Humbling modernity while dreaming up a truly sustainable future

100) BW Ayana Young talks Sustainability on Green Dreamer Podcast with Kamea Chayne copy copy.jpg

What does it mean that a lot of our current efforts to 'go green' could just be facades or short term solutions that might create another set of unintended problems? How do we deal with the loneliness and rage that might come from having woken up to a lot of our systemic issues which a lot of people around us might still not see? 

Our guest today is Ayana Young, a lover and protector of wild nature. She was studying ecology at Colombia University when the Occupy Wall Street Movement began and in the middle of that, she co-created the Environmental Working Group to help orient the movement to the realities of the suffering planet. Today, she is the host of For the Wildpodcast and teaches empowered earth stewardship, leads biodiversity enhancement workshops, and facilitates panels across North America with her team. Let's dive in.

This is a conversation on Green Dreamer Podcast with Kaméa Chayne, a show exploring environmental and intersectional sustainability from ideas to life. Subscribe to Green Dreamer on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or any podcast app and let’s learn what it takes to thrive in every sense of the word!


[2:40] What first inspired Ayana's passion for the environment. 

[5:12] Ayana: "I think the word 'sustainability' is thrown around way too much. It's become a marketing tool." 

[8:30] Ayana: "When you think about 9 billion people all with iPhones, cars, being able to fly airplanes anytime... it really doesn't matter if you plug that into a solar panel or not. Let's talk about the infrastructure, the mining, the wires, the grids... Perhaps solar panels are a transition, but what's more important is the transition we have to do within ourselves.

[13:30] Kaméa: "Is this a matter of questioning what progress really means? Because we're headed in a direction that is called growth, but equates with a lot of destruction today." 

[14:53] Ayana: "I really believe that creativity is the antidote to destruction."

[19:20] Kaméa: "When most of our world today is disillusioned when it comes to what our needs, necessities, and desires are in life, how do we begin to get people to question this on a massive scale?" 

[21:32] Ayana: "I think we really need to focus on the heart and not so much the mind because I don't really think it's going to move people. We've had climate statistics for the past 50-60 years, and we've only burned more fossil fuels since then..."

[27:00] Ayana on how everyone we need everybody on board, and how everyone has a part to play. 

[27:44] Kaméa: "Is there anything you feel like it will take for us to get sustainability to become a top priority in the national and/or global agenda?" 

[32:02] Ayana's thoughts on one of the big reasons why the 'resource extraction side' has been so much more successful in achieving their agenda and how we can come together to improve our strategy for sustainability.

[37:18] Kaméa: "How do you deal with the rage and frustration you feel, knowing that you see these things so clearly while most people, or at least decision makers don't?" 

[41:16] Ayana: "I'm so committed and dedicated to my relationship to the earth that I want to show up. I want to show up with fierce love and let the earth know I'm here."   

Keep in Touch

Ayana Young and For the Wild


To follow: @indigenousrising and @pnwprotectors

Words of inspiration: “I listen to the world around me." 

Health tip: "I love baths." 

Green tip: "I'm really working on zero waste." 

Element of hope: "Relationships—with the earth and with other people." 

Words of Wisdom: "Follow your dream, no matter what. Don't give up. When things come up in your way, breathe through it. We need you." 


Two Takeaways