Here at BareChange, I am constantly inspired by other bad-ass, eco entrepreneurs who aspire to take on the world’s pollution challenges and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
For this post, I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with Tristyn Donovan, a 22 year old environmental entrepreneur based in Los Angeles, California. After leaving her hometown of Austin, Texas, and traveling the world, she has made a lasting impression on me in her multitude of efforts towards living a zero-waste lifestyle and tackling conservation issues right in her own backyard. I had the chance to interview her last week, where she candidly shares her journey of how she got involved with advocacy, and how it has led her to launch her own eco-conscious startup, Modern Sustain. Read about this bad-ass babe making waves!
BC: What does “sustainability” mean to you?
TD: “Sustainability” has an interesting meaning to me. The definition is; the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level. But sustainability to me means much more than that. It means being more self reliant on the day to day basis. If you need bread- make it yourself. If you need cleaning products make them yourself. You need electricity, get it from the sun. To me, it means optimizing the resources around you to meet your needs and to not rely on government help of any sort. It means to be less “Codependent” on society and to make things happen for yourself. Sustainability means DIY!
What was the moment(s) that you decided to get involved with activism?
Traveling in the Philippines was the first time I saw the full effect of single use plastic on our environment. Kids were playing in piles of plastic, fishers were knee high in trash while fishing for their dinners that they would soon place on the plates of their loved ones & there were rivers flowing through the villages main source of water full and I mean FULL of plastic. You could not see the bottom of the river. I was shocked with disbelief and I developed a very deep depression after arriving. I was so sad that this is what the world had come to and I didn’t know what I was going to do but I knew I needed to do something. After arriving back in America, I landed in LA to see that our first world country wasn’t living much differently from the third world countries I had come back from. I didn’t understand, I thought the American dream was supposed to more than what lied in front of my face. All I saw was us being the main source of the waste that ended up in those kids playgrounds and villages. That’s when I begin to learn about living zero waste, and over all just a more conscious lifestyle.
“I then realized that my actions as one individual could make all the difference, if I lived and embodied my beliefs perhaps others around me would be inspired to do the same.”
Explain your startup business, Modern Sustain:
ModernSustain is a marketplace that connects sustainable vendors directly to green consumers curating appliances to decrease their ecological footprint based off their conservation goals and budget.
What upcoming projects do you have in your and MS future?
We are currently raising money to develop the software. As for my personal projects going on, I have adopted Will Rodgers Beach for all of 2018 so I will be hosting many beach clean ups this following year. With all of the debris we collect I am going build a 7 foot whale made out of it. It will be a traveling exhibit for the schools courtyards and upcoming festivals. I also have many more projects in the works!
What are some successes you found in empowering your community to be sustainable?
I found that my network of people are extremely responsive and I learned that a lot of what was the root issues to pollution with single use plastic started with the lack of knowledge. The second I began my journey, people joined, responded and engaged. It was a beautiful moment in my journey that gave me hope to continue & hope for society.
What actions do you take daily to be a better conscious consumer and conservationist?
I am constantly starting new conversations with strangers to discuss it, my outgoing personality definitely helps! I talk to everyone and love hearing feedback about plastic and the entire eco industry. I also embody my beliefs so I constantly have my reusable coffee cups and bottles as well as my to go ware and that is a huge conversation starter on conservation.
What are some tips for others who want to become more involved or live with less?
It doesn’t have to be expensive, start with just saying no to single use plastic- simply refusing it makes all the difference. Once you begin to start refusing it will put into perspective how much you used to use and will an incentive to continue to say no. Secondly, before you leave the house each day BE PREPARED. Have your little travel sack of reusables! You never know when you’ll need them!
@trissykay always toting her reusables!
What do you do when the “big picture” of climate change, pollution, etc. gets too overwhelming?
Oh boy, this is a hard one for me to answer because I haven’t found a solution to the depression that comes hand in hand with knowing all of this. I try my best to redirect my mind and not carry the weight of the world on my shoulder, instead I try to think of all the good I have been able to accomplish and all the good I will bring in the following years. That helps, but ultimately the “Big Picture” fuels me never stop inspiring and bringing awareness!
Follow Trissy on social media at @trissykay and check out ModernSustain.com for all updates on her new app and upcoming projects!