EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Emily De Sousa of Airplanes & Avocados

Last month, I was honoured to interview Emily De Sousa. Her resume is extensive and impressive- she’s the Founder and Creative Director of Airplanes & Avocados, a blog that touches on environmental issues, sustainability, travel and more. She’s also the Founder and Executive Director of Youth Action on Climate Change, which is an organization that helps youth find solutions towards climate change and the various issues surrounding it. She’s also a public speaker, serves on the board of the Canadian Network for Ocean Education, and is the Director of Marketing for the Leading Change Canada Steering Committee. Outside of her professional life, De Sousa is a trained PADI Divemaster and Freediver and is currently working on her Master’s at the University of Guelph. Needless to say, she’s a super busy woman with an incredible career already.

That’s what made it such an honour that we were able to sit down together for an interview. I asked her various questions about her blogging career, how people can tackle climate change, the importance of ocean sustainability, and so much more. Check it out below!

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EL: Please give some background about yourself for those who haven’t heard of you before.

ED: I’m currently doing my Master’s in Geography at the University of Guelph. I did my Undergrad there in Environmental Governance, which is kind of inspired by my professional endeavors with my blogging and writing. I found this passion for the environment, so my plan was to finish my Undergrad and be done with school. I had just become a Divemaster at that point, so I was like, I’m just gonna move to an island and be a scuba instructor and not worry about anything ever again.

But I spent about a month in the Florida Keys right before I graduated, and I loved it. But I found that something was missing. I loved being challenged and academically stimulated and doing something more impactful than just teaching scuba [diving] every day. I still want it to be part of my life, but I wanted to do something else.

So, I ended up meeting a new faculty member at [University of] Guelph, who was doing something with fisheries and seafood, which is totally where my interests lie. We started talking, and we hit it off. I decided kinda last minute— compared to other people who decide to go to grad school— that I wanted to do it. I just finished my first semester there, and I have another year and a half to go.

EL: What made you start your blog in the first place?

ED: I always feel weird telling the origin story of Airplanes & Avocados because it’s not a very happy one necessarily. So, I actually took a year off between high school and university because I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. I played competitive hockey when I was younger, and I got a lot of bad concussions. My last one was so bad that I took a lot of time off my grade 12 year, which resulted in me not making the grades that I needed to. So, I took a year off. Most people think that I took the year off to travel and soul search, which I would love to be true. Laughs But really, I was taking high school courses in an adult learning center to try and get my grades up.

At the end of it, I did do a little bit of traveling. I think my parents kind of felt bad that I was very lost and not too sure where I was going in life. So, I went to Europe by myself for two and a half weeks, and it was so fun and so amazing. Again— I wish I did some soul searching there, but unfortunately, I didn’t. I just had a really great time and I love it.

I came back and it was time to decide what I was going to go to university for. I was at this crossroads where I still wasn’t sure, but I was terrified that if I took another year off, I would never go. I got accepted to [the University of Ottawa] for kinesiology and exercise science, so I’ll just go do that. I love sports, I love Ottawa— that makes sense. I failed Anatomy my first semester there, so I realized very quickly that it was not gonna work. I was so miserable in Ottawa— I had no friends, and I was feeling really lost. I kept reflecting on my trip to Europe and how much fun it was— experiencing new cultures and how everything [in Ottawa] just seemed so average and mediocre. I was bored all the time.

I started my website as a way to kind of reflect on that trip and remember the feelings that I had and immortalize them at a time when I was feeling so lost. At that time, I also knew that there was a potential to make money from it. I feel like a lot of people who have blogs are like, “Oh, I never started my blog to make money,” which I didn’t either. But I also knew that there was a possibility that I could make money doing it. That was my plan when I was very lost in uOttawa— I was going to build this billion-dollar travel blog and travel around the world. It started like that— feeling kinda lost and wanting to reflect and remember trips. I’m pretty sure for the whole first year that the only person who read it was my mom. Laughs I made my first logo on Microsoft Paint!

