Meet Renee Peters, AKA Model4greenliving
Renee is a lifelong animal lover and nature enthusiast, who uses her beautiful face for good, working as an eco/sustainability fashion model (represented by Wilhelmina) and blogger. Jejune had the pleasure to photograph and learn more about her.
Tell us about Model4greenliving? How long has your Model4greenliving been around? Why did you start Model4greenliving?
I launched Model4greenliving in 2015 to provide practical tips and everyday actions that encourage mindful, sustainable living. I am a lifelong animal lover and environmental enthusiast but have been working as a fashion model based in New York City for the past six years. I decided to use my platform as a model, and the access to media that this job affords me, to do something good for the planet. Working on Model4greenliving has been wonderful so far, as I have been able to use it to inspire meaningful conversations around what we all can do to make the world a better place, and to help to reshape the way people think about the environment and their role in protecting it.
How has it changed how you live your life and your fashion?
I first realized the negative impact the fashion industry has on the environment, a few years ago after watching the documentary True Cost. I had already changed to a plant-based diet in 2010, to lessen the environmental impact I made with my food choices. Before seeing that documentary, however, I hadn't made the same connection with regards to how I dressed. I gave up fast-fashion and set out to only buy second-hand or from ethical, sustainable brands. I dress in sustainable clothing to show my social-media following, and fashion industry peers, that sustainable fashion is fun and chic, and that it's an easy way to help reduce our carbon footprint.
Please tell us how do you go about preserving nature/ environment and living a sustainable life on a regular or semi-basis?
I was a Girl Scout for 12 years growing up, so my eyes were opened at an early age to the wonders of the natural world. 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 had, in many ways, inspired the course of my adult life. I try to live as consciously as possible, and mindful that the choices I am making are not negatively affecting the planet.
Before I do anything, I think about the possible future consequences of my actions. Who does my action affect? What will my action affect? It is a constant process. I have been successful at living consciously because it is something that I build upon every day. It has been at least a five-year journey for me, but it doesn't seem overwhelming because it is something I approach one decision at a time.
We also know you are vegan. What made you decide to go vegan How long have you been vegan?
As a full-time model, I am constantly on-the- go and not only have to maintain my physical appearance, but I also have to stay energized and focused while running around to castings and jobs every day. I heard that a plant based diet, full of mainly whole foods, was great for boosting energy as well as a fantastic way to maintain a healthy physique. I started seven years ago by eating a vegetarian diet and three years ago made the switch to being 100% vegan.
Although my initial reasoning for being a vegetarian was for health reasons, I quickly began to realize the ethical and environmental importance of switching my diet to one that didn’t include animals or animal products. According to the book Drawdown, “Shifting to a diet rich in plants is a demand-side solution to global warming. The meat centric Western diet, on the rise globally, comes with a steep climate price tag: one-fifth of global emissions. Plant-rich diets reduce emissions.” I care deeply about the environment and wildlife, and therefore will not maintain a diet that negatively impacts our planet and its creatures. We need a drastic change in individual consumption habits, and society’s as a whole. I view eating vegan as a way to make a positive impact, three times a day, 365 days a year.
If there was one thing that a person could do every day or a small adjustment in their life that you wish more people would do to help the environment, what would it be?
I always carry around a reusable version of the things I need in my day to day life. Plastic utensils, straws, bags, bottles, and cups are polluting our planet. "Recent studies estimate that by the year 2050 there will be more plastic—by weight—than fish in the ocean" (PlasticBANlist2016). It's not 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.
What motto do you live for and best describes Model4greenliving?
Little by little, a little becomes a lot. Never underestimate the power of small, daily actions that all add up to be a huge reduction in our carbon footprint. Not only will you be supporting our fellow humans and the planet, but you may even find out more about yourself.
It’s exciting to see eco-friendly brands coming up more and more, what are some of your favorite eco-friendly brands?
Some of my favorite sustainable apparel brands are Amour Vert, Apiece Apart, Arkins, Bassike, Cossac, Elizabeth Suzanne, kowtow, Mara Hoffman, Older Brother, People Tree, Rachel Comey, Reve en Vert, Siizu, Susana Colina, and Where Mountains Meet.
Are there any helpful charities or organizations that you would like to let the Jejune audience be informed about, in regards to preserving nature/environment?
I really love 350.org, Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation International, Earth Justice, Greenpeace Fund, Natural Resource Defense Council, Oceana, Oceanic Preservation Society, Rainforest Action Network, and Wildaid. I wrote a blog post, “The Best Environmental Charities to Give to Now,” explaining all of these if your readers would like to find out more.