Hey, Green Junkie!
Representation matters, period. And it’s so important for me to have conversations that bring this important subject to the forefront of our minds.
Sustainability needs to be a 360 approach that includes ALL voices, from all backgrounds and walks of life. Because we can’t care for our planet if we don’t care for ALL the humans inhabiting it.
In this episode, I am speaking to Ariel Green (aka the sustainable brown girl) about representation and inclusivity in the sustainability movement.
You won’t want to miss this episode where we discuss,
- The importance of giving indigenous and people of color voices in our communities
- Why representation is all of our responsibility
- How to be more inclusive in your community
- Who you should be following on the ‘gram to learn more about sustainability practices
You’ll discover that and so much more in this episode.
If you love this podcast be sure to leave a review and share a screenshot of this episode to your IG stories. Tag @thisisstephaniemoram so I can shout you out and publicly say thanks.
Thanks for listening and being here.
Your green bestie,
Hang With Ariel
Podcast (Youtube) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMTYdJ87UUbMxgkx_WwNzag
Naturally Mermaid https://www.instagram.com/naturally_mermaid/
Naturally Mermaid (Youtube) https://www.youtube.com/c/NaturallyMermaid
Previous Episodes Mentioned:
Snag 1 on 1 Sustainability Consulting with Stephanie
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Produced by: Alecia Harris
Music By: Liz Fohle
TRANSCRIPT FOR EPISODE 47
Stephanie Moram 0:08
Hi, Green Junkie. I'm your host Stephanie Moram and today I have the pleasure of speaking with Ariel Green, the founder of Sustainable Brown Girl podcast and Naturally Mermaid. Ariel is the host of the Sustainable Brown Girl, podcast and community, a platform created to highlight Black, Brown and indigenous women within the sustainable movement. Through sharing the stories of these women, Ariel aims to inspire other women of color to make better choices for the health of their bodies and the planet. Ariel also shares more of her own personal sustainability journey on her YouTube, and Instagram called Naturally Mermaid. If you love hearing new ways you can reduce your impact on the environment. Please subscribe to the Green Junkie Podcast on whatever platform you get your podcasts, that way, you will never miss another green living episode.
Stephanie Moram 1:02
Hi, Ariel, thank you so much for being here today. I really appreciate it.
Ariel Green 1:07
Yes. Hi, Stephanie. I'm so excited to chat with you today. Thanks for having me on.
Stephanie Moram 1:12
Of course. So I would love for you to just kind of tell us a little bit about yourself and maybe how you grew up? Did you grow up in a sustainable family? Or was it something that you kind of learned as you became an adult?
Ariel Green 1:29
Yeah, well, um, you know, I feel like sustainability, like the term is such like a, you know, a new hit term. So I don't, you know, wasn't intentionally brought up like, with caring for the planet, like, first, however, I will say that growing up, my mom, like, took me and my sister to parks all the time. You know, so I definitely grew up in an atmosphere, where I appreciated nature and was out in nature, often, and one of my earliest memories, like, goes back to when I was driving in the car with my grandfather. And I had just gotten done, like eating an apple or something. And I think we were driving on the freeway, and like, I let the window down, and like, toss my apple outside, you know, because I'm like, oh, you know, like, it's, it's an apple, you know, like, the birds can eat it or something, but my grandfather got so upset, he's like, “You don't litter,” you know. And so, like that, that really, kind of had an impact as well, you know, as far as you know, knowing to, not to litter and to take care of the planet. So yeah, between like, going, you know, out in nature with my mom, and you know, my grandfather, and then also to, I think a important part of sustainability, like now is like thrifting, and like secondhand shopping and stuff. So, we didn't have a lot of money growing up, you know, my mom's a single parent and all that. So we would like shop at thrift stores, like my aunt's would go to yard sales. And so, you know, just like using everything, reusing things, and caring about the outdoors was part of my upbringing. So, you know, it kind of makes sense now for me to, you know, care about the environment and stuff. You know, judging from my upbringing, but, you know, like, growing up, it wasn't necessarily I'm being sustainable.
