New Water Hub Communications Associate Briget Arndell shares her journey and connection to environmental justice work.
What’s your name, pronouns, and title?
Briget Arndell, she/her, Communications Associate
Where do you call home?
Home is within me — home is a feeling and it’s wherever I feel or have felt safe. I was born in Pomona, California, and bounced around between three Southern California cities (Pomona, Montclair, Ontario) and Phoenix, Arizona. In adulthood, I grew and healed in places like Santa Barbara, New York City and Los Angeles. Currently, I’m finding home in Los Angeles, the ancestral land of the Tongva, Tataviam, Kish, and Chumash peoples, living with my niece, cousin, cats, and plants.
What brought you to this work and why does water matter to you?
Playing outside in nature, drinking out of the water hose, and eating off trees is what my childhood looked like. This connection to the land instilled a passion within me that I grew up striving to protect. In my adulthood, I’ve consistently been in close proximity to rivers and oceans, so water has become a nurturing aspect of my life. Water is where I go for reassurance, reflection, and guidance. Water is our lifeline, after all –– it is a human right and there’s no greater issue or sense of urgency worth fighting for than water rights and justice. Working on these issues with the Water Hub has felt full circle because when I decided I wanted to commit my life to environmental justice and pursue environmental studies for college, the very first scholarship I received was from the water conservation district in the area I grew up in. This is my destiny!
What would the world be better with more of?
Gardens. I believe the world would be better if we had more personal and communal gardens. I believe understanding nature’s life cycle is an important part of being human and so many of us are disconnected from it. Everything in nature (humans included) is connected and you learn that by getting to know plants. How are people supposed to care about something they don’t understand? Imagine if food deserts didn’t exist and every community was growing their own food. How much happier would people be if a basic part of life (eating/hunger) was not something to stress over every day? It would free up mental and emotional space for people to care about other things like their mental health and protecting the air, land, and water they depend on. “Nature gives us everything for free,” says a Yanomami chief, “all that nature asks in return is that we protect it.”
What did you do before you came to the Water Hub?
Prior to joining the Water Hub team, I was focused on outdoor equity and community development while running communications and impact metrics for Community Nature Connection. Before that, I was working in the just energy transition movement at GRID Alternatives bringing solar power and affordable utility bills to low-income renters in Los Angeles. Prior to joining the climate movement, I was in higher education, assisting college students interested in social and environmental justice issues to get engaged through service-learning opportunities in New York City. Some affiliations include: UC Santa Barbara, New York University, City Year AmeriCorps, Catalina Environmental Leadership Program, Educational Opportunity Program, Outward Bound Adventures, and Environmental Professionals of Color in Los Angeles.
Where’s your happy place?
Enveloped in the sounds of nature, away from internal combustion engines. Be it forest, beach, desert… the serenity of nature makes me happy.
What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?
To start therapy. A mentor encouraged me to work through a challenging experience with a professional I connected with and it changed my life for the better.
We’d never guess that you…?
I’ve lived on three different islands (Catalina, Manhattan, Dominican Republic).
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