anna brones

writer + artist + producer

Posts Tagged ‘environment

Teresa Baker

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“Hope is infinite, without it there would be no reason for any of us to move forward.”

-Teresa Baker

Teresa Baker is the founder of African American Nature & Parks Experience, and as an advocate for diversity, works tirelessly to ensure that not only the country’s national parks are more diverse in their staff and visitors, but also the outdoor industry as a whole. She also created the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge, focused on improving representation across the industry, from marketing teams to ambassadors and athletes (learn more about it in this She Explores episode).

She is a powerful voice for diversity, equity, and inclusion, in an industry that—like many others—has long been white and male dominated. I think that Teresa’s work highlights the essential intersection of environmentalism and social justice. But as Teresa reminded me in this interview, it’s not an intersection but a coexistence. For us to make social and environmental progress, we have to stop thinking about them as separate. Nature is for everyone, and we all deserve an equal place on this planet, and we all have to fight to protect it.

What does wisdom mean to you?

For me wisdom is the means to think for myself and not allow outside influences to determine my moral standing.

Is there an influential woman in your life who passed along a piece of wisdom to you? Who and what?

Maya Angelou was and still is someone I look to for intentional grounding of self. Her words are a constant reminder to me of who I am and why I am. It is because of her words that I understand I am a vessel in this life, this life is not about me in the physical sense. I am here to carry a message forward, as are we all, we just need to learn to walk in that understanding. And we can only do this by being courageous. “Courage is the most important of all virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” My favorite quote from her.

You are a diversity advocate, and work on a number of initiatives to promote and encourage diversity in the outdoors. Diversity and equity are obviously something we need to focus on within all areas of society, what about the outdoors made you want to focus on that industry specifically?

What most people overlook about the work I do is that it is all tied to environmental protection. Now more than ever we need more people involved in the protection of our outdoor spaces. And right now the voices that are not involved in this work, as much as they can be, are from underrepresented communities. This is why I fight for equal representation across the board, so that we can have more people on the front lines fighting for the spaces we hike, climb, ski and walk through.

I see a lot of your work at the intersection of environmentalism and social justice. Can you talk about why this intersection is important?

I don’t think there is an intersection between environmentalism and social justice, the two must co-exist. When we separate the two it’s like saying we can have one without the other, we can’t. I don’t think of myself as an environmentalist, nor a torch carrier for justice. I think of myself as someone this society has overlooked for far too long. Someone who gives a damn about the spaces that surround us all. I understand that for myself and many others, these outdoor spaces are sanctuaries where we can go to escape the insanity of our day to day lives. They are roofless cathedrals and we need to protect them as such. And within that obligation, if we are able to put our physical differences aside, we exist under the umbrella of… Justice for all.

What is your personal relationship to nature, and how does that shape the work that you do?

Nature has always been a place of serenity for me, it is my think tank. I escape for self healing and self reflection. It truly is my cathedral, my religion, my shelter. I feel a “different me” when I’m out hiking among the redwoods, hearing nothing but the whispers of the birds, the swaying of branches and the wrestling of my feet as I walk along the leaves that have fallen to the ground. There is nothing that compares to the connection I feel to nature, she is what grounds me. A physical reminder of why the work I do around DEI is so important.

Through the work that you have done, what gives you hope?

Hope is infinite, without it there would be no reason for any of us to move forward. Life is hard no matter our path, hope is what I awake to, hope is what speaks to me when frustrations kick in, hope is what I cling to when doubt tries to creep in. I am nothing without hope and the belief of divine driven purpose that I am doing the work prescribed to me.

What wisdom would you share with your younger self?

A talk with my younger self would go like this….Your self doubts today are preparing you for a life of service that will inspire change beyond your time here. Hold on to your anger, it is part of the journey. Know that you are with purpose. Do not take education so lightly, for it will be of great use moving forward. Surround yourself with the smart ones, the ones whom you will gather with in the future. Do not be afraid that you think and feel differently than the ones you surround yourself with today. Fall in love cautiously and not just because you find him cute. And most importantly, spend more time talking to your parents, those days will past faster than you know.

This papercut and profile are a part of the Women’s Wisdom Project, a project focused on showcasing the wisdom of inspiring, insightful women by making 100 papercut portraits.

Written by Anna Brones

January 22, 2020 at 11:36

Wangari Maathai

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“We cannot tire or give up. We owe it to the present and future generations of all species to rise up and walk!”

-Wangari Maathai

Born in rural Kenya, Wangari Maathai was the first woman in East and Central African to earn a doctorate degree, which she was granted from the University of Nairobi in 1971. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, she served on the National Council of Women of Kenya. It was here that she came up with the idea of planting trees, a concept that she grew into a large scale, grassroots organization, the Green Belt Movement, focused on conserving the environment and improving the lives of women. Planting trees meant planting hope, a form or protest and renewal, fighting oppression with growth.

Environmentalist. Activist. Human rights advocate. Writer. Her work was inspired by her roots, but reached a global audience, and in 2004 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. 

I was recently reading Terry Tempest Williams’ book When Women Were Birds, and learned that the two had met in the early 1980s, and Wangari had become mentor of Terry’s. Terry herself had been inspired to start the Green Belt Movement of Utah.

