Interview with Reza Cristián and Sustain The Mag

Note: All photos are courtesy of Sustain The Mag

What does sustainability mean to you?


For me sustainability is rooted in my culture, growing up in a mixed Mexican-American household. I did things that still stick with me today that were rooted in being sustainable like reusing single-use items, just so my family and I can save money. It was all about being resourceful and saving money in the process, not knowing there was a word for it at the time, until I went to college.


What is your favorite vegetable?


Potato hands down!

Reza Cristián

What inspired you and the Sustain The Mag team to establish your platform?


From being a fashion blogger to reading and watching documentaries on the harms of the fashion industry and climate change, I immersed myself more into this world. It wasn’t until then that I realized I wanted to really make a change and difference, and I did just that. I used my journalism degree to start an online sustainable publication, one which focused on creating a diverse and inclusive space for people who are eco-conscious.


Why is it important to have grassroots, independent media sources–particularly platforms such as yourself that are founded and led by WOC?


It's important to support and encourage more independent grassroots media platforms because we are the people who don't have an agenda to push on others that is unethical like many larger publications who are mainly run by white men executives in the world. We need more people on the ground covering and highlighting diverse voices and communities pushing these changemakers to the spotlight because they are the ones that deserve recognition.

SUSTAIN Editors Julia Le, Reza Cristián, and Jalin Abston (From Left to Right)

What is your favorite nature spot/green space?


I have a bike trail walking distance near my home and it's connected to a stream, a community garden with chickens and if I ever need to go outside, I ride my bike or enjoy a nice walk.


What type of community work do you try to do? Can you talk more about your Earth Month Challenge to raise money for community fridges in Austin, TX and NYC?


For Earth Month, we wanted to work with brand partners to help us raise money to buy groceries to fill inside free fridges with, and we raised over $2.5K and was able to fill over 10+ free fridges in NYC & ATX. We filled these and then just a couple days later the fridges were already almost empty, so that just shows how important it is for people to frequently fill fridges on their own time.


A cleanup event hosted by Sustain The Mag in Texas

What are some of the most impactful stories you have been able to amplify or cover yourself through Sustain The Mag?


During our early days at SUSTAIN, I've had more time to write whereas I don't as much now. I've highlighted and interviewed amazing people like Iranian activist and writer Hoda Katebi, digital creator Aditi Mayer and then most recently I interviewed amazing Iranin environmentalists for Nowruz, also known as Persian New Year and SXSW film & music festival on their climate change panel sessions.


What would you recommend to aspiring changemakers, activists, writers, or young people that want to get involved in social justice + environmentalist spaces, but might not know where to start?


This may sound cliche, but do not be afraid. Afraid of the bigger white men executives in politics and running our corporations, to not be afraid of the policies we have in place, to not be afraid that their voice doesn't matter, because it does and we need everyone to be part of the movement.

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