Net-Zero Hero: Bryony Gomez-Palacio
I’m helping make Austin Net-Zero by creating a lifestyle for my kids where they don’t really think twice about making the greener choice.
Austin is green and we all want to keep it that way! As a community, we’re committed to reaching the target of Net-Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which will ensure a safe, healthy, vibrant Austin for many years to come. Here’s the story of how one person can make a difference.
Meet Bryony Gomez-Palacio, co-founder of UnderConsideration LLC, a graphic design and publishing firm whose work includes the blog Brand New. She contributes to Austin's Net-Zero goal in several ways, including recycling, composting, riding her bike, and walking instead of driving. Born and raised in Mexico City, Bryony is committed to raising her children to respect the planet in the same way that she and her five siblings were brought up. We spoke with Bryony on how she does it, what her toughest challenges have been, and what advice she has for others looking to live Net-Zero. Read more below.
Lucky for me, I was brought up in what I call a “crunchy-granola” household where reusing, recycling, composting, walking, biking, and growing food in a home garden was part of our everyday life.
I went back to my roots and dug a little deeper and educated myself a little bit more, something I continue to do. I’ve taught my kids to think about their choices and choose the best option. Are you going somewhere close? Of course you should bike. You have trash? Of course it should be recycled or composted if possible – or maybe you can use it for something else. With a mindful understanding of the importance of caring for themselves, others, and the world at large, their selections and choices as they grow up should come easy. My girls, now 6 and 9, have become one with this way-of-life in a conscious and accountable way, that’s become second-nature.
Early on, going places with babies and toddlers when it was very hot. The last place we lived in was Brooklyn, so when I realized we had a library four blocks away I was ecstatic. But I quickly realized that walking those four blocks with a double stroller, pushing a baby and a toddler who are covered in sweat in 100-degree weather makes for the longest four blocks ever. Summer in Austin isn’t any easier to deal with!
To see my kids face challenges and choices and instinctively make good decisions. Even if one of them is a bit of a hoarder for any recyclable that she can use for “a future project.”
Start with small goals. Drive less. Recycle more. Purchase items that use less packaging. And give each a month or 6 months to take a good hold before fully embracing a second, larger goal. It will help you figure out what works and what doesn’t much faster and with less stress.
Eliminating half of your car trips through biking, walking,
or public transit can reduce your personal carbon footprint by over 30%. Every action counts!
To learn more about Austin's Net-Zero Goal, view the Community Climate Plan.
Share your Net-Zero contributions with us on Twitter or Facebook and use #NetZeroHero. If you know a Net-Zero Hero who should be recognized for their efforts, send your nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org.