Laura Bash: Regaining Optimism in Sustainability

Woman smiling while eating a snack against a green background.

Lauren Bash, AKA @relauren, is an environmentalist and sustainability content creator based in Los Angeles. She was born and raised near the ocean and developed an early affinity and deep respect for the open waters – which eventually led her to a career in sustainability and climate activism, along with working closely with the Surfrider Foundation on ocean conservation and the fight against offshore oil drilling.

Recently, TiNDLE teamed up with Lauren to bring further awareness to the connection between what we eat and how that affects Planet Earth. Lauren was one of the early few to try out the latest offerings at Veggie Grill – an early pioneer in the restaurant business tackling the challenge of creating a better food system – sampling their brand new grilled TiNDLE menu items: the Grilled BBQ Chick’n Sandwich and Chinese Chick’n Salad.

Earlier this summer, we caught up with Lauren to collect her thoughts on her first TiNDLE experience and learn a bit more about how she got started in the climate space. We share her tips on how to integrate sustainability efforts into our everyday lives – along with some recipe inspiration on Lauren’s ideal TiNDLE meal.

Q: We’re conducting this interview right at the start of the summer season, so we want to know – what foods invoke summer to you or do you have any favorite summertime eats?

A: I absolutely love grilled vegetables in the summertime. Zucchini, squash, bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms on the barbeque are my favorite! Pair that with some homemade chimichurri or green goddess dressing and I could eat it every day!

Q: What are some core summer memories for you that involve food and dining?

A: My mom has quite an epic garden slash urban farm sanctuary and has spent several years tending to the soil and sustaining the amazing biodiversity that thrives in it. My favorite summer memories are picking berries, vegetables, tomatoes, and herbs from her garden and preparing a delicious meal together, which we would eat at her picnic table outside, and watch the birds and butterflies.

Q: Now, let’s shift gears a little bit. Can you tell us what drew you to partnering up with TiNDLE?

A: In January, I encouraged my dad to participate in “Veganuary,” and he went plant-based for over a month! I learned how important it is to encourage meat eaters to transition to plant-based foods by replicating the meals that they’re currently eating. The look, feel, and taste of TiNDLE is just like chicken, which makes this an amazing replacement for animal protein for folks (like my dad) who were trying to reduce their meat consumption.

Q: Can you tell us about your first impression of TiNDLE? You recently tried Veggie Grill’s grilled TiNDLE – what did you think?

A: After not having chicken for over 10 years, I was immediately impressed by the texture of the protein! I legitimately thought it was real chicken for a second! I loved that it was grilled and not fried, so I could taste the full flavor of the protein.

Q: What types of TiNDLE dishes would you be interested in seeing more of?

A: I think TiNDLE would make an amazing addition to fried rice and curries! If a TiNDLE partner could create a whole Thai-inspired menu, I would eat absolutely everything on it. ☺

Q: Now back to you… You’ve built a platform around sustainability and finding planet-friendly solutions, all inspired by your upbringing in Southern California. How did you initially get into this field?

A: I’ve always been a storyteller. I grew up in the theater and studied TV & film in school, so I knew that I wanted to work in the video space since I was a kid. Like a lot of folks in the US, it was the presidential election of 2016, when I kicked my activism into high gear, to protect the things that were under extreme attack by the new administration. I knew I wanted to offer my skills and experience of video production into my passion and purpose of climate activism, and being a millennial who loves social media, it felt like a perfect environment to bring the two together.

Q: On that, what advice would you give someone dipping their toes into sustainability or looking to create positive change for our planet? Where can they start?

A: Join a community group. That could be an environmental NGO, a green club on campus, or even a group of folks who meet weekly to hike, watch films, or protest together. We are so much stronger when we unite, and this work cannot be achieved alone. It’s quite literally impossible for one person to do all the work that needs to be done. When we come together, organize, and mobilize, we are a threat to the big polluters and decision makers who are responsible for all the damage caused. When we join a group, we are reminded that we’re not alone in this fight, and that we have a safe space to voice our ideas, fears, and concerns, and are also given the space to take breaks and rest. In community we find inspiration, can be reignited with motivation, and regain optimism in the movement.

Q: Who are some other leaders or sources of inspiration for you in the sustainability world?

A: A few of my favorites are Leah Thomas and the Intersectional Environmentalists, Dr. Ayana Eliza Johnson, and Isaias Hernandez from @queerbrownvegan.