Hey guys! We are very excited to let you know that we are starting our new blog series called - ECOnscious Warriors where we are talking with inspiring people that want to share their knowledge, experiences and passion for ECOnsciousness. If you have any specific econscious warrior in mind that you would like to see here in the future, please let us know on our social and in comments below! Let's expand the ECOmmunity!
The first chapter introduces one of our lovely supporters - Diana Brandt.
Diana Brandt is an Educator who has volunteered as an Environmental and Health Advocate since the young age of 8. She is the founder and Director of Transition To Green community, a nonprofit with over 5,000 supporters that offers public educational forums, workshops and global retreats.
Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself, where you grew up and where your love and dedication to the environment came from?
My mother and step-father were both entertainers, so I grew up in Hollywood, California. As a child I used to fall asleep listening to my younger brother having difficulty breathing. He suffered with asthma and I asked the doctor during a routine visit why my brother had this problem and his response was that some children inherit it from a relative or a parent, but in other cases it can be triggered by air pollution, smog days. The smog when I was growing up was very bad. I remember the public school would announce that during the smog days there would be no recess and that all the recreation /P.E. would be taken indoors.
It made an impression on me that there must be away to clean up the air quality. In the 4th grade, the teacher introduced the class to the power of writing letters to public officials and government departments etc. I wrote a letter to the Air Quality Board and once I received a response that answered my letter thoughtfully, I was hooked. Air Quality and lessening Environmental impacts became very important to me.
At UCLA as an undergrad I was focused on becoming an Attorney that practiced Environmental Law. However, once I received my B.A. in Political Science (Pre-Law), I decided I’d have a better chance at influencing others through education, so I went through a Secondary Education program to teach High School Seniors U.S. and World Government, Social Studies and Economics.
How did you come up with the idea for creating the “Transition to Green” community?
I had decided instead of teaching at the High School level that I’d prefer making a difference through teaching in public educational outreach. Initially I wasn’t thinking, “Oh, I am going to launch a nonprofit!” It all began when my mother introduced me to a woman who was the owner with her husband of a Direct Marketing company that sold a lot of eco linens and bedding. I purchased bamboo sheets through this company, which were the softest sheets I’d ever experienced. The owner asked me if I’d be interested in hosting a party, so I agreed and that’s when I told her I’d like to focus on the Eco products and invite only ladies and make it an Eco Ed event. She responded, “Fantastic Idea!” We never sold anyone who attended anything, but instead focused on educating everyone about the products.
At the end of our activities the products sold themselves. A City Council Woman attended one of the events shortly after and told me directly, “This shouldn’t be a women’s association, this should be a nonprofit!”
What inspires you to keep making good changes for the Planet and be persistent in that every day?
My delight and interest is in reading and listening to Environmental, Agricultural, Weather and Animal focused news. I enjoy it! I do have a day job that sometimes zaps my energy making it difficult for me to maintain consistency, but I remind myself that I am human and that I give my best each day. That’s all any of us can do, so I go easier on myself and with a new sunrise meditate for 15-20 minutes before going into a refreshed day.
What do you think “Transition to Green” has that other similar movements/communities dedicated to environment don’t?
Most environmental organizations promote activism and their projects. T2G primarily offers public educational outreach about how individuals can lessen their environmental impacts.
How would you encourage people that maybe want to do more for the Planet, but they don’t know where to start?
I encourage people everyday by informing them about the part that all of us as individuals play on the micro level. If each of us can make incremental changes in our daily routine by a shift in our purchases to more sustainable products such as the bamboo products that your company offers, we can attain a closed loop system where no damaging waste is being thrown into the trash system.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Well, little grasshopper become aware of your senses and tune your mind to be perceptive to the subtle shifts in nature! Not a quote, but comes from Confucius, Chinese.
What is the biggest challenge in today’s environmental education?
More and more people are connecting online rather than meeting in person, so it is a challenge to gather people to meet with one another in person. It has become a sort of social laziness and desire to remain private and anonymous. Holding people's attention in public venues also proves tricky, because there are always people who pop on and off their devices while being seated at a presentation even when told to turn off their devices. Social etiquette is nearing that point where the younger generation literally asks, “Social Etiquette, what’s that?”
If you would have to put your message in one sentence, what would it be?
Make a difference first by changing your daily habits and routine with a switchover to more environmental friendly products and services.
Please tell our readers where they can find you or hear you?
People can find us on Meetup and here on the Transition to Green fan page. We post a lot of our events through Meetup, but some are community driven through hand out postings. I started producing a Podcast, Eco Insomniacs, with a buddy I’ve made a partner as Co. Producer, Aaron Zober of The Appropriate Omnivore.