This conversation gave me chills.
Ayana Young is a deeply inspired woman, connected to the Earth, the soil, the plants and the animals. She is also host of the For the Wild podcast, and specializes in intersectional environmental and social justice, deep ecology and land-based restoration.
If you’ve been feeling the grief of this planet, wondering what you can do while so much destruction is happening, this conversation is for you.
In this episode we discussed:
How Ayana was led to environmental and conservation work
The 1 million Redwoods project and what’s happened since being the most backed farm project on Kickstarter
How social justice and environmental activism are interlinked
How to approach grief and shame about what’s happening in the world (especially as a person of privilege)
What can we do now to protect our Earth?
Current projects Ayana is working towards
Stay in Touch with Ayana:
Ayana Young is a podcast and radio personality specializing in intersectional environmental and social justice, deep ecology and land-based restoration. Graduating summa cum laude with an undergraduate degree from Loyola Marymount University including a double major in Art History and Theology and a minor in Philosophy, as well as education through Columbia University in Ecology and Eastern Religions and Restoration Ecology at the University of Victoria, Young has a strong academic background at the intersections of ecology, culture, and spirituality. She was studying at Columbia when the Occupy Wall Street movement began and amid the burgeoning resistance in Zuccotti Park, she co-created the Environmental Working Group.
Post-graduation, dividends from her early career allowed Young to conserve 500 acres of coast redwood and salmon habitat in Northern California, where she has been living for over five years. Living for the first years, in a tent with no electricity or running water while she established a homestead, and broke ground on a native species nursery and research center, including the establishment of the 1 Million Redwoods Project, which was acclaimed as the most backed farm project in Kickstarter history.
A budding filmmaker, Young is no stranger to the medium having spent her childhood as a prolific working actor, working alongside the likes of Steven Spielberg and Meryl Streep. Young’s debut film, When Old Growth Ends is an ode to the complex interweaving of the irreplaceable Tongass National Forest during its last stand as a distinctly wild place in Southeast Alaska. As Director, Producer, Narrator and Featured Cast Member of the film, Young wore many hats in midwifing this compelling and poetic story of struggle and beauty surrounding the Tongass National Forest.
Young leans into her vast experience on the other side of the camera, along with her intersectional approach to ecological restoration to guide her process as the Founder and Executive Director of millennial media organization and nonprofit For The Wild. Learning deeply from the critical dialogue she’s shared with over 100 guests on the For The Wild podcast, including Chris Hedges, Sylvia Earle, Vandana Shiva, Jill Stein, Winona La Duke, Terry Tempest Williams and other thought leaders (including some of the brightest activists, political thinkers, and scientific minds of our time) Young approaches her mission with For The Wild with critical thinking, deep reverence and artistry.