Talking Circular Economy: Making Synthetic Hair More Sustainable

In this episode, we talk about the benefit of the circular economy for the climate crisis & to empower communities of color to take action.

Episode Notes

Join Kristy and Ciara Imani May, founder of Rebundle, a company closing the loop on synthetic hair waste one bundle at a time. We will be talking about what it means to generate a circular economy, how to make an environmentally friendly and culturally conscious product, and how to support young entrepreneurs of color working to save the world.

What we cover: -The benefits of the circular economy in dealing with the climate crisis -How the circular economy can provide a space for budding entrepreneurs to create innovative solutions -How a woman of color designed her own business/ space within the circular economy & her tips for others pursuing this space

For more information on rebundle. Follow them on Instagram

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Put Your Money Where Your Values Are: Personal Finance & The Planet

Learn about how to both save the planet & learn how to not go broke along the way.

Given this fiscally-uncertain world for the 99%, how can we put our money where our values are? For the best answers, I made a 2 part episode on the topic. I teamed up with Joelle Sostheim of the Joelle Show. She gives us a step-by-step lesson on personal finance and shows us how we can use this important practice as a tool to make alternative spending and investments through a climate change- and global pandemic-conscious lens. For those able to invest, we’ll have our conversation follow with As You Sow’s Energy Program Manager, Lila Holzman (Part 2 begins at 55:00). Lila tells us how we can place our accrued wealth into environmentally-friendly funding sources in order to stray away from the investor’s status quo, which typically takes company means to contribute towards fossil fuel and greenhouse gas emissions and practices.

In this podcast episode, you’ll learn:

  • What personal finance looks like in an ideal world and practical steps to get there. We’ll discuss ways to bravely confront the oftentimes-uncomfortable dichotomy of variable spending and challenging our behaviors.

  • How we can navigate a crisis -- today’s current Recession and global COVID-19 pandemic -- when we’re already in the middle of it. We’ll learn more about emergency funds and sustainable, environmentally-conscious budgeting practices.

  • The reality of big financial institutions investing in fossil fuel emissions and the solutions that can work as alternatives to policy change, which can oftentimes take too long before it’s much too late.

  1. “It won’t get better unless you confront it.” Joelle Sostheim We begin this episode asking Joelle, “In a perfect world, how does someone’s personal finance change from start to finish?” Joelle gives us her answer in two parts: i) your current self and ii) your future self. Asking ourselves what we want in the future works as a motivator to challenge our current behaviors and modify accordingly in order to push our goals forward.

  2. “Given the circumstances of Coronavirus, I would highly recommend putting down your expenses so you can save an emergency fund… made up of 3 months, up to 6 months, of monthly expenses -- what you spend every month. A good place to start is next month’s rent.” Joelle Sostheim

We haven’t been in a Recession + global pandemic in modern history… how many of us had the means to prepare? The answer -- hardly any -- brings us to problem-solving. Joelle talks us through how to mitigate today’s crisis for the common person and average listener in order to come out of this pandemic with the tools to save and, eventually-speaking, grow wealth in the future.

3.“If you cut out the labor it took to make that… small unit item and you, instead, budgeted out your time… time is just as important as budgeting your money.” Kristy Drutman

We begin thinking about everyday ways to save and follow our budget, the tactic mentioned being one of my favorites-- investing in reusable materials, as opposed to disposable ones. Using the framework, “How can I squeeze the most juice out of an item before I dispose of it?” works as just a starting point for this part of our conversation. We go back-and-forth on how wallet-saving practices ultimately reduces unnecessary labor and the annual amount we waste.

4.“What we’re starting to see too is that this is not just about doing the right because it’s good for people. It’s good for profit as well. We’re starting to get the data, especially now, that the space is getting a little more mature and that companies and investments that prioritize ESG (environmental, social, governance) factors over the long-term end up performing better.” Lila Holzman

Moving forward from Joelle’s personal finance expertise, we meet Lila’s knack for advising large financial institutions to allocate their funds towards sustainable investments that value ESG factors. As mentioned above, the quid pro quo demonstrates that shareholders who follow through with ESG practices will have their companies succeed further than they would have by pushing their money into fossil fuel emissions and infrastructures. Given the data, Lila emphasizes the importance of asking and pushing for sustainable investments.