It then kind of evolved as I found my passion for the environment to incorporate the sustainability aspect. It’s undergone its largest rebrand yet after over four years, too. It’s come a long way.

EL: What has been your favourite place to travel to and why?

ED: That’s a tough one. There are so many places! But two immediately come to mind— I have to cheat! Because I always say Hawaii, and I feel like everyone’s like, “Well, obviously! Hawaii is Hawaii!” But it’s everything that you would expect it to be and so much more. The temperature is perfect, the people are perfect— there’s so much to do. I was actually talking to someone the other day, and he was like, “Well, it’s an island— don’t you run out of stuff to do eventually?” And I think it’s crazy because there are four main islands and a lot of smaller islands, and there’s so much that you can do— hiking, underwater exploring. The food is so good, and the culture is so rich. I love Hawaii— and again, the temperature and the climate are always beautiful.

But if I had to say a less obvious one— Vienna, Austria is one of my favourite places in Europe. I love it. It’s the one place I’ve been to every time I go back to Europe. I’ve been there three times now. I’ve been there in the summer and in the winter, and I love it in the winter. The Christmas markets are beautiful. It’s cold, but not unbearable, and it’s pretty and snowy. Also, the culture and the food are amazing. I really love the history of Vienna— I’m super into WWII history, and while Vienna doesn’t fly under the radar, it also doesn’t come immediately to mind about that. Most people think of Germany and Poland, but Vienna has such a rich history despite not getting the attention it deserves. It’s super interesting, and I’ve always been intrigued by its world history.

EL: What’s your favourite memory from your travels?

ED: My boyfriend and I went to Algarve in southern Portugal. On our last night there, we took a bottle of wine and we went to the beach at like midnight. It was dark out, and a little bit cooler ‘cause summer in Algarve is hot— like low 40s [Celsius]. So it was really hot, and we just took this bottle— I actually think it was champagne— and went out to the beach, popped the champagne and just sat there under the stars and drank it. We had the whole beach to ourselves. Algarve has a lot of bars and nightlife, so we could hear it all faintly in the distance. We sat there by the ocean until some old Portuguese man came and kicked us out! Laughs But it was so cool. I remember lying there thinking, This is crazy. It’s so simple, but that stands out in my mind as being one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.

EL: Who or what inspired you to become passionate about environmental issues?

ED: I’d have to say my brother. He was kind of this whole sustainability, environmental train long before I was. When he and I were in high school, I remember him always being on my parents to recycle and not leave the car running. At this point, climate change wasn’t as prominent as it is now. People just weren’t talking about it as much. So I was like, “What are you talking about? What difference is it going to make if I recycle? I’m only one person.” I totally thought he was crazy. These were the days when people would regularly throw garbage out of their car window because that was a normal thing to do. Littering was common, and you probably wouldn’t get jumped on for it the way you would today.

So my brother put it on the radar, but I just ignored him as, “Oh, my little brother is so annoying and so crazy.” But when I was at uOttawa— like I said, I failed Anatomy my first year— so for second semester, I took a bunch of electives because I was like, Oh shit, I need to figure out what I’m gonna do now! One of the courses I took was an Environmental Studies course, and they were basically talking about what my brother had been telling me for years. I was like, Oh shit, he was right! That was what accelerated everything, but my brother definitely planted the seed. I just didn’t realize it for the longest time.

EL: What do you think needs to be done to address global warming and begin fixing it?

ED: That is the million-dollar question. Laughs I think the biggest thing is reducing our emissions and thinking about our energy systems. I don’t think there’s no one fix. I know people are like, “Well, if we’re gonna save the planet, we need to immediately stop fossil fuels, we need to all be vegan, and everyone needs to stop driving cars and use public transit.” I hate blanket statements like that because when you put something like that in a blanket statement, it’s not true.

