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Cara Delevingne Climate Change
Via @caradelevingne on Instagram

Cara Delevingne on why we should all be fighting the climate crisis

Kim Kardashian, Jack Black, and Jaden and Willow Smith have backed the model’s campaign, #MyEcoResolution

This week, news broke that there has officially been a big uptake in young people becoming online climate activists – with the number of 12 to 15-year-olds talking about climate change across social media rising from 12 percent to 18 percent over the last year. Experts have called this “The Greta Effect”. But the question remains: are we doing enough offline, too? Making changes to our lives that actually reduce our plastic consumption and ecological footprints? 

Enter EcoResolution, Cara Delevingne’s campaign encouraging us to make promises to ourselves and others about how we will take action to fight climate change, and stick to these promises, under the hashtag #MyEcoResolution. Started at the end of 2018 with her school friend Christabel Reed, Delevingne’s campaign has just had a revamp and a bunch of new celebrity backers: in the form of a campaign video featuring Kim Kardashian, Jack Black, Jaden and Willow Smith, Karlie Kloss, Rita Ora, Suki Waterhouse and more. Kim K’s eco resolution? To eat a purely plant-based diet. Jaden Smith’s? To start working with companies that are building sustainable houses for people who need them. 

Below, we talked to Delevingne about why she started the campaign, what environmental changes she is making in her own life (clue: no more bacon), and the heroes fighting climate change who we might not have heard of. 

How did you and Christabel meet, and how did the idea for EcoResolution come up?

Cara Delevingne: We met at school and have been best friends since we were 14. EcoResolution started because of a conversation we had at a party. I was expressing how I was increasingly worried about the climate and ecological crisis and wanted to take action and use my platform to bring awareness to the greatest threat facing humanity. At the same time, I didn’t know where to start, felt overwhelmed and concerned about the scrutiny I would be under for speaking out about the systems that I am very much a part of. Christabel is the co-founder of Advaya, a systems change platform she started with her sister, Ruby Reed, in 2015. Christabel said that this sentiment is so common but, while justified, it isn’t doing anyone any good. She explained that people find it hard to talk about environmental destruction because we are all part of the problem, and deeply embedded in a culture and growth-based economy that are inherently at odds with the finite resources of the natural world.

So the initial idea behind #MyEcoResolution was to create a social media campaign that got people talking, acting and sharing their pledges for the planet in a way that wasn’t judgemental but that celebrated our journeys of learning and changing. This year EcoResolution is aiming to expand. We are building up the site to be an educational resource that people can come to for information, tool kits, and a strong reminder that we are not alone in our desire to create a world that thrives.

What are some measures you've taken in your life to be more environmentally conscious and sustainable, and how are you finding it? 

Cara Delevingne: My first eco resolution was to reduce the amount of plastic I used and say no to bottles, cups, and straws. My second pledge is to give up meat and opt for a plant-rich diet. When I was younger my love for bacon was well-known (not helped by my bacon tattoo on my foot!) but since then I’ve found out what the true cost of animal agriculture is and realised that I love pigs more than I love bacon. The food industry is one of the leading drivers of the climate crisis and is responsible for almost 60 percent of global biodiversity loss. No doubt I’ll sometimes miss meat but with this knowledge, #MyEcoResolution feels like a no-brainer.

There's a different topic each month, starting with food – what are some of the others, and how did you choose them?

Cara Delevingne: Yes, the first topic is food! I can’t tell you the next ones as that defeats the point of it being a journey! But each month EcoResolution will explore a different topic, unpack the challenges we face, showcase the inspiring solutions already being driven and highlight the opportunities people have to support these solutions. Then, towards the end of each month, we will celebrate the projects, pledges and actions being taken by the trailblazers in our growing community who are leading the way towards a sustainable and globally considerate world. 

I haven’t chosen the topics, I am learning as we go too. The topics have been chosen by the Christabel and Ruby Reed (Advaya) and Clover Hogan (Force Of Nature). They’ve been cross-referencing their previous knowledge with Project Drawdown and the WRI. One of the main aims for EcoResolution is to gather research and reports from legitimate sources and then synthesise it and simplify it so that it can be more accessible – there is so much information out there but it can be overwhelming, conflicting and unclear as to how we are meant to actually act on it. The topics, challenges, and solutions presented will be focused on how individual and community actions can inspire deeper systemic change – as in policy changes from the top-down that dictate the systems behind the food that we eat, the clothes that we wear, ad the energy that we use. 

You've said that, “with this campaign, I’m going on a journey with people from every corner of the world. We need to hear the calls from those on front lines, those who are most vulnerable to the worst effects of the climate crisis – and who are generally the least responsible.” Can you explain a bit more about how this will work? 

Cara Delevingne: The climate and ecological crisis is a global crisis and demands a global response. One of the most beautiful things we saw in the first year of #MyEcoResolution was how many inspiring people were taking action and pledging for our planet all over the world – we want to build on this and learn within a growing community of empowered people who are ready to stand up and act with the urgency that science demands. But while it is a global crisis we must take action with the knowledge that the effects of climate breakdown are not felt equally. Those who are least responsible – who emit the least carbon or have the least environmentally damaging lifestyles – have generally been the ones who are facing the most severe effects of climate-related disasters.

Beyond the climate crisis, is our ecological crisis and a way of life that is incompatible with the earth’s finite resources. Indigenous communities have been on the front lines of these battles for decades, witnessing the degradation of our natural world. In 2017, 207 environmental defenders were killed while protecting their community’s land or natural resources. These are murders I had never heard about until recently. We must be united with these communities. They have lived sustainably on their lands for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years – they are our teachers.

What role does the fashion industry have to play in the climate crisis, and what needs to change to make things better? 

Cara Delevingne: I am starting to learn that the fashion industry has a huge impact on our planet! In fact, it is one of the most polluting. A better fashion industry would be a sustainable fashion industry, or better yet, a regenerative fashion industry that gave back to the earth more than it took out! The amount of waste, as well as the types of materials, used all need to be changed. 

Who are your top three heroes fighting climate change?

Cara Delevingne: Vandana Shiva, who has been named the founder of ecofeminism. Vandana has been fighting for seed and land sovereignty whilst taking on corporations like Monsanto and the globalised food system for decades – she is a powerhouse! Melanie Goodchild, an amazing indigenous rights activist who asks, how can the intrinsic knowledge, or world view, of indigenous people be leveraged to improve social and ecological sustainability? And finally, Elizabeth Wathuti, who has mobilised tens of thousands of young people in Kenya to reforest and plant trees while becoming environmental activists themselves.

Find out more about EcoResolution on their website. Created by Advaya.