Over the course of the last decade or so, social media’s influence has certainly burgeoned. From shaping political campaigns and elections to defining pop culture, its far-reaching impacts are certainly hard to ignore.
Social networks have also thoroughly transformed the landscape of activism around the world. Advocacy groups now rely on it to galvanize people into action. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become springboards for environmental, political, and social change—as evidenced by the success of the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements.
Social media has afforded the average person a platform to speak out about causes they believe in. Now, more and more, influencers are using their online presence for good. And they’re showcasing simple solutions for tackling the earth’s most pressing environmental concerns. (World leaders: Take notes.)
Latinx influencers, in particular, are increasingly turning to social media to make their voices heard. According to a 2018 consumer report by market research firm Nielsen, the Latinx community is more engaged on social networks than any other ethnic group. They’re also five times more likely to share content they consume online, compared to their white counterparts.
Many Latinx influencers are using their visibility online to speak out about issues that are affecting their communities. Research shows marginalized groups like BIPOC communities are disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change and other environmental concerns like natural disasters, pollution, and land degradation.
A 2019 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that Blacks and Hispanics breathe in 56 percent and 63 percent more pollution than they make, respectively. This can be attributed to the fact that, on average, pollutive industries like factory farms and coal-fired power plants are more commonly placed in minority communities.
10 Latinx sustainability influencers you need to know
From living zero-waste to eating a plant-based diet, Latinx sustainability influencers are working to make the world a better place. Here are 10 Instagram and TikTok stars on how they use their platforms for good—and what inspires them to center activism in their content creation.
Followers: 18.9k on Instagram
Sustainability focus: Garden educator and zero-waste advocate
Activism: Garden ranger for Los Angeles-based non-profit EnrichLA; Offers workshops on low waste living and solutions to environmental problems like plastic pollution.
Inspiration: “As a first generation Mexican-American, I grew up watching my mother reuse butter containers for salsas, or repurpose plastic ice cream containers to store frijoles in the freezer. But I never really made a connection between those actions, and environmental activism, until a couple years ago. My passion for low-waste living began when I enrolled in a college environmental science course in 2013. The professor opened my eyes to the ecological destruction happening locally and around the world,” she said.
Followers: 8k on Instagram
Sustainability focus: Low-waste, vegan lifestyle
Activism: Launched Nat’s Plant Life blog, which teaches people about how to eat plant-based and live a zero-waste lifestyle.
Inspiration: “My sustainable journey started with the thought of my daughter’s future. I knew our planet was in a crisis and began questioning my actions. I believe teaching our younger generations sustainable habits is so crucial for the years to come. I truly believe there’s so much good we can do and knowing that keeps me going. I think it’s important to factor in that we all have different lifestyles, budgets, and accessibility. Make a swap that works for you, reuse what you can, DIY if you can, include more meatless days if that works for your health. I also think it’s really important to ask yourself questions, such as, is this something I actually need? Changing your mindset to be more simplistic can help lead to a more sustained lifestyle change.”
Followers: 56.6k followers on Instagram
Sustainability focus: Zero-waste cosmetics
Activism: Founded sustainable makeup brand, Axiology Beauty, which carries plastic-free, zero-waste Balmies, 3-in-1 crayons for eyes, lips, and cheeks.
Inspiration: “Living sustainably to me means caring for all human and animal species, nature and our planet. Factory farms are tortuous and atrocious and animal testing for cosmetics are unnecessary and cruel. Overall, vegan values tie into living a kinder life. Importantly, reducing meat consumption is also critical with stalling climate change. I love animals and nature and will do anything I can to cause the least amount of suffering and harm while I am here on this earth.”
Followers: 15.7k followers on Instagram
Sustainability focus: Food and environmental justice advocate
Activism: Founded Veggie Mijas, a plant-based collective for women and nonbinary people of color spanning 13 states that promotes veganism and food justice by providing food resources—community fridges, food drives, community gardens—for marginalized communities, as well as environmental initiatives like beach cleanups.
Inspiration: “Once I started to do more research on veganism and reflect more on my own experiences with food disparities, I realized that just by choosing to be vegan has helped my entire family line for their own health and knowledge about environmental tragedies in the U.S. and our own home countries. Being vegan has helped me pause, have conscious eating, have conscious conversations about our foods, and have honored the process of it getting to our plates and bodies. My inspiration now and forever, are my own people, younger folks that are demanding more from our government, and those that continue to advocate for environmental and food justice.”
