Meet The Green Queen: Sonalie Figueiras
Our BOOMI ARMY SERIES features business and community leaders who are driving positive change in the world we live in.
CHAMPIONS OF SUSTAINABILITY in their own lives, they are creating awards around the need for more eco-friendly businesses and lifestyles.
This month we spoke to SONALIE FIGUEIRAS, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of GREEN QUEEN MEDIA, Asia’s largest award-winning sustainability media platform advocating for social and environmental change. Sonalie is also the founder and CEO of Ekowarehouse, global sourcing platform for certified organic products with a mission to make safe food accessible & affordable for all.
She sheds light on the BIGGEST SOURCE OF WASTE & POLLUTION and dishes out her tips to make a BIG DIFFERENCE by STARTING SMALL.
Q: Can you tell us how Green Queen was started and what sparked your journey to become such a sought after advocate for sustainability?
S: Due to some personal health issues I began researching the food industry and how the food we consume is produced, packaged and sold around the world. What I began to uncover was incredibly disturbing, and it was abundantly clear to me that our global food system was broken, and that IF WE DON’T DO SOMETHING, we are going to have MAJOR PROBLEMS down the line.
The more I looked into it, the more I realized that RECYCLING WASN’T GOING TO BE ENOUGH, banning plastic straws wasn’t going to fix this problem. The root cause of the DETRIMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT we are doing to our planet is the MEAT & DAIRY PRODUCTS we produce and consume too much of.
So, in 2011, I started blogging, PEOPLE WERE HUNGRY FOR INFORMATION, and by 2013 the blog became a full-fledged media platform.
Q: Just how much damage is the meat & dairy industry causing to our planet?
S: Many people think we should be cutting down on driving and flying and using plastic — yes, we should be cutting down on all of these things, however, these things are not going to make a big enough difference to curb the damage we’re doing to our planet.
What you should be paying attention to — food.
Global food production accounts for an estimated quarter of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and the biggest culprit is the meat & dairy industry.
From a recent Green Queen article on the meat industry in the EU：
Q: What are the biggest contributors to food waste that can be easily solved?
S: First, most people in developed countries are OVEREATING and over-purchasing, this leads to a shocking amount of completely unnecessary food waste — in fact data shows that approximately 50% of food waste happens in the home.
If everyone ate the appropriate amount of calories and only bought what they consume, we could significantly cut down on waste.
Another way to cut down on waste that we are starting to see more of is SMART PRODUCTION — using AI to optimize cost, safety and sustainability for example, AI applications to help farmers be more efficient.
Q: How have you seen this movement evolve in China, does it make you hopeful for the future?
S: There is no doubt that China plays a crucial role in making a difference, it’s the second largest consumer market in the world, and one of the biggest consumers of meat. Research is showing that actually, millennials in China are very similar to their Western counterparts when it comes to DEMANDING MORE ETHICAL, TRANSPARENT SUPPLY CHAINS and more safe, sustainably made products.
Their voice is getting louder, and brands are noticing — you have major brands like Starbucks & KFC cooperating with these plant-based meat alternative brands — it’s just the beginning but I’m optimistic that change is happening.
Q: If I’m a meat-lover, what is the best way for me to change my habits and start making an impact to save our planet?
S: The key to creating new HABITS is STARTING SMALL. If you try to make a drastic change all at once, chances are you won’t be able to stick with it. I believe the best thing you can do is gradually reduce your meat & dairy consumption.
- Start with 1 day a week, commit to GREEN MONDAY where for one day, you eat a 100% plant-based diet. This will encourage you to discover your options, once you start, you’ll realize there are endless choices!
- Focus on vegetable dishes you eat anyways. You might be surprised at how many plant-based dishes you already know and love.
- Experiment with plant-based meat alternatives. There are so many brands entering the market these days (yes, in China!) with fantastic options. Among the most popular are IMPOSSIBLE and BEYOND but you can also check out the following:
Once you start, you’ll realize you don’t have to try very hard or make any big sacrifices to make such an impactful change to help save our planet.
THANK YOU Sonalie! It’s thanks to people like you who are sharing your knowledge and passion that we have hope we can create a better future.
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