Welcome to our first HEALer Highlight, a monthly profile of some of HEAL’s incredible, dedicated supporters!
April’s HEALer Highlight: Ryan!
HEAL: How did you first find HEAL?
Ryan: I first found out about HEAL when I was looking for potential summer internships after graduating from undergrad. Unfortunately, the timeline didn’t match up for the internship, but Noah, HEAL’s Grassroots Organizer, was still extremely friendly and suggested I come to the community night at Fisher Brewery and figure out other ways to get involved.
HEAL: What type of volunteering have you done with HEAL?
Ryan: I’ve mostly helped table for HEAL at farmers markets, but I’ve also helped by phone banking and staffing various events like the Fall Party and the Environmental Justice workshop held during climate week.
HEAL: What’s been your favorite HEAL event?
Ryan: Definitely the Environmental Justice workshop! It was a great opportunity to learn more about how environmental justice looks in Utah, and what issues our communities are facing.
HEAL: What suggestions do you have for people thinking about volunteering?
Ryan: Get to know the staff! The staff has been what makes me keep coming back to volunteer. Everyone is super friendly and fun to spend time with!
HEAL: How has your involvement in HEAL impacted other parts of your life (if it has)?
Ryan: My involvement with HEAL has shown me the importance of local non-profits in shaping local conversations about climate change – which is especially important here in Utah. We need grassroots organization to show our legislatures how important clean air and a healthy environment is to this community.
HEAL: Favorite things about living in Utah?
Ryan: Utah has such a unique political, social, and physical landscape that provides for so many interesting environmental issues! I also just love the proximity to the beautiful mountains!
HEAL: What’s on your Utah bucket list still?
Ryan: I still need to learn how to ski! I only went once when I was really little, and I need to try it again.
HEAL: What do you think the most important personal action is to help improve our environment?
Ryan: Personally, I think it’s a toss-up between using alternative modes of transportation and eating green. I’ve committed myself to living car-free, and almost solely rely on public transportation to get around the valley. While it can be daunting, especially when I’m trying to get from the Avenues to Sandy for a Utah Royals soccer game, I choose to support public transit and UTA in hopes that increased transit use will result in more funding and a better transit network.
HEAL: What makes a good advocate?
Ryan: I think that a good advocate has to be patient. Often times we’ll be met with opposition or with people who simply don’t know about climate issues, and it’s important to slow down and meet people where they’re at. By focusing on how climate change can impact our daily lives and relating to others’ personal experiences, we can start to break down some of the communication barriers caused by the politicization of climate change.
HEAL: What are you most looking forward to in 2019?
Ryan: I’m hoping to move closer to downtown, so I can live the true urban lifestyle! I’d love to be able to walk/bike everywhere I go, and I’m hoping I can make that happen.