Followers: 2.5k followers on Instagram
Sustainability focus: Ethical, sustainable, and fair-trade
Activism: Founder and designer of GRL Collective, a lifestyle brand that sources products from BIPOC and women partners and donates 20 percent of proceeds to girls education.
Inspiration: “We did not inherit this planet from our ancestors, we are borrowing it from our kids. I am five months pregnant right now, so that saying has become even more important to me. My Native ancestors knew how important it was to care and take care of this planet, and as I’ve become a Mom with this little baby in my belly. I really want to pass that down to her. The earth is so sacred and deserves to be treated as such. Climate change is real and if the government isn’t going to do much about it right now, I do believe that individuals, families, and companies can make at least little change. Trying a little everyday is definitely better than feeling hopeless!”
Carolina Guerra Reuben
Followers: 552k followers on Instagram
Sustainability Focus: Climate change activist
Activism: Graduated as a Climate Reality Leader, having been trained by former vice president Al Gore (he founded environmental education and advocacy non-profit The Climate Reality Project)
Inspiration: “Climate change is the single biggest threat humanity faces today. Educating yourself, bringing awareness on this emergency and more importantly voting green is literally a matter of life and death. Knowledge is power and understanding how powerful we are is key,” she said.
Followers: 8.7k followers on Instagram
Sustainability Focus: Food justice and veganism
Activism: Started the Dallas chapter of Veggie Mijas; Helped Austin and Philly chapters start community gardens; Hosts virtual plant-based cooking demos where she speaks about food accessibility and systemic challenges marginalized communities face when it comes to food access
Inspiration: “It can feel as though one person has such a small impact on the earth but when you sit down and realize all of the swaps you’ve made, you quickly realize that the “little” that you do, has a HUGE impact. I eventually want to bring children into this world and one of my biggest concerns is the environment I’m going to raise them in. It’s not hard to be inspired when you read studies and learn about the condition of our planet. I’m inspired to become more sustainable so that my future family can live a healthy life.”
Followers: 98.7k followers on Instagram
Sustainability Focus: Environmental justice, veganism, zero-waste living
Activism: Launched Queer Brown Vegan organization to teach people about environmental justice, veganism, and zero-waste living; Worked with The Plant Based Treaty to demand governments move away from animal agriculture in favor of plant-based food systems; Assisted the Food Empowerment Project in providing school supplies to farmworkers’ children.
Inspiration: “It was the normalization of growing up low-income and living in affordable housing. My parents didn’t have a lot of money. We had to adopt sustainability skills based on survival, not because we wanted to be eco-experts. I took the public metro growing up, collected and recycled cans in the streets of Los Angeles, and thrifted for clothing because it was affordable. I believe that my inspiration came from my younger self being shamed by others, that even though I didn’t care what I did, people still made it a big deal because it did not relate to their overconsumption lifestyles.”
Followers: 108k followers on Instagram
Sustainability Focus: Indigenous climate activist
Activism: Youth director of Earth Guardian, an environmental organization that works to train youth to be effective leaders in environmental and social justice movements. Spoke at the United Nations Summit in Rio, and addressed the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York
Inspiration: “I’m working with young people around the planet to protect our earth, our air, our water, and our atmosphere for my generation and those to follow. My father raised me in the Mexica tradition. I learned from my father that all life is sacred. He showed me that every living thing is connected because we all draw life from the same earth and we all drink from the same waters. This life is a gift, and it is our responsibility to respect and protect that which gives us life,” he said.
Followers: 16.8k followers on Instagram
Sustainability Focus: Food justice and veganism
Activism: Founder and chef of Todo Verde, a vegan Latin American food pop-up; Co-founder of Across Our Kitchen Tables, a culinary arts hub for women of color; Sits on the Culinary Advisory Board for Food Forward and the Leadership Board of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council
Inspiration: “Plant-based food is one of the best ways to keep a sustainable planet. It’s how people can minimize their carbon footprint along with addressing fundamental health issues. How to grow and make this food is really a new form of activism. Change happens when it feels like an integrated part of a larger movement,” she said.