Isaias Hernandez became an educator just as he became a student. From elementary school, he had to help his teachers with the basic pronunciation of his first name, because the abundance of vowels was difficult for the Anglicized language. No wonder he naturally became a fan of introductions – adept at turning complex concepts into digestible content.
Isaias is now 25 years old and perhaps best known by a completely different name: Queer Brown Vegan. Under this nickname, he introduced his community (and the worlds of TIC Tac, Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram) the importance of environmentalism in relation to race. His goal has been clear from the start, not only to “create content” but to create informative visuals that make environmental issues a little more digestible. Whether it’s tackling threats from the fossil fuel industry’s footprint on his hometown of Weehawken, New Jersey, or creating infographics, green screen visuals, and illustrations that explain easily impacted by environmental issues, Isaias is your go-to personality for making ecology a hot topic. the dilemmas seem manageable.
It is a worthy and worthwhile cause. The green conversation has long been plagued by claims that it is too thorny or complicated to decipher. Pose problems in a digestible way in places where young people spend time – TikTok, IG, etc. – is the most logical approach to create real societal change.
It is not a shock to learn that Isaias is the child of a teacher, he is a natural educator. But after immigrating from Mexico, her mother was unable to teach in the United States, due to her immigrant status. This is the story that powers the Queer Brown Vegan brand – a focus on education shared through engaging visuals and offered free of charge to anyone, regardless of socioeconomic status, immigration status, race, gender. or sexual orientation.
“I’ve always been a visual learner,” Isaias says. “I started out using colorful graphics because for me learning took the form of color coding my grades throughout my school career and I think color helps make education more engaging, especially for Gen Z and Millennials who are interested in a more interactive environment. learning style.
All it takes is a quick trip to the website QueerBrownVegan.Com to find plenty of examples of amazingly crafted visuals, aesthetically pleasing blog posts, and warm toned infographics that make even the most complex and frustrating environmental issues seem easier to solve. But what is even more evident is the care that Isaias has for his audience. So much so that the moral responsibility he feels feeds the work itself.
“I use principles of psychology when I talk about climatic emotions and mental health,” he says, “especially regarding the eco-anxiety that many BIPOC communities face to normalize the injustice in their life. It really allowed me to share my vulnerability regarding my own mental health through planetary health – a lot of people identify with themselves because there are very limited resources exclusively for people of color who might have direct experience with it. climate change and it’s hard to navigate it because all of us have so different experiences with this problem.
Despite his vast knowledge of how race, environmentalism and systemic oppression intersect, Isaias recognizes that his work has limits. It must extend beyond him as a unique and charismatic individual and spread through his various communities.
“I am most proud when I meet the people who interact with my work,” he says. “Because what I’m doing is a localized solution rather than a globalized, long-term solution. I fully agree that my role in this movement should not be broadened, in fact. I’ve just always believed that keeping it local is what’s sustainable for my community as well as my own mental health.
This is the mantra of a good teacher. The focus is on the group rather than the individual, not me but “us”. It’s a concept that’s built into everything Queer Brown Vegan does.
“At the end of the day, these are people who choose to build longer relationships together and invest in a two-way relationship,” says Isaias. “Strong relationships – that’s what will really help our planet.”
We asked Isaias what advice he would give to anyone hoping to improve the planet – he offered these three keys:
- Question your values, especially your own power and privilege.
- Choose something that you love deeply. Not everyone has to be an educator. Be a model or a photographer or a browser or a musician. We need different people in this work who are able to interweave their passions with an environmental perspective.
- If you are a student, see how you can change your local food system. Maybe you can convince your cafeteria to get rid of agrochemicals.