Instagram influencers are known for posting selfies and glamorous travel pictures. But not Isaias Hernandez.

His account, Queer Brown Vegan, has more than 60,000 followers, but his posts contain mostly words, not photos.

In each, he asks a question about environmental justice or defines a term. For example: ‘What is food security?’ or ‘What types of groups are vulnerable to the climate crisis?’

Hernandez grew up in a Los Angeles neighborhood that he says was heavily polluted. To learn how to help his community, he studied environmental science in college.

“When I went to academia, it was a very rough journey for me,” he says.

His department lacked racial diversity, and people in academia often used terminology that was unfamiliar.

“It wasn’t until I finished college that I realized, you know, you don’t need an environmental science degree to be an environmentalist, and you don’t need to use this fancy language to truly understand these concepts and terminologies,” he says.

So on social media, he aims to make environmental concepts more accessible. And he hopes that by providing a safe space for his followers to ask questions, he can inspire more Black, Indigenous, and other people of color to get involved.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

Fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, Molly Matthews Multedo is the founding director of Acquazul, a nonprofit that creates multilingual broadcast and digital media on social and environmental issues...