Hey #TEAMTALA! We're incredibly excited to announce over very first TALA sustainability ambassador Summer Dean aka Climate Diva! Based in Los Angeles, Summer carries a wealth of knowledge in climate change and advocates for environmental justice to make sustainability fun for everyone. In this edit of TALA Talks, Summer answers the question 'what does sustainability mean to me?'.
Growing up, my idea of sustainability was limited. I thought that the end of environmentalism was reusing plastic bags and changing out light bulbs to a more environmentally friendly version (don’t get me wrong, these are definitely both great things you can do to reduce your personal impact!). But in the years to follow, my perspective on environmentalism shifted, and my experiences helped me realize that environmentalism is so much more than just reducing the amount of damage we do to the planet. When I was in 7th grade, I lived along the coast of Florida during one of the biggest oil spills in human history. I saw firsthand how the fossil fuel industry decimated entire communities (including my own) and was traumatized at the sight of marine wildlife being poisoned by black globs of oil in the water. At this point, I quickly realized that sustainability had to go much further than just doing damage control and reducing our impact. The earth has endured so much exploitation and harm from polluting companies for far too long. At this point, simply reducing our damage and neutralizing it is nowhere near enough. Any type of sustainability that wishes to have a stable planet to live on must actually work to regenerate and restore ecosystems. It must work to compost our current destructive systems that rely on exploitation, and create new systems built on regeneration and respect for all, including human and nonhuman life.
When I was getting my degree in environmental studies and working on several climate policy campaigns, I learned that sustainability is so much more than saving endangered species and preventing trees from being clear cut- cultural sustainability is just as important, and fighting for the health of the planet must also include fighting for the protection of people too. The same systems that are killing the planet who view earth as an expendable, exploitable resource are also exploiting our most vulnerable people too. Sustainability means protecting the earth and its people, especially the people who have been the most left behind. Today, I believe that there is no such thing as protecting ‘nature’ as if it's some faraway place that we go to visit. We are nature, and the sooner we start living like we’re a part of nature instead of outside of it, the sooner we can end environmental destruction and start to live in reciprocity with earth.
I’m so excited to be an ambassador for TALA because I’m a strong believer that we don’t need to sacrifice style or quality for sustainable and ethical manufacturing. There are so many workout clothes out there made from fast fashion brands with fibers made out of virgin plastic, and I love that TALA offers an actually affordable alternative to activewear that respects people + the planet (and is actually stylish and comfortable). It is possible to look cute while doing your part to save the planet. That’s what I like to call being a sustainable baddie :)