ACE INTERVIEW: Alaina Wood on Digital Climate Activism

Raquel Martinez

|

September 24, 2021

Alaina-Wood

Alaina Wood (she/her) is a 25-year-old Sustainability Scientist based in the mountains of Tennessee. Alaina conducts science communication work and is the co-founder of EcoTok, a collective of Environmental Creators conducting climate activism on TikTok.


Raquel Martinez (RM): When did you first learn about the climate crisis? What was your immediate reaction?

Alaina Wood (AW): I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know about pollution because I grew up both on the Chesapeake Bay and in the Appalachian Mountains, but I explicitly remember learning about climate change in one of my middle school science classes. I remember feeling shocked and frustrated that more people weren’t doing something about it.

RM: How did you first get involved in climate activism?

AW: I really first started getting involved in the climate movement in high school. I started my school’s environmental club where I helped apply for a grant to purchase water bottle refill stations, and then I became a founding board member of Keep Jonesborough Beautiful, a Keep America Beautiful affiliate. There I helped organize cleanups and educate the community about native landscaping, stormwater management, and recycling.

RM: When did you decide to start using social media as a tool for your advocacy and what led you to that decision?

AW: I have been using social media as a tool for my advocacy since I first joined social media in middle school. At the time, I felt that was the only way I could help, because I wasn’t connected with any environmental groups. Back then, I would share articles on Facebook and fight climate deniers in the comment sections on the local news pages. Now that has evolved into creating my own advocacy content on TikTok, sharing resources on Instagram, and engaging in discourse on Twitter.

Image of Alaina Wood

RM: What have you found is the most effective way to use social media as an educational tool?

AW: I’ve found that being relatable, approachable, and often funny on social media helps people engage more with educational content. People don’t want to feel like they’re sitting in a lecture, so making content fun yet accurate helps spread the word.

RM: Could you tell us about the work you do outside of the digital space? How have you translated the knowledge you’ve gained in your field into your climate activism?

AW: I am a sustainability scientist who specializes in solid waste and water quality, and I work for an engineering firm doing environmental consulting work. I use the skills and knowledge I’ve gained with my career to help answer technical questions other activists have, understand what are effective ways to get businesses and governments to change, and take action.

Image of Alaina Wood

RM: What are some steps you recommend individuals take towards adopting a more sustainable lifestyle over time?

AW: My top tips for individuals trying to live a more sustainable life are to educate yourself on what sustainability is, start with the one or two areas in your life to make changes in (so you don’t get overwhelmed), and to never feel guilty about not being able to do more. Living sustainably means living within your means!

I’ve found that being relatable, approachable, and often funny on social media helps people engage more with educational content. People don’t want to feel like they’re sitting in a lecture, so making content fun yet accurate helps spread the word.

RM: Who are some of your favorite youth activists and where can we find them?

AW: There are way too many to choose from! But here are my current top favorite youth activists and where to find them:

Image of Alaina Wood

RM: What are some tips you could provide young people who are looking to follow a similar path of climate activism in the digital space as you have?

AW: I encourage any and all young people to get involved in climate communication! I recommend doing research into topics before creating content, reaching out to creators like myself to get started, and getting more comfortable being on camera (and hearing your own voice – which still is pretty weird to me!).

RM: How can individuals support your work?

AW: Individuals can support my work by interacting with my content , supporting the causes and petitions I share, and contributing to my Buy Me A Coffee fund!

RM: Thank you for joining us!


All photos courtesy of Alaina Wood.

Answers may have been edited for length.

Want to read more? Check out the ACE Blog!

Raquel

Raquel Martinez

Social Media Manager

Raquel is a Cuban-American born and raised in Miami, Florida where she is based. In her role as Social Media Manager for ACE, she helps generate and share climate content through ACE’s social platforms and amplify the work of partners and creatives in this field. Throughout the course of her career, Raquel has focused on delivering environmental education and leading hands-on stewardship initiatives throughout south Florida. Raquel enjoys roller skating, playing bass, spending time outdoors, and being with her pets.

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