Stephanie Moram 3:36
And I think growing up, there was a lot of families that, you know, went into nature, thrift shops, and all those things, but there wasn't a name for it, right? Like, oh, you're living green or you're sustainable, right? It was just right sometimes how families survived, right? They, they got hand me downs, or secondhand clothing and, but people didn't realize it was like living green. So was there like a shift like so went through your childhood, you know, your, you know, your thrift shop and all that kind of stuff? Was there like a shift in adulthood where it was like, Okay, I need to like, step up and start being more conscious of the decisions that I'm making.
Ariel Green 4:11
Yeah, well, I would say like after high school, or maybe around high school, in college, when you care more about your appearance. And this is around the time, you know, like fast fashion shops were popping up like Forever 21 and Rue 21. So like, getting fashionable clothes was a lot more affordable than him. So I kind of went through a phase where I wasn't shopping a lot, but I was not shopping secondhand anymore. And I you know, was shopping fast fashion and not putting, you know the planet first but of course that was before I knew how awful fast fashion was. But so I would say that I had that period. He had like, up until like, shortly after college. So like around, well, I graduated from college like a long time ago. But we'll just say like, four, four ish years ago, when I started learning more about climate change. And like, you know, sustainability and zero waste was becoming more of, you know, terms that were used, I started thinking more about my impact. And then also to one thing that really kicked started my journey was caring about, like, what types of ingredients were in my products. So it wasn't necessarily coming from a planet first mindset. But, you know, I was concerned about parabens, and, you know, all these chemicals and stuff that are harmful for our bodies, and then also harmful for the planet. So when I, like learned about those different ingredients and stuff, I started making switches to products that had better ingredients. And then with that, I kind of felt like I went down a rabbit hole, to looking more at the impact those that those ingredients also have on the planet. And that's what kind of led me into my, you know, sustainability, environmental mindset.
Stephanie Moram 6:21
I love that. I started very similar to you, it was the ingredients, it was food and ingredients that really got me started. I was pregnant with my daughter. So I was like, I don't want to put this stuff on my body. It just doesn't seem safe. And like you said, it's a rabbit hole, right? You start no matter how you enter your journey. It's like it all leads to almost the same. Somehow.
Ariel Green 6:43
Yeah, exactly. Though, like, because, yeah, cuz those things are, you know, like, they we put them on our bodies, like, you know, talking, talking about parabens, for example. And you know, like in your body wash and stuff. And as you're washing in the shower that goes into your water stream, and you know, that can harm the planet. So yeah, it's definitely correlated.
Stephanie Moram 7:09
100%. So you have a podcast called Sustainable Brown Girl. And you have also another you have naturally mermaid, but I would love to know, what kind of made you say, I need to start this pack podcast, I need to start this platform. And also, what is it exactly if you were to like, explain it?
Ariel Green 7:29
Yeah. Okay, so first, I'll start with Naturally Mermaid, because that kind of came first. Like, I always, I mean, I started a YouTube channel, I don't know, several years ago, but I didn't really have a niche, you know. So it's kind of like, you know, just kind of see what, what sticks. And so once I started my sustainability journey, I kind of started making videos in regards to that. And so while I was on YouTube, like looking for other content creators, I didn't see many people of color, who were, you know, talking about the same things. And I'm like, There's no way I'm the only person who cares about the planet who's, you know, black or brown. So, that's what kind of led me into going on down the rabbit hole, like on Instagram, and I started just looking for different people, women of color, who were interested in environmentalism, and you know, their impact on the planet. And so, I was able to find so many people, you know, doing different things. It's not just like, This person is zero waste, or whatever. It's like, everyone kind of has their own specialty, or, you know, like their own areas of interest. And that's where sustainable Brown Girl was started, like, I started an Instagram account. First, it was kind of like a feature account, where I would, you know, like, feature different black and brown women who were like doing sustainability things. And from there, that was like, August, my team, August 2019. And then you know, the pandemic happen? And I'm like, well, everyone's like, you know, at home, so maybe I should start this podcast, because I'm kind of shy, you know, and like, I don't want to bother people. But I'm like, Well, if everyone's at home, and they're already like doing zoom and stuff, like, let's just start this podcast. So I wanted to have a way to help these women to tell their stories, you know, because like on Instagram, you know, there's a certain word, word count and all that you can only say so much, but in a podcast, like you can really share these stories and amplify and, you know, get more people to be like, Hey, that sounds interesting to me. I can do that, or I'd never thought about that before. So yeah, that's how the Sustainable Brown Girl podcast I started.
