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Environmental activist and zero-waste artist Isabel Varela: Making spirituality and sustainability more accessible

Isabel Varela

Earth Day is coming up on Saturday, April 22nd. In celebration of the day, sustainable artist, activist, and life coach Isabel Varela guest posts here. Find out how she came to devote herself to such spiritual, eco-conscious work and the upcoming event she will host on April 15th in New York.

Sustainable artist, activist, and life coach Isabel Varela on making spirituality and sustainability accessible

Spirituality has become an intimidating, loaded concept. The practice, which is rooted in organic connection with nature and oneself, has somehow found its way into the business world – or rather, been forcibly placed there along with all of the other things that make us divine, sacred beings.

This transformation of natural earth into a manmade economy has negatively impacted many of us, and for me, that once looked like a severe addiction to consumerism – an addiction put in place to distract me from the spiritual being that lived within.

I moved to New York City ten years ago in pursuit of the fashion industry, and I was completely enamored by all things luxury. While I accomplished my dream of working in fashion, I also found myself to be severely unhappy, consistently unsatisfied with myself, and $100,000 in debt.

At the time, I felt trapped and terrified – like I’d never make it out of the hole I’d dug for myself and, more importantly, would never be happy with who I was. But eventually, I accomplished what I felt to be the impossible: I turned my life around and committed myself and my business to zero-waste, sustainability, and doing my part to take care of the environment around me.

As I moved through my career with this new intention, I worked hard to let it bleed into my work. I gave several presentations on my fashion addiction, spoke about the importance of upcycling, coached major organizations (like Bloomberg, Columbia University, F.I.T., Ford, and LVMH) on implementing sustainable practices, and was even named “Change Maker of the Year” by the New York Fair Trade Organization in 2019.

But eventually, I began to realize how important it was to not only continue my healing and speak on it but to use what I was learning to bring people together. I saw that, while many people had the intention of turning to spirituality, they were missing one vital factor: our intrinsic need for community.

Isabel Varela hosts Earth Day 2023 event
The Power of Nature and Healing Event for Earth Day 2023.

‘The Power of Nature and Healing’ event on April 15, 2023

This empowered me to create “The Power of Nature and Healing”: an Earth Day event that teaches the importance of working de-stressing tools into the midst of one of the biggest cities in the world. Nature has been instrumental in my personal self-love journey and is the medicine all of us need every single day.

This event will bring like-minded creatives together to celebrate our world: sharing with one another how important it is to step outside of our daily routines and access the peace we all deserve.

This can be as simple as stepping outside your front door to appreciate the sun and clouds passing by for a few moments; no matter how you approach it, it’s an essential tool to work into your life.

As a self-love coach and environmental activist, and artist, I’ve shared these practices with my clients for years. Now, I want to bring them to the rest of the world. You don’t need to be in a fancy gym or studio to love yourself: it turns out the simplest things in life can have the strongest power.

The Earth Day event will take place in the Central Park Ravine, a beautiful trail that was inspired by the Adirondack Mountains and an area that I explore almost every day. Our journey will begin with phones on airplane mode and shared tools for tapping into the present: being aware, lowering stress, and connecting with our intuitions.

Everyone will take away something different from the experience, but the main goal is a sense of rejuvenation – and an openness to exploring something new.

Connect with Isabel Varela online

To stay in tune with event updates, learn about future events, and keep in touch with my journey, follow me on Instagram @iamisabelvarela. Let’s walk this path together.

Find out more about Isabel Varela, including seeing examples of her artwork, at Isabel’s self-titled website.


Top photo: Meet Isabel Varela. Photo by Tim Francis.

22 thoughts on “Environmental activist and zero-waste artist Isabel Varela: Making spirituality and sustainability more accessible”

  1. Great article!
    Isabel Varela is on the pulse.
    Sustainability is THE issue now.
    You already know my Art Gowns are made of materials headed for land fill.
    I’ve changed the tagline to “Sustainable Glamour”!

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