Introduction What genres of voiceover (VO) do you work in? Why do you love being part of VO4TP? What motivated you to join VO4TP? What are 3 words your best friend would use to describe you? I specialize in voice overs that require a Flemish or Global English accent. My main focus is on commercials, […]

by  DIANA HOLGUIN

This month will be the anniversary of my 45th year on this planet. That’s a pretty long time. Enough to have learned a thing or two, forgotten some, and then had to relearn them. But of all the little bits of wisdom collected and knowledge acquired, I think the most valuable has been simply not being so hard on myself. Seems pretty basic, right? So basic and yet I’m pretty confident that you have also been too hard on yourself, at least once or twice.

Being hard on yourself can happen in all areas of life, but here I’ll address the realm of our personal sustainability and eco-friendly habits. If you’re reading this, I’d say you probably have some interest in saving the planet, and imperfect environmentalism is about all the little things we do to try and shift our habits to do less harm to the already hurting planet. This is one of the toughest areas to work on without being hard on yourself. But it’s not your fault!

The world around us is set up in a way that makes it nearly impossible to be perfect environmentalists with impeccable sustainability habits. Some of us fret over not having our reusable coffee cups on us when we need them, driving somewhere when we could have biked or taken public transportation, or scratching our heads wondering what can and can’t be recycled. And if we don’t fret then maybe we just give up altogether. This is too hard. I can’t do it. What’s the point, anyway? How much difference is one person going to make?

It’s frustrating, but being hard on ourselves when it comes to environmentalism isn’t our fault at all. Did you know oil companies have been thinking about this stuff since the 70s? According to an NPR article, one industry leader said that, “…selling recycling sold plastic, even if it wasn’t true.” So little of what we put in our recycling bins gets recycled and yet we feel the pressure to do it and do it… perfectly! Just like the oil and plastics industries, many have shifted the burden onto the shoulders of consumers as if we were the ones creating the problem. To quote Michael Grant, “We didn’t make this World, we’re just the poor fools who are living in it.”

So what’s the answer to all this? Aside from taking on oil and gas companies and all the other powers that directly put profits over our planet?

Just do what you can! And do it consistently and imperfectly. Tell your family and friends that you are imperfect AND you care about the planet enough to try on different sustainability habits; that might inspire them to try too. Our society’s expectations are set so high for any individual regarding environmentalism, beauty, success, [insert any area of life]. Trying to be perfect is completely unsustainable.

So with that, I leave you with some imperfect sustainability swaps and tips from our talented, planet-loving, tree-hugging voiceover roster. We admit we aren’t perfect but we try and we fail and we try again… because we care.

  • Dani tries hard not to buy berries in the ubiquitous plastic clamshell packaging but sometimes it’s the only way they’re sold.
  • Anne tries not to use the super energy-consuming dryer by line drying her laundry instead but hates how long it takes to hang.
  • Andy sometimes forgets to bring reusable produce bags when grocery shopping but when they have no choice and have to use them they make an effort to repurpose and reuse them.
  • Serge suffers from the age-old struggle of forgetting the reusable grocery bags at home. Who hasn’t been there!?
  • Ally has recently started making a conscious effort to switch lights off around the house. This is a classic but often overlooked eco-friendly habit!
  • Kenita has switched to bamboo toilet paper and toothpaste tablets. Sustainable and plastic-free!
  • Jay struggles to find sustainable and eco-conscious athletic and running attire so for now he tends to use the “big player” brands but is always on the lookout for better options.
  • Kari wants to compost but hasn’t taken the steps yet to put that into action. The VO4TP family has already volunteered to help her get started!
  • Joe hasn’t found a great replacement for regular ziploc bags so he and his family will wash and air dry them outside and reuse them until they inevitably break. The neighbors might think they’re weird but that won’t stop them!
  • I love to travel but I try to limit my airplane trips every year and I make every effort to only buy non-stop flights because as much as 50% of carbon emissions come from take-off and landing.

Perfection is the enemy of good and good is all we’re after because it’s better than nothing at all. If all of us do a good (not perfect) job at recycling, taking our reusable bags and produce bags when we go shopping, switching off lights when we leave the room, composting, being more mindful when (and if!) we shop, travel, eat and live, then we’ll all be better for it.

Sources:

How Big Oil Misled the Public into Believing Plastic Would be Recycled, NPR, September 11, 2020

Opinion: You are not the Problem – Climate Guilt is a Marketing Strategy, State of the Planet, Columbia Climate School, February 15, 2023

Find out more about Diana Holguin

Diana Holguin, Professional Voice Over Actor | Voice Over for the PlanetIntroduction

What genres of voiceover (VO) do you work in? Why do you love being part of VO4TP? What motivated you to join VO4TP? What are 3 words your best friend would use to describe you?

