Can social media change the world? Today’s guest, Alison Teal, hopes to have a positive impact and enact environmental and social change through her digital platforms. Also known as the “Female Indiana Jones,” Alison lives and works at the intersection of education and entertainment, an influencer and adventurer. Alison travels the world with her camera and her iconic pink surfboard to share global secrets of survival, sustainability, health, and happiness through her comedic and inspirational film and blog series: Alison’s Adventures. She has also just signed a book deal with Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, called Alison’s Adventures: Your Passport to the World.
In this episode, she shares with us how she made her social media debut, how she approaches her adventures, how she thinks about change, and how she is making a living during this time of COVID. She also speaks about how she reconciles with the scope of a problem, how she has adapted her strategies to be seen in today’s more algorithmic ecosystem, and how the pandemic has illustrated the need for us to live sustainably. Listen to this episode in full at one of the below links:
Key Points From This Episode
Reacting rather than waiting
When rain washed a torrent of plastic into the LA river, Alison hopped onto her paddleboard and dove right it. Her video subsequently inspired people to vote to ban plastic bags. Rather than calling government officials and asking how you can help, sometimes it’s more effective to jump straight in.
Giving people opportunities for collaboration
These big projects that people like Alison or Benjamin plan are not easy to acquire funding for. Bring people on that are looking for an opportunity, and work to understand what they can also gain from it if there isn’t much monetary reward. By not focusing on what you as the lone creator can gain from the project and instead focusing on everyone involved, you will build something even better.
The importance of sharing your own story
In today’s copy-culture TikTok dances and social media trends to try to become famous, the importance of originality feels lost. Sharing your own personal experiences is important because you never know who you’ll resonate with.
Remaining positive despite the threats
When you spend your life advocating to solve a problem like plastic pollution and you only watch the issue get worse, how do you remain motivated? For Alison, knowing that the human race will not survive if we don’t come together gives her faith that we’ll all come together in the end.
“I wanted to show [people], especially young girls, that you can be in pink, and you can be feminine, and you can go out there and you can still solve the mystery, and ride a big wave, or jump off a cliff or a bungee jump, you can climb tall trees, you can do epic things.” — @AlisonAdventure[0:03:01]
“I think you protect what you love, and if you see it, you believe it, and that’s what my goal has been is to show what is happening out of sight and out of mind.” — @AlisonAdventure[0:06:09]
“I think that [the pandemic] is going to show how much we need to learn to live sustainably, and the value of those people that know that.” — @AlisonAdventure[0:21:39]
“Everyone is born with a purpose, and you have to figure out what that purpose is, and if you don’t know what that purpose is, you just need to start doing, and talking to people, and trying things, and seeing what works. Don’t be afraid to fail, just try it.” — @AlisonAdventure[0:34:36]
“If you’re on the right track, you have to believe in the magic and then look to those people who can help point you in the passion direction.” — @AlisonAdventure[0:44:15]
Coming Up Next
Next week on the podcast we have guest Sarah Milne of the organization As You Sow. Sarah’s organization uses a technique called shareholder resolution to campaign for change within corporate environments. If you liked the episode on investments with Charly Kleissner, you’re bound to enjoy this one so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it!
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode
Alison Teal on Twitter
Alison Teal on Instagram
Alison Teal on YouTube
Alison’s Adventures: Your Passport to the World
Sarah Lee Photography
Benjamin Von Wong
As You Sow