Isaias Hernandez makes environmental issues understandable

Isaias Hernandez became an educator at the same time he became a student. From primary school, he must help his teachers in the basic pronunciation of his first name, because the abundance of vowels proves delicate for the Anglicized language. It’s no wonder he’s become a natural adept at introductions – adept at turning complex concepts into digestible content.

Isaias is now 25 and perhaps better known by a completely different name: Queer Brown Vegan. Under this nickname, he presented his community (and the worlds of ICT Tac, tumblr, Twitterand instagram) to the importance of environmentalism as it relates to race. Its goal has been clear from the start, not simply to “create content”, but to create informative visuals that make environmental issues a little more digestible. From tackling the threats of the fossil fuel industry’s footprint on his hometown of Weehawken, New Jersey, to creating infographics, green screen visuals and illustrations that easily explain the impact of environmental problems, Isaias is your go-to personality for making ecology a hot topic. the dilemmas seem manageable.

It is a noble and worthy cause. The ecological conversation has long been plagued by assertions of being too tricky or complicated to decipher. Present issues digestibly in places where young people hang out – TikTok, IG, etc. – is the most logical approach to creating real societal change.

Isaias Hernández

It comes as no shock to learn that Isaias is a teacher’s child, he is a natural educator. But after immigrating from Mexico, her mother was unable to teach in the United States, due to her immigration status. It’s the narrative that fuels the Queer Brown Vegan brand – a focus on education shared through engaging visuals and offered free to everyone, regardless of socio-economic status, immigration status, race, gender or sexual orientation.

“I’ve always been a visual learner,” says Isaias. “I started using colored graphics because, for me, learning took the form of color coding my notes throughout my school career and I think color helps make education more appealing, especially to Gen Z and Millennials who are interested in a more interactive way of learning.”

All it takes is a quick trip to the website QueerBrownVegan.Com to find plenty of examples of stunningly designed visuals, aesthetically pleasing blog posts, and warm-toned infographics that make even the most frustrating and complex environmental problems seem easier to solve. But what is even more evident is the care Isaias has for his audience. To the point that the moral responsibility he feels feeds the work itself.

“I use principles of psychology when talking about climate emotions and mental health,” he says, “especially in relation to the eco-anxiety that many BIPOC communities face to normalize injustice. in their life. It really allowed me to share my vulnerability regarding my own mental health through planetary health – a lot of people relate because there are very limited resources for exclusively people of color who might have direct experience with the climate change and it’s hard to navigate because we all have such varied experiences with this problem.

By QUEER BROWN VEGAN

Despite his vast knowledge of how race, environmentalism and systemic oppression intersect, Isaias acknowledges that his work has limitations. It must extend beyond him as a unique and charismatic individual and extend through his various communities.

“I’m 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 global long-term solution. I recognize very well that my role in this movement should not be expanded, in fact. I’ve always believed that staying local is what’s sustainable for my community as well as my own mental health.

This is the mantra of a good educator. The group is emphasized over the individual – not me but “we”. It’s a concept that’s embedded in everything Queer Brown Vegan does.

“At the end of the day, it’s about people choosing to build longer relationships together and investing in a reciprocal relationship,” Isaias says. “Strong relationships – that’s what will really help our planet.”

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We asked Isaias what advice he would give anyone hoping to improve the planet – he offered these three keys:

  1. Question your values, especially those of your power and privilege.
  2. Pick something you love deeply. Not everyone needs 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 intertwine their passions with an environmental lens.
  3. If you’re a student, think about how you can change your local food system. Maybe you convinced your cafeteria to divest itself of agrochemicals.