A variety of different things need to happen— and essentially what needs to happen is a massive societal shift. It’s going to take us relearning how to function in society. We have to do everything differently— from the way we consume, drive, the way we get around. But I think the biggest thing is obviously emissions. Even going back to the ocean— I’ve worked on ocean plastics, which is a massive issue. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s not as important as ocean acidification or ocean warming, which is caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

If I had to say one thing, it’d be to reduce our emissions— and doing so comes with changing our energy systems and moving towards renewable energy technologies and things like that. They’ll make our energy usage more efficient so that people can still do things like drive cars or fly on airplanes, make a living and feed their families. Yet you do so without compromising the future of our planet.

EL: Why do you think it’s so difficult for people to take environmental issues seriously?

ED: I think that certain media have done a really good job of creating confusion in the past. But I think now, it’s not a matter of confusion. We’re at a sort of tipping point where people are realizing that if you don’t think it’s a big issue or don’t agree with it, you’re out of touch and wrong. But I think for a very long time, it took people a while to act because the media and industries were able to create so much speculation. “Is it really as bad as they say it is?” “Is it really as bad as we think?” There was the whole hockey stick scandal and fudging of numbers, so I think that contributed a lot to create uncertainty. I think now— because industries were able to create so much uncertainty for so long and we didn’t do anything for so long— we’re at the point where a massive societal shift is needed. It’s not just saying no to plastic straws and biking to work— those things aren’t going to stop global warming, unfortunately. We need a massive societal shift, and we need massive news from government and industries. They need to be big changes, and those kinds of things scare people. They alter the way people live their lives and the economy, so I think people are really resistant to that because they don’t want to change their way of living on such a massive scale. People are really resistant to that kind of massive change, and I think that’s why people aren’t taking it as seriously— that resistance and fear of the unknown. We’ve never had 100 percent renewable energy or net-zero energy systems. What if it doesn’t work? What’s gonna happen? I think the uncertainty bit is the major piece.

EL: Why is the issue of ocean sustainability so important?

ED: For me, it’s always been obvious. My family comes from Portugal, which is deeply rooted in oceans. Again, it’s always been obvious to me. The planet is over 70 percent water! It’s crazy to think that the oceans don’t have a role in climate change, not to mention the largest role in it. The oceans regulate everything— from climate to weather to storm systems— and we rely on the oceans for transport and food. They’re such a major piece in this system— and I would argue that they’re the most important piece. I think it’s hard for people to recognize that they’re the most important because we’re a land-based species— especially living [in Canada], where we don’t see the ocean every day. We don’t interact with it; we’re not witnessing the changes that are happening. It’s much harder to connect with those issues, and it’s much harder to resonate with them and want to take action on them when you’re not seeing them and they’re not directly impacting you every single day. But for me, the planet is 70 percent water, it’s mostly ocean, and oceans regulate everything. Basically, if the oceans die, we die. The oceans are the life system of the planet and the lungs of the planet. Once they’re gone beyond repair, it’s downhill for us.

EL: What’s one environmental issue that you’re most passionate about?

ED: I think our oceans broadly are what I’m most passionate about. I’ve worked on ocean conservation through a variety of different lenses. I started on ocean plastic, which is a big issue. But I realized that it was a drop in the bucket compared to these other larger issues. So, ocean acidification and warming are the largest threats to our oceans. It’s something I haven’t found a way to directly contribute to quite because it’s so broad and it requires a lot of cross-collaboration.

But my Master’s work is actually focusing on seafood sustainability and building more resilient and sustainable marine-based systems. Basically, I’m trying to emphasize that we can eat fish and take food from the ocean in a way that’s sustainable and promotes the longevity of the planet and the ocean and supports local fishermen. My Master’s work came out of being really angry with people saying, “If we wanted to save the oceans, we need to stop eating fish.” That’s crazy! Laughs There are tons of people on islands and coastal communities that rely on fish for food and for income; if everybody in the world stops eating fish, that’s a massive percentage of the population that you’ve put at a crazy disadvantage. I think that’s where I’m focusing now— sustainable seafood and fish. Also, fish is the least carbon-intensive protein on the planet— and the most nutritious.

EL: What’s an environmental issue that you believe isn’t getting enough attention from others?