Stephanie Moram 10:01
Loving how you accidentally started your podcast like, people are at home. You have such a great podcast, because I love how you feature all these women that do really cool things, like really cool things, you know, and how they started their businesses and how they talk about sustainability. Like, I just think it's, it's wonderful. I don't remember how I found you. I think I found you on Instagram first. And I probably went down a rabbit hole following people on Instagram, which led me to you and I'm so grateful I did because you bring so much goodness to the table and really great conversations around women of color. And indigenous people, like Indigenous women that, you know, some stuff I might not have consciously thought about, you know what I mean? So, it's, I appreciate your platform so much, where you have these, like, really important conversations. So yeah, you started your podcast, and you wanted to amplify amplify of weight, like women of color, and indigenous people. So what, what kind of stories do you do have people sharing on your podcast, you know, if people wanted to, like, hop in and listen, like, what, what kind of women I know, you have, you know, have women of color, and it's just but what stories are they telling? Like, what are some of your favorite stories that that you've heard women?
Ariel Green 11:30
Um, well, I think it's more like, the way that I see it is like, kind of coming at sustainability from like, a 360 view. So it's not just, I mean, it's just like a variety of topics. So we'll talk to women who have like sustainable businesses. Like, there's this one lady, I saw you commented on the YouTube channel, video recently. So I'll use this example. One woman buys T shirts from, from like, thrift stores and stuff, and she puts her own designs on them, and resells them. So it's like, you know, she's, she has a t shirt business, but she's making it sustainable. You know, like, she's using pre loved items and a new way. And then we'll talk to like, we had a environmental justice lawyer on and, you know, she was talking about what it means to be an environmental justice and like, different laws and stuff that can be changed. And I talked to a an indigenous woman who does like food sovereignty, so she has like, different gardens, and she teaches people how to garden. And, you know, just like, it's trying to impact how people view the land, and you know, trying to bring them back to being to be self sufficient, and then also just supplying food to people who need it in her community. So yeah, I mean, there's just a huge variety of topics, like you never know what you're gonna get.
Stephanie Moram 13:06
And so, we've talked about, like, we, you know, when we chatted, so what can like someone like me, or other people do to assure because we talked about representation, right? And that's one reason you started your podcast. And so what can we do to show that there's more representation in the sustainable the, like industry, like what, you know, what do you think needs to be done to have more diversity?
Ariel Green 13:33
I think, first is to acknowledge that people of color, especially indigenous people, have been caring for the land loan long before, you know, colonizers and you know, people who have a large say, and what happens with our planet, you know, so So indigenous people, and people of color typically have the roots within, you know, caring for the land, and have the experience with farming, you know, former slaves, built this, you know, built America and ensure indigenous people, I don't know so much about Canada, but I know you guys have a huge indigenous community up there. And, you know, like, they know, they know the best practices for land, and how to get the land back to where it should be in order to, you know, mitigate climate disasters. So, first, acknowledging that is hugely important. Secondly, is allowing space for people to share their stories and, you know, being able to amplify their voices in whatever capacity that you can. And then thirdly, I would say You know, just supporting, you know, people of color and indigenous people with whatever their message is. Because, you know, I think that yeah, I think those are good ways to start.
Stephanie Moram 15:16
And do you feel, you know, I'm gonna give you an example. So I was looking up sunscreen, and I wanted to do like a Tiktok on sunscreen. And I had this person comment on it, the person was not relevant who the person is. So it got me thinking because they said something along the lines of black people can't wear zinc. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, I never thought like, can they not wear it? They don't want to wear it, like have I been like, telling people to wear zinc? And that's not for their skin type. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, so I went to two people that I know, that are women of color. And I said, What do you use for sunscreen? I want to have this conversation with you. Because I want to be inclusive when I'm speaking about these things. Right. So it like opened up my eyes to wow, there is like a need, right there. You know, and it was a conversation about not necessarily that women of color, don't have access to sunscreen, it was more non toxic sunscreen, was a conversation. And so I would love you to touch on that for a minute. I know it's like it. I think it's an important topic, because it really opened up my eyes. And I was like, okay, so how is a woman of color? Like, what sunscreen is she using? So for you? Do you see? Like, is it stuff like this, that not necessarily gets your blood boiling, but just that there's not necess? Not that there's not space, but it's not conversations that are happening? Does that make sense?
