We had the good fortune of connecting with Isaias Hernandez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Isaias, what do you attribute your success to?
It’s about interweaving Indigenous wisdom, cultural-based experiences, and lived experiences that empower individuals to step into their environmental values and recognize that they, too, carry harmonious relationships with the Earth. When you can humanize people through storytelling, their own experiences are just as important as science and data. This gives them the power to step into their role as an environmentalist. I personally think that I have made QueerBrownVegan a space for collective vulnerability and accountability. To be vulnerable is an act of self-love and acknowledging of environmental injustices.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My name is Isaias Hernandez and I’m an Environmental Educator and Creator of QueerBrownVegan. I would consider myself a non-traditional educator who doesn’t teach through a school or an institution but social media. As a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, I studied Environmental Science because I had a passion for the environmental research field. I grew up low-income in Los Angeles, California, living in Section 8 housing and food stamps at a young age. I had normalized environmental injustices in my neighborhood from growing up near toxic facilities, crumbling and toxic housing infrastructure, and loud noise pollution from a busy intersection of cars and trains.
It was not easy to get where I was at. I think at the time. I was always confused and scared of what was to come next. I stopped stressing about self-doubt and continued my journey, hoping different doors of opportunities would open up. It wasn’t until my friends asked me that if I ever considered creating an environmental, social media account based on education, I was passionate about discussing environmental issues.
The lessons I’ve learned creating an online social media account that is my brand is that I also have to think of brainstorming, reading, researching, and designing content that fits my needs and my community’s needs. Behind the scenes, there goes a lot of planning with content creation, especially when talking about theories and hoping people understand the words you put out there. I believe that environmental education is a human right. Unfortunately, most of our educational systems fail to provide equitable forms of education that discuss topics regarding environmental justice and I wanted to shatter that and teach people online to inspire them to take action. You don’t need to be an activist to be an environmentalist. As long as you care about the justice of life, that is enough.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
It really depends on the event! As someone who doesn’t travel much, I typically like to explore natural landscapes from state parks to beaches, I think being around nature is very therapeutic and it helps our souls!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Kristy Drutman (@browngirl_green) My best friend from college and former housemate who is also an environmental advocate. Many people forget the power of how friendships develop your professional career!