This week we're looking back at Xander's conversations with Marci Zaroff, Ibrahim AlHusseini, and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, X, about climate change. There are over 15000 registered organizations in America devoted to addressing environmental concerns. From sea levels rising to wildfires and droughts, there are multiple issues to manage and Ibrahim, X, and Marci have devoted their lives’ work to hit on crucial planet restoring elements. Whether it be building a circular economy, accelerating eco-centered technology, or building community and awareness around the issues through art and activism, it's about "human relations with the earth and with our land," as X has stated.
X, an outspoken environmentalist since he was a child, became the Youth Director of Earth Guardians. He believes we can't fully begin to heal the planet without first looking back at the roots of how we got here regarding colonialism-based policies, economics, and social relationships. "We can look at the relationship and see that that is the catalyst that 'Heads' created; the climate crisis being a symptom of our disharmony with our relations with ourselves, with others, and with the land.", says X. His unique perspective growing up in a Mexican Indigenous household within the Western experience gave him insight into the centuries-old impact of colonialism and exploitation of people and land. X combats this unfortunate part of our history through his music as a socially and environmentally conscious hip-hop artist and co-founder of NOW. His organization promotes systemic change in lowering greenhouse emissions and carbon while teaching leadership, civic engagement, and campaigns through the arts.
"The United States as a whole has not come to terms with the mass genocide that took place for our current system to exist.", says X, "These infrastructures that we have created since the founding of the United States of America don't exist to protect people; they exist to protect capital."
Fortunately, despite this, entrepreneurs like Ibrahim and Justin are changing the narrative on how capitalism influences the environment.
Increasing consumerism is typically the end goal for a venture capitalist. Still, Ibrahim's company, Full Cycle, centers on finding a balance between sustainability and the 8 billion people who want "things," as he refers to it. "They want energy; they want ipads, cars, and air conditioning." Ibrahim's mission is to restore our overfished seas and reduce emissions by funding companies that eliminate these threats promptly. "As a fund, we focus on about 6-8, what we call platform companies, and then we invest primarily in their projects." Ibrahim explains, "So 85% of our fund is tangible assets that are designed to accelerate the deployment of that tech in the world instead of just taking equity stakes and going for a ride with them." To capitalists turned philanthropists like Ibrahim, there is no economic growth or quality of life without addressing climate change. "This is math and chemistry, we ran out of time, and we're just here now, and we have to do something." Ibrahim says, "At some point, the world realizes there's a better solution environmentally and economically than digging a hole in the ground and dumping all of our garbage in it.", and this is where Justin comes in.
As the creator of the term Eco Fashion in 1995, Marci says that, "the fashion industry is one of the greatest polluters of air and water in the world." She has always leaned towards industries that boost the circular economy, which is why she created EcoFashion Corp, launching accessible and affordable brands through places like QVC to reduce pollution and landfills by creating timeless collections. "I would say the introduction to fast fashion has certainly contributed to magnifying and multiplying the impacts significantly.", says Marci, who started her journey over 25 years ago in the food and beauty industry. "It became very apparent that you can't support one part of the equation without looking at the whole lifestyle. There's this evolution from our first basic need of food into shelter and clothing." Marci not only works with companies like Bed Bath & Beyond, Whole Foods, and Target to bring sustainability to the masses, but she's reached many through her book, EcoRennosance, which shares tips on how to, as she says, bridge the tree hugger and the fashionista. "Looking at what Horst was doing with AVEDA and all the things I had learned in food (industries), I wanted to take all of those learnings and translate them into the fashion industry and, no biggie, just revolutionize the fashion world.
Any good revolution requires unity, and X spoke of "Collective Liberation,"; the coming together of nonprofits and activists. In a way, this collective of varied environmentalists, including capitalists, can inform, educate and bring forth tangible change while uplifting communities and culture.
"Indigenous people have been carrying the weight of keeping the earth in balance for generations.", says X, "We've been through (an) apocalypse; we've experienced viruses, the extermination of our peoples to a larger degree, violence, and enslavement." X says, "We have pushed through so much, and now we have no choice but to continue imagining something more beautiful than what we have."