For creating a safe and accessible space on the internet for environmental education
When you talk about accessible environmental education, Isaias Henandez, the mind behind QueerBrownVegan, is no doubt going to be your go-to Instagram account. Between colourful graphics, illustrations, videos, and simple but effective textual explanations, Isaias makes environmental education accessible and exciting. He chooses this form of activism because he wants to introduce people to environmental issues and create a healthy atmosphere for discussion and learning.
All of this stems from his background and the events that followed it. Isaias grew up in a highly polluted Los Angeles neighbourhood, which pushed him to pursue environmental science in college, to learn about how to support his community who was suffering from environmental injustices. At UC Berkeley, he collaborated with student groups to raise awareness of the diversity of voices in the environmental movement. After graduating, he co-founded Alluvia Magazine, an environmental magazine that highlights BIPOC environmentalists through climate justice storytelling.
These events led him to create Queer Brown Vegan, an educational resource and safe space that focuses on intersectionality and justice while describing environmental and sustainability terminologies in a straightforward manner. His account, with over 90,000 followers, is mostly concerned with unpacking terminologies, posing questions or defining concepts, involving anything and everything within and about sustainability: from food security to sustainable development, from toxic masculinity to diversity and inclusion in the movement, ensuring that you’re bound to learn something new from him.
But perhaps more importantly, Isaias’s activism is now also focused, like what he did during his time at university and after, on increasing the visibility of those who have not been as visible in the community. “For centuries,” he shared, “many queer/trans BIPOC folks have been at the forefront of environmental movements and are often erased from environmental narratives. The environmentalism I was taught at a young age centred on people who did not look like me or shared the same identity. I never thought I was normal growing up and that there was something “wrong” with me. But in reality, the capitalistic system we live in today tells our Queer selves that we are an issue and that we are to be corrected by society when in fact, Queer ecological leaders have always existed in this movement.”
“I want to continue to fight for justice and liberation while recognising my role in the environmental movement. My lived experiences, cultural-based experience and identity mean so much in the work I do.”
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