This interview was conducted by Selva Ozelli
What was the vision for launching F(earth)er Magazine https://fearther.com?
Throughout elementary school, I found myself interested in the environment yet discouraged because I thought the only way to pursue an environmental career was to become an environmental scientist, and I personally did not find that interesting. It wasn't until I spent time outside of school a couple years ago reading environmental books and academic research that I realized that in order to effectively mitigate climate change, there needed to be a collaboration among a multitude of careers, from artists to zoologists. I decided to create F(earth)er Magazine to showcase the interdisciplinary nature of environmental action, by releasing monthly issues that showcased the environmental connections of psychology, biology, education, literature, and more.
How was the Magazine able to grow so fast and have such a National as well as global reach?
The magazine was able to grow due to the effort I put into reaching out to people, social media marketing, and obtaining podcast interviews. I believe that obtaining a strong national and global reach can only happen in the beginning if one is willing to put the effort towards making it happen. After all, gaining lots of followers overnight is rare, at least in the beginning. It is about putting consistent effort into posting aesthetically pleasing yet insightful content, engaging with your audience, and being ready for new changes.
Tell us about your initiatives concerning schools?
Because it is important to help students learn about how nearly every academic subject connects to the environment, we strive to collaborate with schools in order to make our articles an accessible resource for more students throughout the world, from the United States to Kenya.
Scientists cannot mitigate climate change on their own, or it would have already occurred. Substantive environmental action requires the collaboration of architects, economists, policymakers, scientists, large corporations, small businesses, the general public, and more. This is why students should be exposed to the seemingly endless environmental opportunities that they can pursue in the future.
How can people contribute articles, environmental art to F(earth)er?
If people are interested in becoming a writer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org Keep in mind that the time commitment is to write 1 article every 1-2 months, and that strong writing skills are required, along with intellectual curiosity! Environmental art is always welcome, please email email@example.com with art pieces you'd like to submit to our virtual Gallery.
Your Magazine has an Art Gallery and covers environmental art. What are your thoughts on art's role in society's change, for the future of our Planet? And your thoughts on United Nations declaring 2021 the "International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development"?
I think that art plays a tremendous role in societal change, as it emotionally appeals to people, something that is difficult for scientific data to do. Art can provide creativity towards climate solutions that other fields are unable to do as effectively. I actually wrote an article about my thoughts of art's role in environmental advocacy, linked here.
It's great that the UN declared 2021 as the "International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development," as it not only prevents creative exploitation where artists are manipulated. If people are able to work more for themselves and unleash their inner imagination, that is likely to be much more meaningful work to them.
However, it is also important to recognize that while this mainstream wave of the creative economy has led to entrepreneurship being glorified, working for oneself may not be for everyone, and that maybe someone's ideal career is to work an office job. No shame in that. So I think that the creative economy is tremendously important, just more so for some careers more than others.
Overall, tying the creative economy with sustainable development, I think it's great that the UN is promoting this as a way to make economic growth less exclusive and unsustainable, which is certainly important in achieving environmental and social justice.
Your Magazine has covered plastic pollution related articles. What is a Campaign like #TiredEarth #MASKUARY's https://www.tiredearth.com/news/maskuary-campaign; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoHy1eikWIM role in increasing public awareness in dealing with plastic pollution caused by PPE?
Because I advocate for tackling climate change through a systemic lens more so than an individual one, I think that a campaign like this one can help increase moral outrage regarding plastic pollution that can help hold corporations accountable for their irresponsible plastic waste. Campaigns like this can help make more and more people buy less plastic, causing corporations to realize that they must change their ways in order to avoid bankruptcy. At least that is the vision.
Anything else you would like to add.
Ava is a UChicago student double majoring in Environmental & Urban Studies and Sociology. She has read a myriad of environmental books such as The Uninhabitable Earth, Thinking in Systems, Being Ecological, All We Can Save, and more. Inspired by the interdisciplinary potential of substantive climate action, she founded F(earth)er Magazine in 2020. Since then, F(earth)er has amassed over 2,000 Instagram followers, 10,000+ website views in over 25 countries, and has been interviewed on 10 podcasts. To provide a personal spin on ecological topics, Ava has recently started the Instagram and TikTok page under the username @envirocoach. Later this year, Ava will be launching a podcast with interviews from a multitude of environmental trailblazers, along with episodes featuring F(earth)er writers.