Belinda C. Chiu joins me on Leading with Health to share her experiences working to promote behavior change in a variety of communities.

Belinda is a social and behavioral science public health professional passionate about environmental justice, sustainable development, and zero waste. She is the creator of A Healthy Blueprint, a resource for individuals looking to reduce their environmental footprint and become changemakers in their communities. She is also the developer of the New York City food drop-off tracker, which shows locations accepting food scraps for compost in New York City. You can also find her on Instagram.

Highlights include:

3:09 – BC: “I prefer to relate my social activism to sustainability. So as a sustainability blogger for A Healthy Blueprint, I think about what are some motivators and barriers that might be keeping us from practicing eco-friendly behaviors in our life. So how can we potentially address or remove some of these barriers? For example, if you want to start composting at home, you might want to think about who else is in your household. Would you need buy-in from them? Do you have the infrastructure in your community, such as the organizations or municipal programs to collect the compost and process them? And then are there awareness campaigns or educational campaigns that actually help teach the community how to compost properly?”

4:50 – BC: “I thought, maybe I’m not a policymaker and I’m not a decision-maker, but I am an individual who can make a change within my own household. And maybe I can inspire others to do the same and go from there.”

12:43 – BC: “I have the privilege to volunteer with an amazing group, the Save Our Compost Coalition. It’s a group of organizations and community members who are fighting to keep composting free and public in New York City. And we’ve done a lot of community activism to date, like pushing on social media at the importance of composting in New York City, engaging the community to contact their representatives, to support a budget that included $7 million to keep central composting programs running. We were successful in preserving $2.86 million to keep some of the programs running, which we are happy about.”

17:01 – BC: “There are a lot of scrap drop-off sites that were suspended due to COVID but, at the same time, there are some community members and organizations who have opened up their community gardens, for example, or their organizations to collect food scraps if you go to their sites. So what I decided to do, because people have been wondering like, where can I drop off my food straps in Manhattan? Where can I drop it off in the Bronx? Where in Queens? I just decided to compile all of that data and also crowdsource that information from Twitter, from Instagram, from just word-of-mouth, from emails and create this public resource for everyone to access.”

19:35 – BC: “When I was in Mexico, I actually got to design my own study and I introduced something called Moringa as a vegetable, into traditional diets in the community where I was living.”

25:10 – BC: “I worked for an NGO called the Cambodian Community Dream Organization … and one of the ways that (the children’s guardians or their parents) can contribute is by providing in-kind donations through food. So they would donate either rice or vegetables to help supplement the breakfast program … We talked to the community members and talked about the background of the breakfast program, how it’s being funded and how they need to be a little bit more sustainable and self-sufficient, and not always depend on external funding. So they had them brainstorm ways that they can potentially contribute. And one of the ways that they had collectively decided was by contributing their food that they’re growing because they are farmers.”

Leading with Health is hosted by Jennifer Michelle. Jennifer has a Master’s in Public Health and Epidemiology and is a certified EMT. As President of Michelle Marketing Strategies, Jennifer specializes in healthcare marketing. She is on a mission to create a healthcare system that actually cares about the patients and the providers.