Places you can consider donating your stimulus check to: 805 Undocufund

CCAEJ (EJ group in southern CA)

CDC Foundation

Feeding America

Asian Pacific Environmental Network Emergency Stablization Fund

Learn more about personal finance and sustainable investing

As You Sow works to empower shareholders to turn their corporations towards sustainable investing. If you want to learn more about this company, where Lila Holzman works, then check out their website.

Fossil Banks No Thanks shows what happens when shareholders invest in fossil fuel infrastructures and emissions. On their website, you can find a link to join their campaign and take action.

If you’re looking to invest, then Fossil Free Funds serves as the space for you. This non-profit, created by As You Sow, can give you the resources for mutual funds and ETFs that avoid fossil fuel investments, in addition to looking at funds from your 401K or retirement plan more closely.

Continue to learn from Joelle’s financial expertise through “The Joelle Show.” Her most recent content includes more details on how to keep your wallet healthy during COVID-19.

CC:August Jay, Content Operator of Brown Girl Green

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Climate Change & Disabilities: How'd we get here?

We’re not in shape to leap in a boat if there’s a flood, or run from a fire… there’s an attitude I think that’s completely unconscious that we have to be ready to do these kind of things. Marsha Saxton (21:48)

Kristy Drutman interviews Marsha Saxton and Alex Ghenis from the World Institute on Disabilities (WID) -- one of the first disability rights organizations working towards creating research and policy that’s equitable and inclusive. Given the global pandemic, Kristy takes the intersection of disability justice and climate change to find its connection to coronavirus. While living in a country low on toilet paper and ventilators, Kristy and guests point out who’s been put behind to receive support. Without the infrastructure necessary to support people with disabilities, communities remain without adaptive technology and disappointingly unfit to support for this group. Marsha and Alex, nonetheless, share their optimism and practical solutions in hopes to build a more inclusive, adaptable climate-changing-world.

In this podcast episode, you’ll learn:

  1. The unjust reality of where people with disabilities stand in line to receive support and rights
  2. Being ready for climate change means adapting to it (v. excluding what may not fit)
  3. Moving on from a utilitarian, triage mode of healthcare looks like letting people with disabilities teach us their needs while prioritizing their independence and quality of life

  4. “It only takes one sentence to explain that in any environmentally compromised situation… people with disabilities will die first and sometimes fast.” Marsha Saxton (12:40)

We begin this episode connecting the reality between climate change and people with disabilities. Marsha and Alex say the truth point blank: people with disabilities will die and sometimes first. Much of their work at WID focuses on alerting the climate change impact to the disability community and give them the tools to protect and advocate for themselves. The lessons parallel with finding independence and a living quality of living amidst social distancing, businesses with closed doors, and a new normal.

  1. “The majority of spinal cord injury research is stem cells and curing spinal cord injury as opposed to creating adaptive technology.” Alex Ghenis (25:41)

The modern healthcare system looks to find a cure for whatever doesn’t fit in; Alex Ghenis believes it’d be more helpful to spend that time developing adaptive technology, making the world more accomodating, and therefore reducing the impact of disability on the individual. The adaptation model applies to climate change and today’s global pandemic as well -- let’s adapt to the reality because it’s neither accessible nor available for everyone to put a band-aid on it.

  1. “Know your neighbors.” Marsha Saxton (36:28)

If we need to adapt, then our solutions start with the basics: know your neighbors. Marsha and Alex dive into the importance of building community and creating disaster recovery policy that includes people with disabilities’ knowledge of their needs and fruition of action plans. Given that we are currently in a worldwide disaster, our guests take us through the lessons in everyone needs to hear and hear again and again in order to adapt, recover, and put the independence and life outcomes of people with disabilities first.

Marsha Saxton continues to work at WID’s New Earth Disability (NED) Initiative. NED addresses how people with disabilities fall extremely vulnerable to climate change. NED seeks to build climate resilience by using research to identify concerns and the best responses, educate the public, ensure that other stakeholders’ climate adaption plans recognize the disability community. Follow Alex Ghenis’ disability and climate change activism on Twitter (@aghenis).

Here’s a list of organizations and brands supporting the disability community during this global pandemic:

Look out for

The Communicator™ is a clear window medical mask brand made to support lip-reading patients and healthcare providers. You can find these in-stock online at Hint: buy to use or donate

Contribute today

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) is a disaster giving program, rated four stars by Charity Navigator. During the coronavirus pandemic, the CDP is working with NGOs to allocate funds towards supporting healthcare workers, quarantined and other vulnerable individuals, in addition to hygiene promotion activities. You can donate to their responses fund on; follow them on Twitter

Meals on Wheels delivers nutritious meals, friendly visits, and safety checks to seniors who live in your community. Reach out to your local provider to get started and give more than just a meal.; follow them on Twitter (@_MealsOnWheels).

