A Q&A With The Collective Chat’s New Editor-In-Chief
The Women of Color Collective in Sustainability (WOC/CS) continues to grow and we are beyond grateful for this incredible community encouraging, supporting, and raising the bar for women of color working in the sustainability sector. We have been so pleased to attract all of the leaders, doers, and activators championing fascinating work. This certainly rings true for the newest member of our team, Shreema Mehta.
Shreema Mehta is a writer and editor who’s dedicated her career to communicating sustainability stories. She started out as a news reporter, then was inspired to shift gears to environmental advocacy after writing about the activists and policymakers working to fight a host of environmental problems, from industrial agriculture to landfill waste to climate change. She is now a Brooklyn-based PR professional who’s particularly interested in entrepreneurial sustainability solutions, through the lens of environmental justice. To that end, she’s delighted to do what she can to amplify the voices of women of color, who often lead sustainability movements!
Given our collective’s desire to know more about our team and work we thought it would be worthwhile to share a couple of questions and answers with Shreema. Here are some of her words outlining her thoughts on the sustainability sector, hopes for the future, and current work:
Chante and Jordie: What does sustainability mean to you and how has it influenced your career journey?
Shreema: To me, sustainability is having the humility to recognize that we are dependent on nature, and working to build a society that has that humility. In addition, it’s recognizing that nature has intrinsic value on its own and we have the capacity to respect it while also thriving. I’ve tried to act on these values throughout my career journey, which I believe as a result has been quite meandering — from starting as a news reporter to going into nonprofit advocacy and then “agency life” in New York. I’ve learned a lot about why it’s so difficult to overcome inertia around sustainability, but also about the many different ways people around the world are trying to overcome this inertia to build a just and beautiful world.
Chante and Jordie: What are your hopes for the climate movement and sustainability industry?
Shreema: While a lot of the damage has already been done around climate change, I also feel a lot of optimism about young people and their ability to minimize the damage climate change will cause. I’ve also been inspired by the ideas that have come from New York City and other urban communities — like the proposal to turn Rikers Island into a renewable energy hub. That proposal is, no doubt, the product of all of the conversations activists are having tying climate change to other injustices that people, particularly people of color and poor people, face — conversations that were not being had when I was in the DC environmental world not even a decade ago. My hope is that we will allow young people and those most affected by climate change to lead the way to tackle this problem of our time, whether as activists, in government, or through business.
Chante and Jordie: What are your aspirations as you continue on your journey in the environmental sector?
My aspiration is to build a climate-smart food business (I’m chronicling my journey here if you’d like to follow!) that allows me to combine my two loves — food and confronting environmental injustice/climate change. Over the years, I’ve become increasingly interested in entrepreneurial sustainability, developing new solutions and ideas outside of government action.
Shreema will be managing our team of writers and editors, determining the feel of our publication moving forward, and deciding what to publish.
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