Terry writes, “When I once asked her what she had learned from planting trees, she said, ‘Patience.'”

That sentiment stuck with me. Patience. It’s the same sentiment that’s in Wangari’s quote above.

The patience to speak up.

The patience to listen.

The patience to rise up.

The patience to continue.

I wonder what wisdom Wangari would give to us today. I think it would still be the same. We must continue to rise up and walk. We must be patient and persistent.

This papercut is a part of the Women’s Wisdom Project, a project focused on showcasing the wisdom of inspiring, insightful women by making 100 papercut portraits.

Rachel Carson

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Writer, scientist, ecologist, conservationist, activist. Rachel Carson was many things, and her work continues to be instrumental today.

Her book Silent Spring, published in 1962, galvanized the environmental movement (and also pissed off the chemical industry; Monsanto published 5,000 copies of a brochure parodying the book). But her writing extended far beyond that. In fact, she was first published at the age of 10 in a children’s magazine. She was a woman ahead of her time; in 1936, she was the second woman hired by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries.

Carson believed in the wonderment that comes from the natural world, and she sought to share that with her readers, reminding us that we are but a part of the larger system around us.

The quote that I used in this portrait of hers is part of a longer one from Silent Spring, and I wanted to share in its entirety:

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”

And if we contemplate and understand the beauty of the earth, it becomes that much harder to continue to act in a way that destroys it.

This papercut is a part of the Women’s Wisdom Project, a yearlong project focused on showcasing the wisdom of inspiring, insightful women by making 100 papercut portraits.

Written by Anna Brones

April 6, 2018 at 08:38

This Week’s Stories: Textile and Coffee Waste, Sustainable Beer and Taking Action

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domestic-stencilworks_processpic

Here is some of my work published this week:

Coffee Waste or Product Potential? – This story was featured in the print edition of Fresh Cup but is also up online. “Wast is simply resources in the wrong place,” says Daniel Crockett of Bio-Bean. I love that sentiment, because it challenges us to rethink what we assume is, or isn’t, something with potential.

10 Fashion Brands Innovating with Textile Waste – Speaking of waste, I also wrote a piece on textile waste. Did you know that in just 20 years, our textile waste has doubled? Today the average American discards around 70 pounds of textiles per year, the majority of it ending up in landfills. Fortunately, there are some innovators out there attempting to do something with it.

Patagonia is Making a Sustainable Kernza Beer – Patagonia, long known for its apparel, is moving into the food space. I love their efforts in working to build a better food system, and the new Long Ale beer is just another example.

Food, Agriculture and Environmental Organizations and Independent Media Outlets You Can Give To – If you’re looking for places to support this holiday season (and places whose work is very needed in the current political climate), I put together a roundup of some food and environment related organizations and media outlets over on Foodie Underground. There’s also an essay about caring (which includes a recipe for pumpkin oatmeal pudding) if you’re interested.

And finally, these weren’t written by me, but I was happy to have Hello, Bicycle mentioned in this list of presents for women cycling fans, as well as this mention of Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break in Condeé Nast Traveller.

Image: Domestic Stencilworks

Written by Anna Brones

November 18, 2016 at 12:08

2,592 Reasons to Hate Coffee Pods

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KCupsEarth3_0

Well, actually I didn’t write that many. But I did go on an anti coffee pod rant this week.

“If you’d had asked coffee specialists that this was going to happen, they would have told you, ‘That’s ridiculous,’” Mark Pendergrast, author of “Uncommon Grounds,” told the Seattle Times. That’s because coffee pods are ridiculous, but just like with so many other things, we’ve traded convenience for taste. In the process we’ve ended up with a product that’s really bad for the planet. For example, all of the K-cups (the name for the Keurig pods) sold in 2013 could wrap around the Earth 10.5 times.

Coffee pods. Wrapped around the earth 10.5 times. Think about it.

You can read the full rant – which includes all the environmental, economic and quality reasons not to drink single-brew coffee – on Foodie Underground.

Image: Mother Jones

Written by Anna Brones

March 27, 2014 at 14:25

Should We Care About Organic Food?

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“I now feel completely vindicated for NOT buying organic foods.”

Well, great.

The internet was abuzz with the recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that found little evidence that organic foods are more nutritious than conventional grown food, and I found myself getting severely agitated by comments like the above posted in social media circles. Granted, I spend a lot of time thinking about food, but simple statements like the aforementioned prove to me that we are entirely removed from the food process and what we are eating. We are oversimplifying a complex issue.

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Written by Anna Brones

September 11, 2012 at 08:18

The Beauty of Eating Outdoors

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Mediocre wine is excellent if you have a view, coffee is exponentially more delicious when brewed after a night in a tent, and trail mix can compete with the fanciest hors d’oeuvre when you’re in the middle of a hike. It’s simple: food always tastes better outdoors.

I was thinking of this in the process of drinking a mug of wine, overlooking a horizon of red rock formations last week. Dirtbags, sunsets and merlot do go hand in hand after all.

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Written by Anna Brones

June 5, 2012 at 13:50