A journey of responsibility: Miana's path to a sustainable future

In 8th grade, my mom wanted me to study Computer Science, following in my sister's footsteps, but I wanted to enter Environmental Protection.

If you had to pick a spirit animal that represents your approach to life, what would it be and why?  

I never really thought about this because I did not have the opportunity to be close to animals growing up. I also found it challenging throughout my life to find role models.  

I've taken bits and pieces from people, circumstances, maybe even animals, inspiration for who I wanted to be and how I wanted to act. But I've never been able to choose one thing and look at it with great admiration, especially for superstars, actors, singers, etc.    

I sometimes wish my journey had been smoother, with people to look up to as a child, as a teen, etc. I believe that people, including myself, are very complex, and we don't need to relate to someone or something entirely. I don't have access to someone's backstory, so how can I tell if they're my soul's spirit?  

What ignited your passion for sustainability, and how has it evolved?  

In 8th grade, my mom wanted me to study Computer Science, following in my sister's footsteps, but I wanted to enter Environmental Protection. It wasn't the most prestigious high school, but I was willing to compromise to pursue what I wanted. It was a lovely time, and I'm glad I did it. It gives me much background in the field to this day.  

Miana as a young adult enjoying the snow!  

While in school, I remember considering many things polluted and being bothered by this feeling of helplessness because I did not know what to do. In 12th grade, I did a project on environmental protection, taking soil samples from my grandmother's backyard, where she grew all kinds of veggies, forest soil, and riverbank soil. I conducted biochemical analyses to see the differences in composition and whether they were unhealthy or had damaging chemicals. I studied and researched what's in our soil, water, etc. I wanted to see it with my own eyes.  

My path led to communication and marketing because in Romania, during my youth, an environmental protection degree didn't promise a peaceful life. So, I went into Communication and Marketing. Later, I worked in HR and ended up in RebelDot on a journey that I'd call puzzling, but all the puzzle pieces eventually fell right into place.  

If you had a sustainability mission statement for your life, what would it be?  

My story, how I go about my days, and what I try to pass on to my children revolves around respect. I base my choices on respect for nature, people, and myself.  

If you had a magic wand for one global sustainable practice, what would it be and why?  

Education is the way. I believe in giving people, including my children, the proper tools to navigate life and any matter instead of setting a framework or path for them. The key is becoming aware of humanity's more challenging times, how our actions and decisions impact others and nature, offering solutions, and the context for people to actively contribute.

If sustainability wasn't an issue, what would you do? What passions do you have?  

Chocolate taster. No, a food taster. I love food, and I love eating.  

What's your favorite food?  

SUSHI. I love Asian cuisine. My husband and I chose our honeymoon location based on international national cuisines', so naturally, we chose Thailand. I cook a lot at home, and it is tasty food, too, but it rarely looks good. So, my husband and I established this rule for the kids: first, you have to taste it, then decide if it's good or not. This way, they're always experimenting.  

How did motherhood change you?  

I'm now the best version of myself, and it's because of them. I know myself better, and I am healing my inner child while mothering my two boys.  

Miana’s family portrait, 2020

Did having kids influence your transition to sustainability?  

Absolutely. My journey became apparent when I realized I didn't want to use chemicals in my home, especially for them. As a family of four, our waste increased, and I realized I didn't want to use so much plastic. So, at 33, I decided to do something more and give life more meaning. I opened my online store, Eco Revolution, for zero-waste and eco-friendly products. Many puzzle pieces came together. I did this independently, researching products, handling providers, creating the logo, the website, packaging, everything, while raising my second son, Mati.  

Describe a situation where you balanced conflicting interests for a sustainable outcome.  

Whenever I find something new, I like to share it with people around me: fast fashion and candles; honestly, those were the latest conversations. People aren't ready to give up some behaviors and things they've gotten used to. I always feel resistance when it comes to the damage of scented candles and what it does to your health, your child, or the damage fast fashion has on the world and us. In Romania, we don't feel climatic changes as hard as in other parts of the world, but we are experiencing many of them and need to adapt. Our families have been through weird phases, through communism. I think the following generations fell into extreme consumerism born out of necessity and the trauma of not having what you need. Living a more sustainable lifestyle is also about making more conscious decisions and buying fewer, more qualitative items and, as much as possible, local products that use natural components. Less is more, and returning to the essentials is recommended.

You said you didn't have role models, but is there someone you admire in the range of stars/superstars?  

Sometimes, I feel so out of place, unable to relate to these people. No one comes to my mind, but maybe... I liked the story of Michelle Obama. I liked the story of how her parents helped build her path. I related to her parents, who poured all their resources into her education. I want to be able to provide the same care and responsibility towards my boys.  

If addressing a global audience on sustainability, what message would you have?  

I don't know if it's one message or more of a perspective, but I genuinely believe in it—altruism as a core value. Life isn't about individual wellness but about OUR wellness as a community. With less selfishness and less self-absorption, we could pay attention to people who need it most and our home planet. I don't sympathize with individualism; the word "together" means so much to me.  

Ah, and something I have been thinking about since I started on this journey is the need for more communities in Romania: communities of specialists, people to rely on, communities in your neighborhood, and community in general. I feel the lack of that very profoundly.  

Final thoughts  

Miana's journey to sustainability, from defying expectations in 8th grade to founding her brand, Eco-Revolution, reflects a mosaic of self-discovery and environmental commitment, with education as her core belief. Advocating for altruism and missing community connections in Romania, she embodies a vision of wellness intertwined with collective responsibility.

Flavia Mocan

I’m deeply committed to fostering an equitable society. My goal is to contribute to the creation of a world where work is valued and treated with fairness, and where organizations strike a balance between work and life for their teams. I strongly advocate for mental health, inclusion, and equity, and firmly believe in empowering the youth to shape a better future.

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