owners, our weekly podcast episodes feature women from all walks of life who are promoting sustainability in their own unique way.
When I started my low waste journey in 2018, I noticed that many of the women at the forefront of the community were white, but I knew I wasn't the only person of color interested in saving the planet. So after just a little bit of digging, I found so many black, brown and indigenous women who were making waves in the sustainability industry. From there, the Sustainable Brown Girl platform was created. It was a way to share what I was learning about the climate crisis and also share the stories of women of color within the environmental movement.
What does a "sustainable world" look like to you?
My vision of a sustainable world looks like everyone making better choices for the health of the planet and their bodies. It's not about being perfectly zero waste or doing all of the sustainable things at once, but rather being conscious about your impact and making changes that will make a difference - big or small.
What's been your proudest moment or achievement with Sustainable Brown Girl?
Honestly, my biggest achievement wasn't even something I did. Ever since our podcast coordinator, Ariell (yes, we have similar names) came on board a few months ago, she's booked so many amazing guests that I would have been too scared to reach out to. She secured an interview with Aja Barber, an author, fashion stylist and consultant - this has definitely been our most well-known guest thus far.
Other than that, some of my proudest moments have been when members of the Sustainable Brown Girl community tell me that the podcast or tips I've shared have inspired them to make eco-friendly changes in their lives. It's also great to hear that the show helps our listeners feel represented within the environmental space.
What's something that deeply frustrates you about the environment movement or current system?
The thing that frustrates me the most within the environmental movement is that government officials aren't doing as much as they can to set policies in place to protect the planet. Very few politicians talk about holding corporations accountable for their anti-environmental practices or enacting laws that will set regulations against pollution and human rights violations.
Voting is so important, but we also need more progressives to infiltrate the system. More women of color need to run for office!
Do you experience eco-grief, climate anxiety or other negative emotional experiences related to your activism? If so, how do you manage those emotions?
I have definitely experienced climate anxiety while being on my sustainable journey. It's difficult to see climate disasters happening all around the world and not seeing much change coming from those in charge. It's also hard knowing that I can't make all of the changes that I want to make within my own life, due to time-restraints (who has time to make yogurt & tofu to avoid plastic waste?), financial limitations, and lacking access to more sustainable options locally.
What's worked best for me with managing eco anxiety is focusing on the positive impact that I am able to make.
Talking to friends and family about being more eco-friendly, volunteering at earth-friendly events, and learning to garden has helped ease my anxiety. Plus taking a social media break every now and then can also be helpful.
If you're interested in hearing more about Ariel's story and Sustainable Brown Girl, you can follow her Instagram and Sustainable Brown Girl's Instagram. Check out our feed next week for another #EarthAlly interview!