Eco Warrior—Yadira Hernandez
Please tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Yadira Hernandez, Texas born and raised in a small crossroad town called Hearne, TX.
Fortunate for me, the town neighbors a larger city area of Bryan/College Station where I currently attend
Texas A&M University. After my last courses in Summer 2020, I will be on my way graduating with a
bachelor’s in Environmental Studies. My future goals involve expanding my knowledge and commitment
to building a more sustainable future through a position that allows me to continue advocating and
reaching out to communities about environmental issues and sustainable living.
Please tell us a little bit about the straw-less and lidless initiative you have tried to implement on campus,
why was this important to you?
The “Going Strawless Campaign” with University Dining at Texas A&M started off as an idea. An idea that
could help not only reduce plastic waste at dining locations but change the way we think about how we
generate waste on our college campus. as a campus community.
It took a collective effort and we had to pull resources from inside and outside the normal office
connections to get a full perspective on how this initiative was to be possible. Initial plans of the campaign
involved a ban on plastic straws and lids at most campus retail locations because dining halls were
already strawless. But after reaching out to multiple outlets across campus and with meaningful
reconsideration, we decided retail locations would have a “straws and lids upon request” policy. Locations
will have to continue serving straws and lids because a ban would completely ignore people who rely on
plastic straws and/or lids on a daily basics whether from disabilities or other living conditions.
The strawless campaign is important to me because it is only the start of a more sustainable way of being
and living on campus. It can be agreed that plastic straws and lids take only minor impacts on the planet
and in oceanic waste, yet that can only be said in a short time span. Imagine 10 or more years after the
campaign has launched, how else could the campaign have grown or what other campaigns and ideas
could be having been inspired to build greater change. It is about new beginnings that may seem small at
first but with time, it can create wider more opportunities in the long run.
Based off all that you have seen on the job, what is one eco-tip you would like others to pick up on?
My favorite go-to tip to living a more sustainable lifestyle is to always try to use the things you already
have and use it as many times as you can. That may mean investing into more durable materials that can
last longer than everyday disposable items or having an interest in buying used items that we can help
last even longer. It can even be the smallest or simplest of things because no matter the degree of effort,
anything can make an impact.
I would be inaccurate to continue with my personal sustainable lifestyle tips without acknowledging how
the global pandemic of COVID-19 has affected the world of sustainability. Now more than ever, people
are pausing on sustainable actions because the safety, security, and health of one and one’s family has
been placed in serious risk. In the most compassionate way, this is how the response should be but
temporarily. Sustainable goals cannot be accomplished on a fragmented foundation, yet times like these
can be a time we can reevaluate our values and our lifestyles. It is like the world has clicked paused on
the normal routine but before we hit play again, we must ask ourselves, how can I serve to better this
world? How can I change where I am able to when others cannot? This pandemic has shown now more
than ever how connected we truly are as one planet. A concept the goals of sustainability has always
promoted. How this world is a shared world and we must act together to keep it safe. The lessons of
sustainability reveal itself even clearer: collective efforts and working together can truly get us through
any obstacle to be able to secure a sustainable future.