Environmental activist Isaias Hernandez believes everyone should have access to environmental education. That’s why Isaias started Queer Brown Vegan, an organization dedicated to sharing educational resources on everything from climate science and climate change to the types of plants that can be foraged in local communities!
Isaias first became interested in environmental science as a child growing up in Los Angeles, California. “One of the things I noticed growing up in my environment was the lack of accessible resources, such as the lack of access to clean air, water, and soil,” Isaias tells In The Know. “And there was a really long period of time where my parents did not allow me to go outside due to the smog in the area, and I think that really influenced my curiosity to start asking questions.”
After graduating from high school, Isaias attended UC Berkeley, where he studied environmental science and launched Queer Brown Vegan. “I realized that education is highly inaccessible,” he recalls. “I wanted to create an online account that distilled all of these topics through an educational graphic lens, and through that, Queer Brown Vegan became an educational platform that people can use, specifically when it comes to addressing environmental injustice in their community.”
Queer Brown Vegan quickly began to build a following. “As soon as Queer Brown Vegan launched in 2019, it started to explode,” Isaias recalls. “I would say that the reason why so many people resonate with the content is that it’s very welcoming. I try to take it a step back and say, ‘For those who just don’t know anything about environmentalism or climate change, you can come and talk to me and I’m willing to hold that space for you.’”
While Isaias covers a wide range of issues, he is particularly passionate about food justice. “The most important thing I’d love to share is food justice and food sovereignty, and to recognize that the existing systems that we live in today were not designed to support communities of color,” he explains. “As someone who grew up going to food pantries and churches to get food, and living off food stamps, I try to really push this narrative of localizing your mind and localizing your ethics by getting people involved with foraging.”
Isaias plans to continue educating people about environmental science through Queer Brown Vegan, but also hopes to collaborate with other activists and organizations to bring environmental education to schools around the country. “I want to continue making lesson plans for universities and institutions to adopt these types of environmental curriculums in their respective institutions, and also team up with environmental justice organizations that are pushing for equitable environmental education in K through 12,” he explains.
When it comes to climate activism, Isaias believes that one of the most important things is to stay hopeful. “People burn out in this movement because of the lack of resources or the lack of community. I think that a lot of people get really easily swayed with climate doom, or thinking that the end of the world is coming soon, but I truly disagree with that,” he says. “I think there is so much hope and wisdom that we have yet to learn.”
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