22 Mar 2021

What is an eco-educator and what role do they have on social media?

Category: Blog, Community, Fashion, News
Author: Brittany Johnston

An eco-educator is a person who has a presence and platform on social media which is used to inform and engage their audience on climate issues, environmentalism, solutions to creating a better future for our planet and reversing the effects of fast fashion and climate change on the planet, without centring their content on themselves.

It is a big job and growingly increasingly more important in the digital world we now live in. Eco-educators have a responsibility to provide accurate information, in a way that their audience can process and understand – all within a word limit.

On Tuesday 16th March, ECONYL® brand hosted an engaging conversation between eco-educators Aditi Mayer and Besma Whayeb titled Why Everyone Should Be Following Eco-Educators. If you weren’t able to catch it, catch up on @econylbrand IGTV. 

Aditi and Besma discussed using their platforms to contribute to a better world and the most constructive way to educate their audience about issues important to them such as sustainability, social justice and diversity in fashion.

The discussion covered the challenges faced by using social media as a platform to speak out including gathering information from accurate sources, doing due diligence and making sure to follow and promote diverse voices as well as their own.

To that end, Aquafil reached out to the eco-educator community to find out how they use the space they occupy to promote digestible and informative content.

Lizzie Carr, Founder of Planet Patrol said, “Engaging with content created by eco-educators provides the context and nuance that traditional media often overlooks or, in some cases, doesn’t report at all. Keeping up to date with issues from a variety of voices means learning from a range of perspectives, which is crucial to keeping informed in a balanced way, particularly when issues can be incredibly complex.” 

Rosanna Falconer, Co-Founder of @FashMash, shared: Eco-educators encapsulate the very best teachers: captivating, compelling and creators of a community that avidly listens to their ideas and words. Today, more than ever, they are drawn together by awareness of the importance of thorough research and fact finding before sharing their own take on a subject in a way that is digestible for their audience. It’s that level of research that differentiates them from the average journalist in the media who might not look beyond the press release. As we know with sustainability, press releases can hide all manner of green washing behind impressive statistics.

Zeena Shah, Sustainable fashion influencer said, “Why follow eco-educators more like why not! I’ve learnt so much from the eco-community over the past years, it’s a great way to educated yourself and discover new ways to be proactive in your everyday life. I’m on a sustainable journey and am by no means perfect but listening to and learning from eco educators better informs my choices and has made me realise there is so much I can do on a smaller level. Whether that’s by swapping my cleaning products to more sustainable ones, replacing plastic where possible or just having a reusable tote bag in my handbag I can contribute and it’s the little things that go a long way!”

Founder of Stay Wild Swim, Zanna Van Dijk believes, “Online creators and eco-educators help to make sustainability more accessible. By sharing their tips, tricks and personal experiences, they become relatable and realistic role models who can break down the barriers to living more consciously”.

Further to the Instagram Live activity, Besma Whayeb also shared the following taken from an article her @curiouslyconscious blog:

‘As a generalist in this space, it’s always a delight to speak with activists, industry specialists, and people who are so very cause-driven in their work. Aditi was no exception; she combines her photojournalism with important conversations around the intersectional nature of fashion (often lacking, requiring so much more work around inclusion) and sustainability.’

‘It seems, whether you prefer a personal or impersonal approach, everyone is welcome to become an eco-educator. Plus, your background may inform your work, but it’s not everything – my degree has nothing to do with sustainability, and yet here we are!’

‘However, while it’s great to see collective campaigning around social and environmental issues, information is bite-sized at best. Just like statistics can be framed to fit a certain narrative, social media often wipes out the context or nuance of complex issues. I make it a habit to read longer-form content before engaging with or speaking on a subject, but the addictive like-scroll-like-scroll reflex can undermine that.’

 

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