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WCW : Model 4 Green Living

Renee Peters, Eco Activist & Model Citizen

The perfect Woman Crush Wednesday for climate week

Could you give us a little bio about yourself?

 

My name is Renee Peters, and I am a model, environmental activist, and blogger living in NYC. At my core, I am an animal and nature lover. I started my sustainable-living blog, Model4greenliving, as a fun way to combine my day job in fashion and my lifelong passion for the environment and its creatures.

 

 

You describe yourself as a “lifelong animal lover and nature enthusiast” – where does this love come from?
I went to the Cincinnati Zoo as a young child, maybe 2 or 3 years old, and my parents noticed right away that I was mesmerized by the animals there. When I was 4, because of my fascination with the animals in Cincinnati, my parents threw a birthday party for me at the Nashville Zoo. I think my love for animals only continued to grow from there. When I was in 2nd grade, I started Girl Scouts and ended up staying with that until I was a senior in high school. We would go camping all the time, and I fell in love with outdoors there. I loved how it made me feel when I was in the midst of it… Like I was at home. They taught us ALWAYS to leave a place better than we found it, so my sense of personal responsibility for my surroundings developed there too.

 

I knew from my childhood, in that way, that protecting nature and animals would be in my future somehow. I knew that I wanted others to be able to experience the same feelings I had too. Initially, I thought I would become a park ranger, marine biologist, or some sort of wildlife conservationist when I finished my undergraduate degree. When I hit my 20s however, modeling came along and was a really great opportunity. It allowed me to travel the world and live as a financially independent young woman. I decided to rethink the way that I would share my love for nature with the world because, despite my career path, my enthusiasm for it never went away. That’s why I started my blog Model4greenliving and social media accounts.

President Trump claims he doesn’t believe in climate change, so individuals now feel they have more responsibility in fighting for the environment. What advice would you give to people who want to stand up to this?

 

Vote with your dollar, and only support companies that are committed to sustainable development and have sustainable business practices. Also, continue to educate yourselves and don’t trust things until you see that they are backed with peer-reviewed, non-industry funded science. I highly recommend the book, Project Drawdown, for easy-to-understand information. It’s both informative and inspiring, as it shows all of the climate actions already being done around the globe.

I’d love it if Rêve en Vert and its followers would join me in the challenge, and help mitigate our effects on ocean environments, by saying NO to straws.

The #stopsucking campaign with Lonely Whale looks really interesting – could you tell us a bit more about it and how you got involved?

 

@LonelyWhale reached out to me last month to participate in their #stopsucking campaign which aims to discourage people’s use of straws. It’s a simple action that has far-reaching, positive impact. Lonely Whale is doing excellent work raising awareness and challenging us to do better by our oceans, so I immediately knew it was a great collaboration for me and my sustainable message. I personally stopped using straws because drinking through a straw when you have a perfectly good mouth seems pointless. It’s even more absurd when you learn that 500 million straws are used in the U.S. each day and that an estimated 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been found with plastics in their stomachs. I’d love it if Rêve en Vert and its followers would join me in the challenge, and help mitigate our effects on ocean environments, by saying NO to straws.

You offer practical ways for a sustainable lifestyle – what are your top 3 tips?

 

1. Eat less meat. If you can’t go completely plant-based like me, first try moving to animal products only once a day, then only once a week. Even if you do require some animal protein, chances are you don’t need it three times a day, every day. You will improve your health and your carbon foot print. According to Project Drawdown, “Plant-rich diets reduce emissions and also tend to be healthier, leading to lower rates of chronic disease. According to a 2016 study, business-as-usual emissions could be reduced by as much as 70 percent through adopting a vegan diet and 63 percent for a vegetarian diet, which includes cheese, milk, and eggs.”

I am keeping tons of waste from going into a landfill, simply by being prepared

2. Move to clean energy at home. Switch to a clean energy program that supplies your home with electricity from renewable sources. It is VERY EASY, at least in the U.S. now, and you pay either the same amount or less every month for the same service. Your regular utility server still maintains the wires, prepares your bill, and provides reliable service. The only thing that will change is where your utility provider will get your electricity from; solar and wind sources usually. Check out this site to switch, Clean Energy Switch, if you live in the United States.

 

3. Prepare a “go kit” to avoid plastics. I always carry around a reusable version of the things I need in my day to day life. It’s not as hard to avoid plastics if you prepare yourself when you go out, so I suggest carrying reusable versions of plastic to-go items as a simple way to green your life. My “go kit” includes a reusable water bottle, a reusable shopping bag, a reusable utensil kit, and a reusable straw. They are all lightweight and compact, so they easily fit into my purse or day bag. By using my reusable options instead of single-use plastics every day, I am keeping tons of waste from going into a landfill, simply by being prepared.

Being a nature lover, how do you connect with the natural environment living in New York?

 

I walk everywhere when it’s a nice day out, and when I have free time between castings I often sit in one of the NYC Parks. You’d be surprised to see how much greenery is everywhere actually. I also volunteer at the Wild Bird Fund when I can, and get to interact with animals that way. My favorite thing to do, however, is go upstate for the weekend with my boyfriend or friends. The Catskills are beautiful and the hiking up there is incredible. That’s my favorite thing about NYC… you have the city and all of its amazing opportunities, but drive or take a train for an hour north and you’re in the middle of a forest. You get the best of both worlds in this city.

“Leave a place better than you found it.”

Finally, what does sustainable living mean to you?

 
Sustainable living means being mindful that the choices I am making are not negatively affecting the planet. As I said before, I was a Girl Scout for 12 years growing up. It was on our troop camping trips that I learned the motto, “Leave a place better than you found it.” That motto stuck with me as I got older and has, in many ways, inspired what sustainable living means to me now. Living sustainably means that, before I do anything, I think about the possible future consequences of my actions. Who does my action affect? What will my action affect? Will it leave the planet better than before, or will it produce waste that lasts on Earth for millions of years? Will it biodegrade or will it end up in the ocean and suffocate and innocent animal?

 

I think a key point to making a sustainable life more realistic, is to take it one decision at a time… one day at a time. It’s a constant process, but also a journey that has proven incredibly fun and fulfilling for myself over the years. Our small, daily actions, when approached with sustainability in mind, all add up to be a huge reduction in our carbon footprint. Seeing that tangible, personal impact is empowering and gives me great hope for our future.

 

FIND MORE ON RENEE OUT AT MODEL 4 GREEN LIVING HERE