From being a member of a performance group that inspires young people to make a difference in the world and performing in Germany during the fall of the Berlin Wall, to starting her own company which consulted to Al Gore’s Live Earth project and helped music industry folks lighten their carbon footprint, this Shoestring Warrior has devoted her life to making this world better, one beat at a time! Meet Shoestring Ambassador, and this week’s Shoestring Warrior, Denise Weintraub.
Her passion for the environment bloomed when she was a child; her first job entailed her collecting and recycling newspapers from her neighbors. It is no surprise that she ended up becoming an environmentalist on a larger scale!
Being an environmentalist means being conscientious in almost every facet of one’s life. A majority of our choices impact our world, most particularly our purchases and the manner in which we dispose of things.
Denise is a woman of many passions – music, the environment, family, her pug, hiking…and many professions past, present, and future and we are very excited to have her as a Shoestring Adventures Ambassador! Keep reading to learn more about all that Denise is passionate about!
Shoestring Warrior: Denise Weintraub
Los Angeles, CA
Domestic Director & Producer, aka mom, wife, event planner, historian, personal chef, personal shopper, lead room parent, all-fourth-grade campout coordinator, tutor, teacher, etc., and Shoestring Ambassador!
What are your passions outside of work?
I am passionate about my family, our pug, my friends, hiking, camping, skiing, health, nutrition, fitness, travel, music, movies, food, wine, baking, flowers, the outdoors and my lucky, lucky life.
Tell us about yourself!
See all of the above! I was born the youngest of three and raised in the small northern town of Redding, CA. I was the lead singer for a late 80’s rock band and also had the great opportunity to travel the world singing with a group called Up with People.
Amongst countless other amazing experiences with this group, we performed for Audrey Hepburn when she won her UNICEF award in The Netherlands, we performed for locals in a German Border town the day the Wall came down, and we got to attend the acceptance speech of the Dalai Lama in Oslo, Norway when he won the Nobel Peace Prize!
I have a Bachelors Degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing since I knew I’d market something all my life, including myself. I’ve jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, bungeed off a perfectly good bridge, did a resort dive along the Great Barrier Reef, sung in front of 25,000 people, and hiked Mt. Whitney in a day. I was a music industry executive (Virgin, Geffen, Sony) for 15 years before I started my own company, Take It Green, which consulted to Al Gore’s Live Earth project and helped bands and businesses lower their carbon footprint. I’m presently doing my very best to raise a boy to be a good human, citizen and environmental steward. I look forward to my next chapter which will entail getting a certificate in Sustainability and pursuing my next career!
How would you describe your level of camping experience?
Which Shoestring Adventures trips or Meet-ups have you completed?
I’m looking forward to the first!
When did you first discover your love for the environment?
I first discovered my love for the environment when I was a young girl. My very first job was collecting and recycling papers from everyone on my street. I’d haul them all home in my red wagon, put them in brown grocery bags, and when I got a substantial enough load, my dad and I would take them to the recycling center for $$$! Then when I was a young lady, my brother took me on a backcountry backpacking trip in the Eastern Sierra that forever impressed upon me.
My love for the environment was magnified again a couple years ago when I took a Wilderness Travel Course that exposed me to places and possibilities so stunning I’m compelled to continue to pursue them and share their wealth.
What does being an environmentalist mean to you?
Being an environmentalist means being conscientious in almost every facet of one’s life. A majority of our choices impact our world, most particularly our purchases and the manner in which we dispose of things. It means doing our best to buy sustainable products, support sustainable businesses, vote for environmental leaders and policies, and take great care to minimize our own carbon footprint by reducing, reusing and recycling as much as possible.
Funniest outdoor experience/mishap?
My funniest outdoor mishap was while High Sierra tent camping. A group of us decided to scramble up a hill which turned into a summit of Mt. Vogelsang! About 20′ from the top at a bit of a technical spot, I placed my foot which went one way while my boot went another! The entire sole was coming off!
It rocked my confidence, but my friends encouraged me to keep climbing and I still managed to summit!
We cobbled the boot back together for the decent with a daypack string and a belt. The next day, I committed my boots to the camp and hiked the subsequent nine miles out in my Keen sandals!
What do you enjoy most about being a Sierra Club hiking and camping leader?
I love sharing the joy of getting off the grid to gorgeous places, as well as great stories and great camping/backpacking hacks and ideas.
You started a company called Take It Green that focused on lowering people’s carbon footprint. Can you tell us a little more about it?
I started Take It Green in 2007 when it wasn’t quite yet hip OR affordable to be green. I had access to bands and businesses who had the passion and the resources to reduce their carbon footprint, and I partnered with another company, Music Matters, which was versed in the execution of the various ways our clients could do this. Together we facilitated the purchase of carbon offsets, increased recycling efforts at venues, coordinated environmental messaging at concerts, sourced biodiesel, and educated truck drivers on the fact that it wouldn’t gum up their engines (no small feat)!
Our crowning achievement was putting the band, Incubus, out on a worldwide carbon neutral tour for which they won an Environmental Media Award for Missions in Music.
Which environmentalists inspire you the most?
John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, Teddy Roosevelt, Al Gore, and Jeff Bridges who is currently spearheading the Plastic Pollution Coalition.
Where’s your next adventure?
This May I’ll host the third annual all-grade campout at El Capitan State Beach for my son’s school, and in June a dear friend and I are connecting in Utah with our boys to explore Bryce, Zion, Arches and Canyonlands!
The perfect s’more? (if you don’t like s’mores, what’s your favorite campfire dessert?)
Some young ladies hipped me to the perfect s’more which starts with stuffing pieces of chocolate into a marshmallow (we had the bigger ones so you could get a decent amount of chocolate inside) and THEN roasting it to golden brown perfection. The gooey, molten mess is then smashed between two graham crackers. YUM. Our second favorite campfire dessert is Jiffy Pop popcorn.
Photos © 2018 Denise Weintraub