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A 45-minute push from where Bianca Graulau lives in Camuy, Puerto Rico, sits her favored seashore. Beige specks of sand extend together Crash Boat Seaside in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, wherever you can surf and munch on some nearby foodstuff. This is the place Graulau, a 31-12 months-old puertorriqueña, put in her summers and Christmas breaks as a young grownup.
She wasn’t there for any of the buzz, even though. Graulau would usually go to catch up with her aunt, who favored a spot absent from the crowds appropriate together some rocks. That made use of to be her regimen — again when that portion of the beach front nonetheless existed.
It is gone now. The ocean’s eaten it up.
“The water hits the rocks now,” reported Graulau about Zoom with her prolonged dim hair in its signature type: natural loose waves down her shoulders. “I visited the seashore again, and I was like, ‘Oh, my god. Where did the seashore go?’”
This topic — sea level rise and erosion swallowing Puerto Rico’s shorelines — was the subject matter of Graulau’s to start with YouTube online video in 2019. Considering that then, the journalist has accrued approximately 40,000 subscribers on YouTube and far more than 326,000 followers on TikTok.
Graulau carries on to cover the transformation of Puerto Rico on her many platforms. It’s a transformation she’s now dedicating to capturing, documenting and sharing with the environment. That 1st video clip now has above 1.4 million sights.
“That video clip really resonated since all people is looking at it,” Graulau explained. “If you’ve developed up in Puerto Rico likely to a certain beach, you have been seeing it little by little disappearing.”
That’s what would make Graulau’s storytelling so unique: She connects. She dares to do what number of other journalists would on camera: She will get individual. “It enables me to connect with my viewers and followers as a fellow human,” Graulau reported, “as a fellow Puerto Rican who’s heading by way of the identical concerns as the relaxation of the inhabitants below.”
She generally talks directly to nearby community associates and experts in her films. She enjoys to hop on the newest TikTok pattern, but she also asks the really hard queries. Graulau is unapologetic and unafraid.
She has labored hard to achieve this area wherever she’s snug and self-assured in her possess skin. She put in years carrying out Tv set news in which bosses advised her to straighten her hair and reduce her accent. Image was anything. In 2020, she finally quit. She preferred to get the job done for herself and contact the photographs.
“I think becoming independent type of gets rid of that part of you that is usually asking, ‘Oh, what are the bosses heading to believe about this?’” Graulau explained. “Now, I worry about my audience.”
Bianca Graulau loves to hop on the most up-to-date TikTok trend, but she also asks the tough thoughts.
She focuses primarily on the troubles at property — and she’s already leaving an perception across the archipelago. Ivonne del C. Díaz, an environmental economics professor at the College of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, utilized Graulau’s video on sea-degree rise in the classroom.
The video clip is not just about the oceans mounting. It also reveals the economic disparities that exist in Puerto Rico — and the different strategies local climate alter impacts different communities. Whilst private developers can find the money for to obtain up seashores, area people who have experienced these sights for no cost for generations need to now wrestle with the truth that they may perhaps shed all they have.
“You can see her issue,” Díaz explained in response to the video clip in Spanish. “This perform is crucial simply because, in some cases, we speak about these issues in the classroom, and it feels distant to learners. Immediately after seeing these forms of video clips, the pupils can see how significantly she cares, and it feels much more actual.”
Díaz can’t remember how she identified Graulau’s do the job, but she remembers making the most of how unique and interactive it was. The economics professor knew the movie would assistance her college students website link economic problems to environmental and social challenges, far too.
And that is all intentional in Graulau’s tales. Currently, she’s been considering a whole lot about colonization and the way that heritage interacts with the ongoing weather crisis. Her latest items reflect that interest: “Does the United States however very own colonies?” is the newest movie on Graulau’s YouTube channel.
Having said that, the consequences of that initial sea-stage increase online video — the one that kicked off Graulau’s impartial career — are however rippling during her possess everyday living. A person of Graulau’s most effective close friends, America Arias, labored on the video clip with her. Arias, a fellow Tv set news producer, will make an visual appeal having notes whilst Graulau interviews a community oceanographer. The pair fulfilled in Puerto Rico some 12 many years ago at a convention for the Nationwide Affiliation of Hispanic Journalists. The two Latinas didn’t kick it off appropriate absent, but they grew to become inseparable following 2012.
Graulau and Arias were each dwelling in Sacramento, California, doing work at local stations and sensation skillfully unfulfilled. By 2016, the two journalists took a possibility that adjusted their lives. They put in a month generating unpaid content just for themselves. They went to North Dakota for a 7 days to deal with the Standing Rock movement. They frequented the U.S.-Mexico border collectively. Arias hadn’t been due to the fact she crossed illegally as a little female and she preferred to tell tales from the region.
Even with getting defense less than the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals system, Arias was anxious. The audio of helicopters was triggering. By the third visit, the team acquired ample for a story.
And but Graulau never ever pushed her. She was generally client. And the tales truly mattered. “We had been so content to be chasing the stories that we definitely cared about,” Arias said. You can hear the regard in her voice when she talks about how significantly her finest mate has come given that these early days in California.
Graulau was a fast-manner shopper back again then. She’d obtain a ton of inexpensive dresses and jewelry to glimpse the part and maintain her superiors pleased. At present, she will make films on how to purchase considerably less. Graulau walks the converse. Her birthday in March was the past time Arias saw her. The birthday woman “hates obtaining new things,” Arias explained, so she gifted her utilized merchandise she collected from garage profits over two months: ceramic planters, garments, a rug. She also packed the substances to bake the best vegan, gluten-cost-free cake. They stayed up late that night time, consuming cake and catching up.
“We experienced a instant in which I informed her I was actually very pleased of her,” Arias mentioned, her voice breaking. No gift she gave the birthday lady could evaluate up to what Graulau has gifted her: the prospect to witness her increase and prosper. Arias described her pal not as a different human being but as “the man or woman she usually required to grow to be.”
“How blessed am I to witness that?” she said, “and she’s just acquiring began.”