We had the good fortune of connecting with Chrystene Newman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chrystene, can you tell us about a book that has had a meaningful impact on you?
In 2017, while studying to get my Bachelors of Science in Ecology and Environmental Biology, I suddenly had an ‘AHA!’ moment. I looked at the plastic water bottle I was drinking from and realized that I was contributing to the environmental issues I was learning about in class. I saw, in that one water bottle, the impact that we as individuals, as communities, and as civilizations have on our planet. Leafveins became my tool for changing the world; it’s the space where I talk about environmentalism, creative living, and personal sustainability. I believe we should all see ourselves as stewards of the planet. We all rely on the same clean air, water, and resources to live healthy and happy lives. The impacts of the current climate crisis are becoming more and more apparent with increased rates of wildfires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, blizzards, heat waves, and other anthropogenic disasters. Rather than let the doom and gloom cripple me into fear and inaction, I instead focus on the capacity that we as individuals have to positively impact our environment. I’m by no means a pinnacle example of sustainable living, nor do I want to perpetuate the idea that there’s one “right” way to do things. Instead I share the transition and steps that I take to live a life that is more aligned with the health of our planet. I hope that by showing my progress (and mishaps), it inspires more people to start their journey to live more sustainably.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’d like to think that I have two separate jobs that both support one another. As a restoration biologist, I see firsthand both the positive and negative impacts that people can have on their immediate environment. The knowledge and skills I learn in my career aligns with my personal brand, Leafveins. I’m also able to take the creative thinking from Leafveins into my profession as a restoration biologist. They both overlap and feed into one another.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Assuming we’re all following Covid-19 health guidelines, here are some of my must-visit spots! Plant Power is my new favorite vegan fast food joint. They’ve got all the classic fare (the bacon cheeseburger is my go to), with a 100% vegan menu. I’d also love to show them the Ecology Center, an educational nonprofit that focuses on food as a tool for environmental action. Refill and Zero Waste shops are also top of the list: BYO Long Beach, Eco Now, and Tare are some of my favorite shops with amazing package free options for food and household products. Descanso Gardens, Los Angeles Arboretum, and Huntington Library are all great botanical gardens that are worth a visit.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I really want to thank my former professor and mentor, Dr. Kathryn Theiss, for helping me reach that “AHA!” moment where I realized that I had a responsibility to pursue environmentalism, not just as a facet of my profession, but as an integrated part of my life. She helped me to ask the hard personal questions and guided me to find out answers in my own way.