My name is Diana Holguin and I’ve been a fulltime bilingual voiceover talent working in Spanish and English for the last 6 years. My main genres of work are commercials, explainers, elearning and corporate and my dream is to voice something for NatGeo or Discovery.

I love a lot of things about being part of VO4TP – The chance to work with fellow voiceover talent who all really care about the future of out planet is really motivating. I love that we are all committed to helping businesses and environmental organizations to do better, get exposure and obtain donations to do good, important work. I’ve been an amateur environmentalist for as long as I can remember! I used to ask my mom to donate to WWF and Greenpeace in my name when I was a tween then I became co-head of the environmental club at my high school and now I’m constantly looking for ways to be kinder to the planet. Needless to say that being a founding member of VO4TP is 100% in character for me.

3 words that my best friend would use to describe me: kind, loyal, generous

Additional Work Insights

What aspects of your job bring you the most joy? How did you get started as a voice actor? If you hadn’t pursued voice acting, what career path might you have explored instead?

I get the most joy from voicing projects that truly align with my values. If I can make even a tiny impact, that makes it more than just a “job”. The idea that my voice can potentially reach so many people and maybe make a difference in their purchasing habits, eating habits, anything that might plant the seed to create change really matters and it adds up. I also love when people tell me they’ve heard my voice somewhere! I feel very fortunate that I’m at a point in my career where I can be more selective about the auditions and jobs I accept and if they do not align with my values then I’m happy to pass.

I got started as a voice actor by chance. I grew up acting and singing but by the time I left high school I left that behind and focused on preparing for “a real job”. In 2008 I moved back to Colombia and a friend asked if I could record a voiceover for a video he was producing. I agreed and the moment I stepped into the recording booth I felt at home. I began looking into voiceover more and more until I reached the point where I could go full time. That was just about 6 years ago!

If I hadn’t pursued voice acting I honestly could have ended up anywhere! I had so many jobs in my 20s and 30s. I was in the process of applying to be a Foreign Service Office for the US Department of State at one point. I opened a boutique translation agency with a friend in Bogotá. I taught English and translated full time for USAID. I have a degree in Culinary Arts, a BA in Restaurant Business, a Masters in Gastronomy, and a specializtion in International Development and Project Management. I wrote a successful food blog and had a food tour agency in Bogotá. I am very lucky to have found voiceover because I love it and it allows me to be a part of and learn about so many different topics that interest me in addition to giving me the flexibility to pursue other passions like brazilian drumming, birdwatching and cooking.

The Business Side

How do you manage your schedule and prioritize projects? In what ways has being a part of VO4TP challenged or changed your day to day business? What is it like working in a collaborative group like VO4TP?

Having a job with flexibility is tricky for me. I do love it but sometimes I crave more structure so I just have to try and create it for myself. My inbox often dictates my schedule depending on how many auditions I have pending or if clients need something from me like pickups, contracts signed, tax forms submitted, sessions scheduled, etc. As most voice over talent will tell you, we wear many hats. There is the administrative portion, the marketing aspect, the performance, the client manager, the bookkeeper, and so much more. It’s definitely not boring and there is always something to be done so it’s important to set boundaries and know when to rest and not feel guilty about it.

VO4TP has added more work, of course, but it means more to me than many other projects in my day to day business so it’s something I welcome with open arms. I know that our hard work will pay off and I’m so excited to see what the future holds for our collective.

I also really enjoy working in a collaborative group like VO4TP because I generally don’t get to collaborate too much with others on a day to day basis. Building something from the ground up is very rewarding and we are a great group of people from different backgrounds and with different skill sets so it’s really been fun. It’s also comforting to work with really nice folks who share a lot of my passions and values.

Environmentalism

Which organizations are you most passionate about giving to with your time and money? Any great tips on being sustainable in your work and/or life? How do you stay informed/inspired/educated about environmental issues? Got any great resources you want to share?

I’m constantly on the lookout for organizations that are doing great work. Many of them are food related like The City Harvest here in NYC or World Central Kitchen, which help provide food for those in need either due to food insecurity or natural disasters or any other event that would make it difficult for people to access nutritious food. I am also a huge animal lover and eat a plant based diet so organizations like Educated Choices Program mean a lot to me. When I am in VT I love volunteering at a horse rescue up there called Gerda’s Equine Rescue. Other organizations I currently support are Seeding Sovereignty that works in food sovereignty, community building and cultural preservation with a focus on indigenous communities and issues of social justice.