Ariel Green 16:48
Yeah, that doesn't make sense. And, yeah, I would say a lot of things sometimes have been tailored to non people of color, you know. So that's definitely an issue. You know, so when we talk about representation, making sure that, that every, you know, everyone is represented, but I will also say that within the past, you know, five to 10 years, there have been a lot more. There has been more inclusivity you know, there's people are definitely trying, and most places are, you know, more considerate of being inclusive, but you know, we're definitely not completely there yet. So, yeah, I think that just like, it's hard to think about everything from all aspects. You know, I know, I definitely don't. And but I think that when you're when you're doing something, and you know, if you can think about how, you know, maybe it would different differ for people of color, maybe their experience would be different, and trying to acknowledge and incorporate that. You know, that that would be good. I don't know if I answered your question.
Stephanie Moram 18:08
No, I agree. And it's like makeup like sometimes you see makeup and it's only white people makeup.
Ariel Green 18:16
Yeah, and I think the thing with sunscreen is that I don't maybe it's the zinc that does it. But usually there's like a white cast, you know, like it has a white. Leftover this Yeah, on your skin. It's just not cute. Yeah. But they're there. I have seen more sunscreen for women of color, like this one called Black Girls swim screen that I have in use. I don't know if it's reef safe, though.
Stephanie Moram 18:46
I think I looked it up. And I think it might be, but that would have to be researched on google, but yeah. So I did look that one up, because that one was one that people recommended to me as a really good sunscreen. And, you know, I bought this sunscreen from this company. And it was tinted. And my husband who is also like white, like me, like pretty white and he has hair. He hates zinc, because the zinc is all in his hair on his chest. And he's like, I hate this stuff. Like I hate it. And so I bought the tinted one. And he's like, this is brilliant. Why hasn't this been around for a really long time? He's like, we've been like covering ourselves in zinc, when we could have made a tinted one.
Ariel Green 19:28
Right, right. Exactly.
Stephanie Moram 19:32
And it's, I love this sunscreen, it's tinted and it has zinc in it, but it's it's more like a cream and it's organic. And when I put it on my face, I have a glow to my face, which is great. So it's stuff like that like companies like you know they're coming out with the tinted and it's like that, you know, I can wear it and it's not white so it would probably fit on your like you would put Probably be nice on your skin as well. Right? And it's like it's these companies kind of thinking outside of themselves. And I think that's sometimes the missing piece. And I'm just as guilty. Like I said, I didn't even think about that. It's thinking like, Okay, I'm creating makeup or I'm creating a personal care. Am I being inclusive with that? Or am I just thinking of me? And I think that's such an important conversation. You know, I, like I said, I've seen makeup on like, I don't know if everyone can wear that makeup.
Ariel Green 20:32
Stephanie Moram 20:33
And like, let's be honest, zinc is like, not a good look on anybody to be honest. Like, no, my little boys nine, and I buy a zinc based one. And I mean, he's like, when I see pasty white, like, he's got bleached blonde hair, super blue, like white, white, white. And like, if he goes out in the sun, he looks like a tomato. And I put it on him. And I'm like, it's really, really white. And like, you're wearing it anyway, you're jumping in the pool. But I can see how zinc is great for sunscreen, but there has to be like, a better way, you know, like making it tinted? You know? Yeah. So it, it you know, blends into different skin types a lot easier. So I know this wasn't exactly supposed to be the tough because the podcast, but I just I think it's important that these conversations happen. And yeah. And for, you know, people to call me out, you know, or behind the scenes go, Hey, Stephanie, well, maybe this isn't inclusive. And I'm like, Oh my gosh, like, I want people to tell me, because I want to do better as a person. Right. So I just think it's important, and it's so important.
Ariel Green 21:53
It's important to be open. And I don't want to say open to criticism, but just open to suggestions for learning opportunities. You know, that's definitely super important when it comes to inclusivity.