Use these resources

The Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) provides a COVID-19 Hotline for the deaf community. Use ASL Now or VP 833-683-7630. Subscribe to the CSD newsletter at; follow them on Twitter (@ThisISCSD).

Disability Rights California (DRC) shares COVID-19 information, response, and planning that can apply to those out-of-state as well. Understand your legal rights, household plan of action, and public health guidelines at For further legal information, call 1-800-776-5746 M-F, 9 am-4 pm (PST).

SAGE provides services and advocacy for LGBT Elders. Given that LGBT older people are twice as likely to be single and live alone, plus four times less likely to have children, SAGE connects this group of people to friendly responders on their 24/7 hotline. Call 877-360-LGBT (5428) for community support resources, answers, and non-judgmental responses. Check out their website,

August Jay, Content Operator of Brown Girl Green

Find out more at

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Self-care in the Time of Climate Crisis

In this episode of Brown Girl Green, we are joined with Brittney Enin, Founder and Executive Self-Care Consultant & Radiator of Black Sunshine as we talk about the importance of “self-care.”

It is expected that the climate crisis has and will continue to have a detrimental impact on public health, particularly on society’s mental health. As the news likes to convince us that the world is falling apart (and in some ways it is), how are we going to take care of ourselves and each other? Self-care is a form of deep activism, as we are radically defining what it means to adapt and care for ourselves and others in challenging environmental conditions.

We cover:

  • Why self-care is a necessity, not just a luxury (and it doesn’t have to be expensive, i.e. setting boundaries is FREE!)

  • Methods to embracing a self-care journey and to unlearn that your self-care doesn’t matter

  • How to practice reciprocity: learning how to give and take when you are naming your needs

  • Why people of color, in particular, should not feel guilty for reclaiming self-care as an act of survival

Highlights: “You need to start naming and legitimizing the forces that make you feel so tired”

“The world needs to see women of color in their full range of emotions”

“Depending on your place on society you internalize certain things as normal../ things that I used to think were ways of communicating [about these things] were actually really oppressive”

“We can hold our oppression and our privilege at the same time, it’s when people don’t do that, that we are in trouble”

You can connect with Brittney at, @slfcareconsult

Or follow her as @nerdqween on Instagram

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Save the Planet, Save Your Money

In our current climate crisis, how can we reach the masses through storytelling, connection, and education? In this episode of Brown Girl Green, I meet with Environmental “Eco-Influencer” Go Green Save Green, Ariel Maldonado. Ariel uses Instagram to engage her audience about how to live sustainably and to save money along the way.

Ariel’s content break down that allows her to engage her audience about climate change and sustainably:

Current events/ News that provides summaries around what is being discussed about a wide range of environmental topics Memes that are easy to capture people’s attention in a culturally relevant, poignant way Sustainability tips and infographics

She posts both in-depth content and quicky, witty posts that keep people’s attention. Experimenting/ balancing types of content and figuring out how to find content that is accessible and tangible to the audience is key.

“As i’m learning, i’m sharing.”

It’s very important to share content that allows people to feel like they can make an impact. A core part of this is thinking about companies we invest our money into, and how education is distributed to people to plug in and to feel like they are not alone.

“An Individual is a spark”

Next steps:

  • Use your voice to push forward regarding the climate crisis and sustainable living in your community and abroad (both in person and on the internet)

  • Think critically about the accessibility/ gaps around environmental information, and how you can start conversations with your friends and family to start caring more deeply about the planet!

  • Create your own content or repost from pages you love! We need to circulate information asap to grow our audiences and networks mobilized for climate action

  • Individual sustainable “swaps” are conversation starters to bring other people into the conversation for broader systemic change

Brown Girl Green Ep.000

In the pilot episode of Brown Girl Green, Kristy, a Filipina American environmental activist discusses the origins of Brown Girl Green. From activist burnout to trying to find diplomacy (or love?) on tinder, this episode lays the groundwork of what...

In the pilot episode of Brown Girl Green, Kristy, a Filipina American environmental activist discusses the origins of Brown Girl Green. From activist burnout to trying to find diplomacy (or love?) on tinder, this episode lays the groundwork of what you can expect to watch in Season 1.

Kristy Drutman