Some tips for being more sustainable are to eat less animal products, find as many swaps as possible for single use plastics, use public transportation, walk or bike as much as possible, compost, get involved and volunteer at a local environmental organization, be more mindful and stop buying cr*p, think of buying secondhand or refurbished items first … I could go on and on.

I follow several Instagram accounts that keep me informed about different environmental issues like Commons, Intersectional Environmentalist, Queer Brown Vegan, PattieGonia, and 1% for the Planet, of course! I definitely make it a point to find and listen to voices from many different backgrounds in regards to environmental issues.

For Fun

If you could have any animal as a pet (real or mythical), what would it be and why? What is the most adventurous activity you have ever done, and how did it change your perspective? Imagine you’re creating a playlist for a road trip through the world’s most beautiful landscape. First, where would you be, and second, what would be the first song on your playlist?

If I could have any pet(s) I would have them all but if I had to choose just one I would probably have a donkey – they are so freaking cute! Those ears! I’d also have one of each of the animals I no longer eat, preferably rescued. A cow, a chicken, a pig, and a little lamb and give them the best life possible.

One fo the most adventurous things I’ve done so far was trekking through El Cocuy National Park in Colombia. It was the most awe inspiring and humbling experience I’ve ever had in the wild. I saw the magnificence of the Andes mountain range in person and also saw how climate change is affecting that natural environment. Even in these seemingly untouched and remote landscapes, the effects of our modern world are still evident. It was absultuely stunning but also hear wrenching to think that places like that might not exist in the same way in just a few decades.

I’m going to swap the road trip for a train trip though the Canadian Rockies because I’ve been wanting to do that for a while now and I want to travel by train more because it’s so romantic and better for the planet! The first song on my playlist would be No Surpises by Radiohead.

Learn more about Diana Holguin

Having had the unique opportunity to live on both sides of the Atlantic, I’ve observed firsthand the differing attitudes and practices towards environmental consciousness in the USA and the EU.

by Serge De Marre

Through my lens, I hope to shed light on the question: Who is more environmentally conscious?

Walkability: The European Advantage

European cities, with their compact urban planning, naturally lend themselves to walkability. The short distances and well-designed city centers encourage walking, reducing the reliance on cars. Contrast this with American cities, where expansive urban sprawl often makes car ownership not just a convenience but a necessity.

Public Transportation: A Clear Divide

The public transport systems in Europe are not only extensive but are embraced by all levels of society. Trains, metros, and buses form the backbone of urban and intercity travel. In the US, however, public transportation is often viewed as the last resort for those without car access. Cities like Houston are making efforts to improve, but resistance from car-centric cultures and infrastructural challenges persist.

Cycling and Sidewalk Infrastructure

Biking in European cities is not only facilitated by extensive bike lanes but also by a culture that respects cyclists. Sidewalks, well-maintained and ubiquitous, ensure that pedestrian travel is safe and enjoyable. This sharply contrasts with my experiences in Houston, where the cycling infrastructure faces significant challenges. Bike lanes are sporadic and often meet with opposition, while sidewalks can be in a state of disrepair or, surprisingly, even occupied by parked cars, further complicating pedestrian movement. This practice of parking on sidewalks not only highlights the dominance of car culture but also reflects a broader challenge in American cities, where the infrastructure and societal norms do not always support sustainable modes of transportation.

3 Sidewalks

The Automobile Dichotomy

The preference for smaller cars in Europe is evident, aligning with a greater environmental awareness and the practicalities of narrower streets. Meanwhile, the American love affair with large SUVs and trucks, often classified as “compact” by European standards, underscores a different set of values and lifestyle choices.

Grocery Shopping: A Bag for Every Item?

European grocery shopping habits also reveal a deeper consciousness towards waste reduction. The norm of packing items into a single reusable bag starkly contrasts with the American practice where convenience often leads to excessive plastic bag use, especially when I forget my reusable bag at home in Houston.

Final Thoughts

The question of who is more environmentally conscious isn’t about pointing fingers but understanding and learning from each other’s practices. It’s clear that both the USA and the EU have their strengths and areas for improvement. As someone who has lived in both regions, I believe the path to greater environmental sustainability lies not just in policies and infrastructure but in fostering a culture of awareness and responsibility

If you’d like to read more about this subject, here are some interesting articles:

Learn more about Serge De Marre