Stephanie Moram 22:08
Oh, 100% agree. And do you have any creators that you follow on Instagram or YouTube where they are in the sustainability? You know, kind of industry like area that are women of color indigenous that you're like, you need to follow these women? They're amazing. And you will learn so much from them. Oh, besides yourself? Of course.
Ariel Green 22:31
Yeah, of course. Yeah, well, if you're not following intersectional, environmentalist, then definitely follow that account. that's run by green girl, Lea, Lea Thomas. She's, yeah, she's she's amazing. And also like for vegan and like sustainability things. Ashley? Renee, is good. I think her Instagram is Hey, Ashley, Renee. jonnu is really good to think that's j h a n n e eu, she posts a lot of sustainability and, you know, like hacks and stuff like that. That's, that's all I'm coming up with off the top of my head. Good places to start.
Stephanie Moram 23:22
So I think everyone needs to that's listening needs to obviously go follow Ariel, it's sustainable Brown Girl, first of all, and then, you know, I think we need to like just kind of broaden the horizon. And when we're on social media, not to be in a box, right? Not to be in a box. And just like I'm following, you know, like, I'm just gonna say myself, because I'm white, like white people. And then I'm just getting that version of the story versus opening up our horizon and following other people and learning from people and then growing. Yes. And, like you said, like, more representation like, and you have some phenomenal people on your podcast like, and it's to get their voices out and heard. So I'm gonna go listen to more of your podcast episodes, because I think they're so important. I think it's, it's important to have these conversations.
Ariel Green 24:19
Right. And so definitely, there's so many good episodes, like, seriously, there's like, so many different topics, and we're going all the way through. Probably February next year, I've been posting an episode every day, which is like, huge for me. And then I'm gonna take like a little seasonal break until next summer, but like, there's so many episodes for you guys to catch up on.
Stephanie Moram 24:42
Yeah, before we close off the vodcast, if you could share one of your tips when it comes to sustainability like that people could be like, Oh, yes, I can do this today, like one tip that people can walk away with today.
Ariel Green 25:20
Like your, um, I would say, one tip to be more sustainable is going to be, I would say, like, reducing your, you know, like, your, your impact is like, that's so broad. But I think like having a mind shift, mind set shift with realizing that you can make a difference, because I know a lot of people feel like, Oh, I'm just one person, you know, what, you know, what difference can I really make. And I think the biggest difference that you can make, is to be an example, to your circle, even if it's just like your family at home. I think, you know, like, being an example, like realizing that you care about the trash you're creating, and you know, the impact that you're having on the planet, like, if you make a couple switches at home, and your family sees that, maybe they won't make the switch right away, but it's on their mind, and they're thinking about it. And by being that example, you are having a huge impact. So I would say you know, like, just continue leading by example, no matter how big or small your reach is, you know, to to just keep going forward.
Stephanie Moram 26:46
That's great. Thank you so much. And if people are looking for you on social media, I'm gonna post everything in the show notes. So you'll be able to find Ariel, all of our social media, but I'd like you to just kind of mention like, Where can people find you on social media and your website?
Ariel Green 27:02
Yeah, so on Instagram, it's sustainable brown girl. You can check out our website where I post you know, like all of the podcasts episodes and show notes and such on sustainablebrowngirl.com. And YouTube channel is sustainable Brown Girl where I post all the video interviews of the podcast. And if you want to follow my personal journey on YouTube is naturally mermaid, and on Instagram naturally underscore mermaid.
Stephanie Moram 27:36
That's perfect. So thank you. Thank you so much for coming on today. I really appreciate it.
Ariel Green 27:42
Yes, it was such a pleasure. Thanks, Stephanie.
Stephanie Moram 27:45
Stephanie Moram 27:45
So for more sustainable living inspirations. There's a couple of podcasts that you might want to check out number 39 is easy cloth diapering without the stress with Lacey Weaver, episode number 31. What's really hiding in your home with Lonnie Brown, Episode 30 Changing the fashion game with cameo Lee and that is who Ariel was talking about at the very beginning. And episode number 20 environmental justice and veganism with Isaias Hernandez. You can stay connected with me on Instagram and Tik Tok as this is Stephanie moram. Don't forget to subscribe to the Green Junkie Podcast on the platform you're listening on. Thank you for listening, and I'll see you next Tuesday Green Junkie