ED: I would say the oceans, but I think the oceans just aren’t getting enough attention in general. Like I said before, we’re a land-based species, so people don’t care about it as much. [Senator] Elizabeth Warren actually just released a crazy awesome platform called “The Blue New Deal”, which is all about how to use the oceans towards helping to grow sustainability and the transition to renewable energy. It goes alongside the “Green New Deal”.

But if I had to say something other than oceans, I think transportation is the biggest area where we can make a difference. Transportation contributes to 25 percent of emissions in most major cities, and the youth organization that I work with is focusing on transportation. Just through that work, I realized it was never something that I considered. I was a commuter and didn’t consider the impact. Then obviously, with my travels and everything, it really just made me realize how destructive our way of getting around is, and also how unnecessary it is.

I’ve been to cities like Amsterdam that has amazing bike infrastructure and everybody bikes, and it’s incredible and so cool. Again— it goes back to that massive societal shift. There are cities in Vancouver where the transit system is amazing. I would never drive in Vancouver because it’s easier to take transit. I think that’s where we need to get to make public transit easier and things like that. So, I feel like [transportation] is not given enough attention, and I also think it’s part of this cultural stigma— like class. If you can afford a car, you drive a car. The bus is for people who can’t afford a car. Poor people only ride bikes or walk. I think it’s gonna require a change in thinking to, say, have more people take the bus because it’s easier.

EL: What steps can normal people do to help improve the environment?

ED: There are lots that people can do on an individual basis. Things like being mindful of your consumption and waste are huge— and it’s something that I’ve really been reflecting on. Like this morning, I received two packages from Amazon with crazy amounts of packaging. I was thinking, Did I really need all this stuff? Did I need to buy it from Amazon? This is something that I could’ve sourced from a farmer’s market or a local artist so that it didn’t have to be put on a plane and shipped here, wrapped in excessive amounts of plastic. So, I think just being conscious of that— your consumption habits.

I’ve been doing this a lot lately with clothes. I’ve always taken my clothes to consignment stores, but never actually thought to shop there. And again, I don’t know if this was rooted in my subconscious— this classist idea. But I’ve started shopping at consignment stores just because…I haven’t figured out how to buy less clothes yet. Laughs Which I think is the ultimate step. But because I’m not there yet, I’ve just been buying second-hand clothes so that you’re not contributing to creating additional products and additional waste and things like that. I’ve found so much good stuff at consignment stores, which I was surprised by. But I think the consumption bit is huge, the waste bit is huge— again, just being mindful.

I think also reading up on how to recycle in your area. It sounds so stupid, and people get offended when I say this. But every single city and municipality has different recycling rules. Some of them are really weird, and there are certain things that you can recycle and can’t recycle. I think this is more well-known— but if your recycling bin is tainted because you have one thing in there that can’t be recycled, then the whole bin is tainted, and they’ll throw out the entire bin. It’s destined for the landfill at that point. So, if you put a mayonnaise jar in there that still has mayo in it, the whole recycling bin is tainted. This is in most places— again, depending on the rules. That’s huge.

Composting is a big one. If you live in an area that doesn’t compost, I think individually, you can lobby whoever’s in charge of that. I just moved into an apartment building, and they compost. I was super stoked about it. It was one of the first questions that I asked when I was looking at the place. They thought I was super weird that I was asking. But it’s important. My boyfriend actually lives in a complex that doesn’t compost, so he and his roommates still compost on garbage day. He takes his compost and puts in somebody else’s that lives a few blocks down.

Just be mindful of your waste, and what you’re producing, and what you’re consuming. Just be aware of your impact in general. People who have the mindset “Oh, it’s not us, it’s someone else,” is the biggest problem. We all contribute— unless you’re literally living off the grid and hunt and cook your own food. If you live in a society, you contribute to emissions and to waste— so be mindful of that contribution and how you can minimize it. That’s the biggest thing.

EL: Why did you start Youth Action on Climate Change?

