In most of these posts a similar theme has reverberated across these pixels on your screen: animals are suffering usually due to human involvement. We either are directly killing them or indirectly harming them through destroying their food resources, contaminating their water, or reducing their habitat (none of which are mutually exclusive). That’s why an “army” of environmentalists are needed. One of the most acclaimed environmentalists for her unique method of bringing about awareness is none other than the model, spokewoman, TV host, and acclaimed author of Style, Naturally, Summer Rayne Oakes. This gorgeous Ivy Leaguer has researched toxins in sewage sludge, trekked out in the rainforest, studied entomology, and mapped invasive species. She has made fashion coincident with environmentalism and is off changing the world.
Here is a little video to get to know her fearlessly “buggy” side:
Summer is a key link to uniting our animal-aiding efforts with the environment. She’s combined her modeling with environmental science to bring about the successful conconction of greenness we see in her and her work today. Get to know Summer and her ongoing projects through this exclusive “Gabby Wild Meets Summer Rayne Oaks Interview”.
GW: What were your initial goals when you first began “modeling on a mission” in 2001?
SRO: The fashion industry initially appealed to me because I felt it had an excellent platform that could be utilized to communicate environmental issues to a wider audience – and no one was really doing it at the time. My initial foray into the industry largely focused on partnering with eco-fashion brands and Organic Portraits (http://www.organicportraits.com/who.htm), which was an avant-garde art project focused on ecological awareness and conservation.
GW: How do you think your vision has evolved over the years?
SRO: I’ll always be interested in creatively communicating love for the environment to new audiences, but my vision has grown, as has people’s appetite for wanting to do well by doing good. I’m more interested in helping build infrastructure and social enterprises so that people have the ability to participate in the vision.
GW: What programs do you love to work on?
SRO: I tend to like to work on high-impact programs that really move me. Most often it’s around ecosystem conservation and sustainable development, which is essentially responsible and scalable job creation. If the community is not working and not on board then you’ll have a hard time saving ecosystems.
GW: Could you tell our readers some specific projects you have done or are currently undertaking.
SRO: For the past six years I’ve been working with the Mezimbite Forest Centre in Mozambique, which is focused on restorative forest planting and high-quality job creation. Rainforest Action Network approached me a year and a half ago to work on their Indonesian forest campaign; and in a few months I’ll be heading back up to British Columbia to work with a few friends on a campaign around the Sacred Headwaters, which has come under siege from oil drilling. At the end of the year, I’ll be traveling through Madagascar with CPALI to see silk rearers and uncover alternatives to slash-and-burn, which plagues all parts of the African continent.
GW: Through habitat conservation we can help protect the wildlife that lives there. I’ve read reports that rainforests used to cover approximately 14% of the earth’s land surface and now appear to only range over 6%. At this rate we may lose our last patches of rainforest within 40 years. Thus statistics have suggested that we are losing 137 plant, animal, and insect species every day. This would mean that we loose 50,000 species a year! Can you give us reasons why these rainforests are being cut down?
SRO: We are losing forests at precipitous rates due to a rapacious need for resources. In Africa it was largely due to slash-and-burn and the need for charcoal or firewood for cooking, but now it’s largely due to unsustainable demand for wood resources in China. In Indonesia, almost all forests and peatlands are destroyed for paper pulp and palm oil, the latter being used in everything from beauty products to foodstuffs. The Amazon is clearing of land for agriculture. In Canada, it’s for wood resources and oil exploration.
GW: What can the everyday guy and gal do to help?
SRO: Get to know what you put on and in your bodies. And if you have the chance, get involved in a cause you care about.
GW: What is your favourite mammal and arthropod?
SRO: Raccoons. Giant African millipedes.
GW: What is the wildest exotic adventure story you have experienced?
SRO: The End of Bees film where I had placed thousands of honeybees on my body for a beauty shoot and story on Colony Collapse Disorder.
GW: Any other films you are working on?
SRO: I’m in production of an environmental abstract art short called Extinction. It’s a visual journey based on a speech I have given where I highlight the most poignant environmental issues on the timeline of my life. Basically it shows the viewer that change is not just happening hundreds or thousands of years from now, but within our lifetime. The imagery we shot is remarkable and I hope the allegory to a young woman’s life really brings the message home.
As you can clearly tell, Summer Rayne Oakes isn’t only inspirational, she’s revolutionary.
Here is the link to Summer’s Teaser Trailer for her “End of Bees” film. What she does is incredible. Please note some nudity in this. She is respectful and in touch with nature completely and utterly. She embodies the fashion of G-d.
The wild brings such beauty, and thank the lucky stars we have such a magnificent woman bedecking in bees and frolicking in forests to get this point across.