Hi Frenshe! My name is Stephanie Shepherd. I’m an environmental advocate, social entrepreneur, and co-founder of Future Earth—an educational media platform. Additionally, I serve as an ambassador for various clean living and climate initiatives, including The Environmental Working Group, Former Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, and World War Zero, a climate change initiative led by former Secretary of State, John Kerry. I also advise and volunteer with organizations working toward gender-equity, like Khana and Days for Girls International.
Climate Activism 101
To me, climate activism means letting the reality of climate change permeate every area of my life. This includes where I shop, how I vote, what kind of water bottles I drink out of, what lightbulbs I use, and beyond. Big or small, every decision matters! And, most importantly, being an advocate for my community on how important it is for all of us to educate ourselves and contribute to solutions surrounding climate change and climate justice.
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My first significant introduction to climate change was several years ago when I watched An Inconvenient Truth. I was incredibly moved. A few years later, The Climate Reality Project hosted a training session in LA. I signed up immediately and attended the three-day training. There, I got in touch with the Climate Reality staff to learn about becoming more involved. I went on to attend the Atlanta training, and then I hosted the social media segment of their broadcast 24 Hours of Reality. After starting @FutureEarth, my co-founder Max Moinian and I were invited to speak at the Minneapolis training on the best practices for climate education on social media. Former Vice President Al Gore and the Climate Reality Project staff have been wildly helpful in providing resources and opportunities to expand our platform and make climate education accessible to all.
Sustainable Swaps for Everyone
By now most of us have heard about the importance of composting food scraps and ditching single-use plastic. Here are five additional steps I’ve taken that can serve as a helpful checklist for getting started!
PAY YOUR BILLS ONLINE: Opt for paperless billing! (It’s that simple.) If you haven’t already, make a pledge to yourself today to contact your card services and providers to go paperless.
CHECK YOUR ENERGY: Unplug electronics when you’re not using them. Once you get in the habit, it’ll become part of your daily routine to check all your outlets to ensure they are unplugged (if not in use). Additionally, shop lightbulbs that save energy (like these or these). The next time a light goes out in your home, make an effort to buy an energy-efficient option. Making the swap can help you use up to 77% less energy compared to traditional bulbs.
BREAK UP WITH YOUR BANK: According to my friends at Green America, where you bank matters. With mega-banks, your money is funding fossil fuels, sweatshops, factory farms, and other destructive industries. When you switch to an ethical bank, like a community development bank or credit union, your money can create jobs, housing, and social services and build healthy communities and a better world! Learn more here.
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, VOTE!!!: Did you know the Sunrise Movement is building political power by voting out corrupt politicians and voting in real leaders who will stand up for their communities and a Green New Deal? View their list of endorsements here. [Editor’s note: check your voter registration status here.]
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Why These Changes Matter
Aside from voting, which I think is the absolute most important thing we can do right now to contribute to the betterment of civilization as we know it. I think the World Wildlife Organization summarized it well. Our impact on climate change primarily comes from how and what we eat, how we power our homes and mobile devices, and how we travel from place to place.
The average US citizen emits 20 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year due primarily to these activities. (This is 10 times the emissions from the average person in India, for example.) While most of us are not traveling due to COVID-19, we can implement changes in our food consumption and power usage now. We can also choose with our dollar, to support businesses who have a like-minded ethos, transparent business practices, and sustainable initiatives.
THE FRENSHE FIVE
What’s something toxic you’re trying to get rid of in your life? VIBES! Honestly, the people you surround yourself with truly affect your mood and your trajectory.
How do you keep yourself balanced? It’s not easy. And I’m not sure if I’ll ever really master this. But right now I’ve been journaling a lot. Something about putting a pen to paper and getting my feelings out into the world, even if just for me to see, really helps ease my anxiety.
One health or beauty trend you’ll never do again? Any fad diet!
Top 3 favorite skin products? Christie Kidd’s Clean Natural Face Cleanser (Editor’s note: not available to the public yet, but stay notified here), Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen, and Karuna Biodegradable Hydrating Face Mask.
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Quote you live by? There’s a quote by human rights activist Desmond Tutu that I love, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”