ED: First off— we actually celebrated our one-year anniversary [in November of 2019]. But it actually started from a conversation with a colleague of mine. We were having dinner and talking about all these impressive youth climate movements that were happening around the world. Particularly, we were talking about the 21 youth in the United States who were suing the government over climate change.

One of the people at this dinner was Alanna Mitchell, who’s the author of Sea Sick, which is an incredible book. She was basically saying that she wanted to write a piece about youth climate action, and she was adamant that this was gonna be the next big thing. Youth were gonna be the difference, and youth were not taking “No” for an answer anymore, and they were rising up. She totally foresaw this before anybody did. It was kinda based on that conversation where I said, “Yeah, Alanna, I think you’re right.” I live in Guelph now, and Guelph is a very progressive city on the environment. So I was like, Surely, we have young people who are passionate in the city.

So that November, we invited a handful of high school students into a room to basically hear where they at. “What do you know about climate change?” “What are your concerns?” They knew a lot! Laughs And they were terrified. But the one thing we kept hearing from them was, “We write essays about climate change, we learn about climate change, we watch all the documentaries. But nobody’s telling us what we can do. We want to do something. We want to take action. But we feel like we have no outlet. Nobody’s listening to us. We have no resources.” I walked away from that like, Well, I can’t just leave it at this. We’ve got this overwhelming demand for an outlet to take action, so let’s do something.

So in March, we brought 100 high school students to the University of Guelph campus to brainstorm what youth-led action would look like in Guelph on climate change. They basically spent the entire day hashing out what their biggest concerns were about climate change and where they felt they could make a difference was and developed this incredibly aggressive project geared toward active transportation in Guelph, and how to make Guelph a more bike-friendly city. This was all totally led by a group of high school students— and they’re actually presenting that city council in a few months, which is super impressive!

Then, we have another team that’s operating in Waterloo with my brother and a girl named Jenna. They’ve been awesome, and they’re working on a youth-developed food sustainability app— looking at food waste and things like that. But the main thing is that we wanted to provide youth with an outlet to take action, give them resources and encourage them— they have a voice, it matters, and people are listening. It’s entirely youth led. We’re a group of grad students and undergrad students who work with high school students. The high school students tell us what they want to do, and we essentially make it happen. We try to mentor them the best that we can with our knowledge in the field and provide them with the resources and connections that we have in our professional work. They then carry it out and implement action. Our goal is to empower their voices and make sure that they know that they have the ability to take action on their own. They don’t need to lobby politicians or ask adults to make a change for them— they can do it themselves. Plus, it’s been a very valuable learning experience for me.

EL: Could you please talk about your experience delivering your 2018 TEDx Kanata Talk?

ED: That was a super surreal experience. I can’t believe it’s been almost two years! So, I had just come off speaking at the Women in Travel Summit in 2017, and I really loved it. I love to talk, clearly. Laughs I think I have interesting things to say and perspectives to share, so I was looking for a bunch of opportunities to do more public speaking after speaking at that conference. I feel like I was living my high school dream of being a pop star, even though I can’t sing. It was very cool.

So, I applied to TEDx because there’s always a bunch near you. I saw the one in Kanata had an open call for speakers. You basically submit an online proposal, and at that time, I was working on ocean plastics. I had also just come off of a trip to the Maldives, where I was doing a lot of work on ocean plastics there. I wrote a proposal on ocean plastics, and I got an email saying, “We’ve chosen your proposal to come audition in-person,” and I was like, Holy SHIT. ‘Cause they got over 400 written proposals, and they chose like 20 of us to come audition in-person.

I drove to Ottawa by myself. I did my presentation— my audience. It was super nerve-wracking ‘cause you only have five minutes to do the audition. I remember I was doing my slides the night before ‘cause I hate PowerPoint. I hate making slides. If I had it my way, I would just speak and not have visuals. But the nature of what I do requires visuals to drive home what you’re talking about. The visuals are so important, but PowerPoint is going to be the death of me. So, I remember doing this and feeling sick. I could not talk. But I showed up to the audition with the worst voice ever, and the people before me were so amazing and brilliant. I was like, Okay, I’m not gonna get this. I sound awful, but I’m just gonna have fun with it. So I grabbed the mic and made a joke about how I was so sick and that my voice was awful.

