What On Earth

Why climate advocates are pushing 'deinfluencing' on TikTok

Whether it’s an avocado holder or a face cream, there’s no shortage of influencers on social media trying to push mass amounts of expensive products. But the trend of “deinfluencing” is fighting against that fad, and advocates say it could have a positive effect on the environment.

The deinfluencing hashtag has hundreds of millions of views on TikTok over the past few weeks

Karishma Porwal and Hazel Thayer are Canadian TikTok creators
Karishma Porwal and Hazel Thayer use their platforms to promote sustainable decisions. (@karishmaclimategirl/TikTok, @hazelisonline/TikTok)

Whether it's an avocado holder or a face cream, there's no shortage of influencers on social media trying to push mass amounts of expensive products. But the trend of "deinfluencing" is fighting against that fad, and advocates say it could have a positive effect on the environment. 

"Deinfluencing is basically kind of a movement against being constantly marketed to," said Hazel Thayer, a video creator and climate activist in Victoria, B.C.

The term, which originally was coined on TikTok, describes the rejection of viral, cult-favourite beauty or lifestyle products in favour of more affordable choices.

"I think a great example is an avocado holder. You don't need an avocado holder."

Thayer uses her platform to push against fast-fashion type products, and tries to educate people on the harms buying these items can have on the environment. 

Over the past few weeks, the deinfluencing hashtag on TikTok has amassed hundreds of millions of views. And it's not just climate activists. The trend actually started with beauty influencers recommending inexpensive alternatives to some of the products pushed on the platform. 

Personal finance creators also picked up on it, reminding followers that curbing consumption can be good for a budget. 

Environmental benefits

Sustainability advocate Karishma Porwal says that's good for the environment as well. The Cambridge, Ont., resident, who posts under the handle Karishma Climate Girl, used her account to plug coconut oil as an alternative to beauty products.

"I wanted to partake in the trend but in a cheeky, sustainability, tree-hugger type way," said Porwall, who says she uses coconut oil for everything from her cuticles to eyelashes.

"It's worked and I think what I was trying to portray with that video is, a lot of the time, we can find one product that does a ton of different things."

Porwall says that reducing how many different products you need for your day-to-day life reduces waste, because you're just not buying as much stuff. As a result, fewer items are packaged and shipped around the world, 

Thayer hopes it's a trend that continues.. 

"It's very cheesy, but money can't buy happiness. I think that with the younger generation being more sustainability minded, thinking more about the climate, it probably will stick," said Thayer. 

"People will often ask me what they can do to help the climate. The biggest individual action … [is] buying less stuff. That's the best thing you can do for the planet. It's reduce, then reuse, then recycle, right?"


Philip Drost is a journalist with the CBC. You can reach him on Twitter @phildrost or by email at philip.drost@cbc.ca.

Interviews produced by Rachel Sanders

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