Tell Your Story: Interview with Xènia Elias

The Women4Climate Tell Your Story campaign aims to champion the role of women as agents of change in the climate space, highlight their climate projects and tell the inspirational stories behind them.

Xènia Elias is one of the leading figures of the Zero Waste movement in Barcelona. Through her Zero Waste workshops, she educates and enables people to adopt less wasteful lifestyles and helps them to question their consumption. 

Xènia’s Zero Waste journey began when she came across a viral video on social media where a large amount of food appeared to have been wasted. This prompted her to research food waste and start her own Zero Waste movement. Xènia says: “My workshops are places of awareness, reflection, deep human encounters, and birthplaces of change that will limit the damage caused to our environment.”

Picture: Zero Waste workshop on food.


Xènia delivered her first "Sustainable Lifestyle" workshop in one of Barcelona's community centres in 2018. Since then, she has continued to learn about the subject and is committed to delivering high-quality training around new and innovative topics. As of 2022, her project offers more than 100 different workshops delivered in community centres, schools and businesses.

Xènia is an undeniably successful entrepreneur. Yet, she experiences loneliness in the sector. “The feeling of community brought about by the Women4Climate programme has helped me to find a space where I belong,” she says.

Picture: Zero Waste workshop on cosmetics.


One of the areas of training provided by the programme, centred around inclusivity and disability, led her to improve her project and make it more accessible and community-focused. "The training truly showed us what it meant to be a woman with a disability or vulnerability, from the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) or a low-income background. I realised that although we were feminists and aware of structural discrimination, our project could lack inclusivity and accessibility," she says. The training prompted her to confront the accessibility of her own work.  Since then, her efforts have been rewarded by the participants in her workshops, which include people without and with disabilities. 

“This experience helped me to identify some of the limitations of inclusivity in Barcelona. One of the community centres we work with has started to adapt infrastructure specifically for visually impaired people, marking spaces in Braille,” she says. Xènia has written a mini guide titled ‘How To Organise Inclusive Workshops’ to share the lessons learned with decision-makers. Xènia is convinced that “accessibility is not just about making spaces accessible to a group of people, but about allowing all people to meet in all places.“

Picture: Zero Waste workshop in Barcelona.


Alongside her workshop activities, the Women4Climate programme has connected her with an Australian mentee, with whom she is developing the “Step By Step Changes You Can Do” Zero Waste guide.


Learn more about Xènia's work on: Website, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter

To learn more about gender mainstreaming in inclusive climate action approaches, take the free Women4Climate 4-week online course, "Developing Skills for Women Leadership in Climate Action"