I did the audition and was like, Alright, that went well. But I totally did not expect to hear back because everyone else was way, WAY more impressive than I was. I felt so out of my league and I was also the youngest one who spoke at the event because I was 22 at the time. And I got an email a few weeks later saying that they had selected me to be one of the eight speakers at the event. It was so cool and so amazing! It was my first “adult” professional experience.

We were assigned a speaking coach, and I felt so professional because I took the train to Kanata two or three times before the event to meet with three other speakers and practice our speeches. You only had a max of 15 minutes, so it had to be less than 15 minutes. I remember feeling so unprepared during the sessions. Everyone seemed to have theirs done well in advance, and I was just feeling super underprepared and out of my league. But it was a really cool experience to meet with the speaking coach and the other great speakers.

The day of came, and it was so cool. I remember I was going second last, which wasn’t supposed to happen. Originally, I was going first, which I was like, Oh, they don’t like my talk as much. So I’m gonna go first and everyone’s gonna forget about it by the end. But then a few days before, they switched the order and pout me second last. I was like, What the hell? Now I have to sit through everybody else’s great talks and then go at the end. I was really nervous about that. But the day of, I wasn’t nervous at all and thought it was cool and everyone was doing awesome. We did rehearsals in the morning, and it was my first time wearing a mic. I felt so official with my headset on.

Then right before my talk, they take you into this green room to get you mic’d up. So I’m sitting in the room— just me, my speaking coach, and the guy going after me. It suddenly hit me that I’m about to go talk into a room of 500 people. You’re not allowed to have notes or anything like that. You have slides, but it’s not in front of you. So you have to just go off of memory. I was in the room like, Holy shit, what the hell am I doing? That was the first time I was nervous about it. I was shaking and freaking out. They did my intro and I made it on stage— and didn’t fall, which I was very nervous about. It went really well, I think. The video looks cool now, and it was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. I’m really glad I got the opportunity to do it. It was valuable life-wise and professionally— meeting people, working on a speech for months and memorizing it. It also taught me a lot about knowing my shit because, on the Internet, you can get away with a lot. But when you’re speaking to a roomful of people about what you do, it becomes very obvious when you don’t know what you’re talking about. It really taught me a lot about really knowing the ins and outs of what you’re saying because you can’t get away with anything when you’re standing in a room full of 500 people.

EL: What’s been the highlight of your career thus far?

ED: The TEDx thing was up there for the longest time. But in November, I received a national award [the Science Policy Award of Excellence – Youth Category] for a policy recommendation that I submitted to the Canadian Science Policy Centre about how to eliminate seafood fraud in Canada. It’s a tie— winning that award and the TEDx Talk were equally as important to me and valuable, and really cool experiences. Winning that award was really pivotal to my career, I guess. It just came at such a weird time. I was kind of in a weird place where I had a lot of close colleagues and people I respected tell me that I wasn’t cut out for grad school. My ego was really deflated, and I was like, What the hell am I doing? I vividly remember writing this policy proposal. I was like, Ugh, this is so much work. I shouldn’t even submit this. It’s a national competition— I’m not gonna win. But I did it while totally not expecting to win. So when I did win, it was validating. I’ve described it as validating to everybody that I’ve talked to about it because it was a really weird time where people were telling me I wasn’t cut out for grad school and I wasn’t a good researcher. Basically, I was feeling like I wasn’t smart enough. So to win an award solely on something that I had written— an intellectual and academic contribution that I had made— was really validating. It was just really cool to be recognized by that community when I was feeling so weird about it.

The policy proposal was about seafood fraud, which is kind of like what my research is in. So, it’s kinda helped put my name into the ring of the seafood world and let people know what I’m up to. It’s a passionate policy, and it was really cool.

