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Breaking through in the historically male-dominated green space is hard. But the four women we’re profiling today have pulled it off in grand fashion. They’ve also successfully struck a balance between what it means to be an “influencer” and how to use that influence to make the world more ecologically sound.
Through their work, these women have helped us return to the most vital roots of environmentalism — stewardship and conservation. Interestingly, both are concepts that have been dutifully upheld by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) women globally since time immemorial.
These four dynamic women create and support movements that are changing the way we look at and engage in everything from fast fashion to the great outdoors to what products we put in and on our bodies. While this is a shortlist, it features stars in the movement — Following their careers will put you on the fast track to gaining a more nuanced understanding of the quest for true sustainability.
Jhánneu is your go-to person for sustainable products. Through her social media platforms, she highlights alternatives to your everyday routine that will make your closet, cabinet, and shopping cart more eco-friendly.
Colorful infographics freckle her Instagram page, showing us sustainable alternatives to popular items such as cleaning products, underwear, electronics, and makeup. As a woman of color, she also uses her popular YouTube platform to showcase low waste methods for maintaining curly hair as well as a guide to Black-owned farms and food gardens.
Following Jhánneu will give you chance to refine your lifestyle. Utilizing her recommendations in your day-to-day also allows you to ease your impact on our fragile ecosystem in a tangible way. That’s a value you can’t put a price tag on.
Meet Summer Dean:
Summer Dean doesn’t just explain the climate crisis, but she offers feasible solutions. She uses her platform to break down complex solutions to climate adaptation like translating exascale computing into more understandable language.
Dean also promotes sustainable fashion by partnering with large brands to bring awareness to ecologically friendly methods of clothing manufacturing. She encourages us all to upcycle, reuse, and thrift-shopping clothes instead of purchasing new ones all while championing for an end to fast fashion.
Instead of shaming you into changing your habits, Dean works hard to celebrate those of us who can change our habits for the better with a focus on a more sustainable future in our everyday purchases.
Meet Evelynn Escobar:
Most people might not understand why hiking is a radical act, but Evelynn Escobar — founder of @hikeclerb — puts it into perspective. She created a hiking club that brings together BIWOC to heal together through nature. By creating an intentional space for women of color to experience nature, she is providing grounds upon which an ecological revolution is built.
Her impetus is to familiarize a community with its environment to lead to more reverence for the natural world. “The outdoors were essential for my own healing journey, so I wanted to bring, facilitate, and hold space for other women and for what nature can do for them,” Evelynn says. Hike Clerb started as a casual gathering of friends hiking in L.A. and morphed into a non-profit that hosts around 20 people per hike. “We speak to everyone from the person who has never been on a hike to the person with experience — outdoorsy looks different for everyone,”
Meet Quannah Chasinghorse:
Quannah Chasinghorse — a climate warrior and Indigenous woman — is breaking the traditional beauty standard in the high fashion industry. She speaks out against extractive industries (such as fossil fuels and mining) that harm the land that she holds precious. She’s modeled for brands such as Gucci and Chanel with publications in Vogue but mainly uses her platform to spread awareness of climate injustices.
“Being able to be an Indigenous youth in this space is so important,” she says. “I grew up never seeing any representation. Now, I get to be that person for a lot of others.”
Chasinghorse goes beyond just pointing out injustices on runways. You can see her actually marching on the front lines of pipeline protests and #MMIWG2S (Murder and Missing Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2 Spirit) rallies. Chasinghorse engages, talks, and protests while also demanding that the Euro-centric fashion world start taking Indigenous fashion seriously.