Activist and influencer Valeria Hinojosa talks to People CHICA about her soulful journey to a more sustainable lifestyle and what we can do to help the burning Amazon and our planet.

By Lena Hansen
August 28, 2019 06:32 PM

Prior to becoming an activist and conscious influencer, Valeria Hinojosa was pursuing a career as a private banker. "I chased this dream for five years only to realize, halfway through, that my soul and essence were being consumed and numbed by the greed and ego of that industry," she tells People CHICA. That's when she created, five years ago, @Waterthruskin, "a platform about a lifestyle with a conscience, with the goal of showing my readers that we can all enjoy life to the fullest while living in synchrony with nature and our people."

There the Bolivian beauty, who has over 129,000 followers, regularly posts about eco-friendly hotels, sustainable and ethical fashion, veganism, yoga and mindfulness. Her recent posts have been focused on the fires raging through the Amazon rainforest, with videos raising awareness and guiding followers on how to help and where to donate. "We are currently in a critical situation where more than 1.5 million hectares of pure nature - more than 19 times the size of New York City - have disappeared, and our government has yet to declare a national disaster for Bolivia to open its doors to international help," she says. "Without that type of aid, we can't put these fires out. Our firemen and volunteers don't have the equipment nor the resources to achieve this themselves. They are tired, sick, and we need all the help we can get."

Hinojosa says everyone should feel deeply impacted by the Amazon crisis and take action. "I am no scientist nor biologist. I'm just a human being who discovered the power and magic of nature when she was little, and reconnected with it five years ago after a decade of being numbed and blinded by society's vision of what life is all about," she says. "Nature is what connects and unites us all. If one part of it gets affected, the entire world suffers. Right now, the Amazon is burning and being destroyed by the second. We are talking about thousands of animals and trees -t hat absorb CO2 and release oxygen - being annihilated from our planet. Ecosystems being completely wiped out in a matter of days. If we don't act now, it will take us centuries to recover what is being lost."

She adds that not only Bolivians and Brazilians should be concerned about the fires, but the entire human race. "I'm not only focusing my platforms on covering the reality of Bolivia and the Amazon because I'm Bolivian. It does not matter where we are from," she emphasizes. "I've put my entire life on hold to dedicate my energy to talk about this because, sadly, nature does not have a voice and every single action we take as humans and consumers has an impact. It has led us to the crisis we are facing today."

Courtesy of Valeria Hinojosa

What can we do to stop this cycle of destruction? First, take a stance and stop ignoring the Amazon crisis. "I think it's a combination of blindness and a lack of information. It's truly easy for us humans to see what's going on in our world and expect someone else to do something about while we sit comfortably on our couches at home," she reflects. "People have yet to realize the negative impact their actions have on our environment, from their diets and shopping habits to the people they elect as presidents of their countries."

Courtesy of Valeria Hinojosa

She recommends first getting informed, watching documentaries about the crucial importance of protecting nature and using our voices. "If there's something social media has shown me and my country in the past few days is the power we have when we use our platforms consciously," she says. "We get to unite and roar louder." Besides sharing, reposting and tweeting videos and news clips of the Amazon - and donating to organizations that are helping the rainforest - Hinojosa says it's crucial to change our daily habits to become are more eco-friendly and conscious consumers.

"Every action, even the tiniest ones, has an impact. Our goal in life should focus on making this impact a positive one," she adds. "Thinking about nature and those around us before acting, before purchasing, before speaking. Actions become habits and conscious habits transform us and the world. Reshaping our diet towards a more plant-based one should be our priority. It helps preserve land, water, animals and the air we breathe."

Courtesy of Valeria Hinojosa

Living sustainably took some real changes in her life. "For me, it was a 180-degree transformation. I became more aware of my actions as a consumer. Reading labels and researching brands before supporting them with my shopping habits. Reducing my plastic consumption and transitioning into a vegan diet five years ago," she says. "Every little and big action towards consciousness. From the bamboo toothbrush and reusable water bottle I use, to offsetting my flight's CO2 emissions and only staying at eco-friendly hotels, to supporting Rainforest Alliance–certified brands and B Corporations, and using my life as an example to inspire others. I pretty much changed my entire lifestyle and the way I view life and nature. Best decision I've ever made!"

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