EL: What topics do you wish to cover on your blog that you haven’t yet brought up?

ED: I think I have slightly touched on this on my blog in the past, but not as much as I’d like to. But I would love to talk more about the realities of being an entrepreneur or starting an online business. I know I’ve written stuff about blogging and how to start a log and things like that. But writing a little more about what that looks like day-to-day— because I don’t think a lot of people know what goes into it. Working online, working from home— I feel like a lot of people are like, “Okay, but…what’s your REAL job?” “What do you ACTUALLY do?” It’s weird! So, what it looks like and what goes on day-to-day. It’s a grind— it’s a hustle. You’re working, but then you’re working to get the work. You’re working to get jobs. There’s so much more! You have to have a certain spirit and resilience to do this. I wouldn’t trade it for the world— the benefits far outweigh the hard work that you put in. It’s all worth it. But I would like to talk about that route.

I’ve run into so many people in my life who’ve been so conditioned to do things a certain way— go to university, get a 9 to 5. If you stray away from that course, you’re weird. I want to write more or do videos about that. I want to stress that this is normal— chase your dreams and do what you want! This “box” doesn’t need to be for everybody!

EL: What do you hope comes next for Airplanes & Avocados?

ED: I actually did a really big rebrand. I’m in the process of doing my entire website, my logo— giving everything a facelift. It finally launched recently, and my plan is to take more of a critical focus on sustainability aspects. Again, going back to this idea of personal reflection on consumption and contribution to environmental issues. Travel writing is fun— I love it, it’s awesome. Anybody can write about the top 10 things to do in Toronto. I’ve done that, and those posts go viral easily. They rank high on SEO, people like to read them, they’re easy. But the whole reason I started writing on my own website and not for other people’s websites is because I wanted to write what I wanted to write. I wanted to write things that weren’t easy to read, I wanted to challenge ideas and I wanted to be critical of conceptions and things like that. With this rebrand, I think a lot more of a critical lens to the things that I’ve talked about— even being critical of myself and things I’ve written in the past. I want to be more mindful and write some harder-hitting pieces that are more researched, in-depth and longer in length. I get that it’s not going to be for everybody, and I might be taking a huge by axing those short, easy to consume top 10 bits. But again, I’m really passionate about writing stuff that matters and giving you something to think about while also being a beneficial resource. That’s the big area I’m going into.

There are also side projects in the works, a potential podcast/video project that’ll hopefully be launching in the spring that focuses on the intersection of food systems and sustainability— specifically in a seafood lens. We’re thinking about going really in-depth one-hour podcasts about a specific issue, such as seafood fraud, overfishing, how to purchase sustainable fish— things like that. Then pairing that with a 15-minute video segment geared toward cooking fish. So for seafood fraud— the only way to know that you’re buying the fish that you think you are is by buying the head of it. People don’t do that because they don’t know how to cook fish with its head. So it’d be an hour-long podcast talking about seafood fraud, and then a 15-minute video on how to cook fish. We’d be digging deeper into these sustainability issues.

Also, I want to focus more on the professional development, business side of blogging— and potentially with that comes a few projects around the theme of online courses and such. Develop a curriculum to understand what goes into this business, figure out if it’s for them, and then build a business because I totally didn’t do any of those courses. Looking back, I kinda wish I did because it’d be a lot more helpful than figuring everything out. I want to build something that’s not gimmicky, but actually helpful and appropriate for people who want to work for themselves instead of 9 to 5.

EL: Aside from your blog, where else can people check you out?

ED: Airplanesandavocados.com is the blog. My Instagram is @airplanesandavocados. I’m also very active on Twitter, which I realize is sort of a dying art. But I love Twitter, and it’s @airplaneavocado. I do have a professional website that’s EmilyDeSousa.com that’s a broader look into my other work. There’s also YouthActiononClimate.com for the mentorship program to see what the future of tomorrow looks like.

***

xo,

Elizabeth

Published by Elizabeth Sarah Larkin

Freelance Writer & Social Media Manager

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