Call her a model, an eco-activist or a vegetarian, we just call her Jess, but she is all of those things and more and we love her for it. She has been so supportive of our vision at Into The Eco, so it was a joy to be able to use her talents in our latest photo shoot.
We are calling Jess our eco-conscious model, we classify her as a fellow eco-warrior, doing what she can to make a difference. She is passionate about her strict vegetarian diet, recycles everything she uses, refusing plastic where possible, buys into cool fashion brands, powers her flat with a green supplier, and is pleasantly vocal about all of the above. She also adopted all of our plants off us when we left London and is kindly keeping them alive while we are away. Something that we are super grateful for.
We have massive respect for anyone doing their best to have a positive impact on the world. We need as much of this as possible. One day in the not too distant future Jess also has big dreams for setting up her own eco-friendly business. So watch this space.
Being friends with Jess has had a positive effect on my life that is for sure, she is the kind of friend that makes you happily ambitious and inspired us to do this photoshoot. I thought it was only fair to do an interview with her for the blog.
ITE: Hey Jess, did you enjoy shoot day?
JE: Hi! I did, it was great! It’s so inspiring to work with people who share your values and who you can be creative with. We definitely have to do more projects together in the future.
ITE: Tell us about realising you’re a vegetarian and why you feel it is important to be a strong advocate for the vegetarian lifestyle?
JE: I first wanted to become a vegetarian when I was about 14/15. I remember spending a lovely day with all of my family feeding the ducks at a park, that night we all sat down to have dinner at a restaurant and everyone ordered roast duck and something just clicked inside me. I thought to myself, it would be hypocritical to call myself an animal lover and also support an industry that often treats animals badly and kills them. I am just as happy and even more healthy going without. My father was under the impression that I wouldn’t get enough protein on a vegetarian diet (a common misconception) and told me to wait until I was 18 to cut out meat, which I did and haven’t had any in the 10 years since.
My decision to be a vegetarian started out as an animal rights concern, however, I soon found other arguments that strengthened my belief in a plant-based diet. In terms of sustainability, animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of global warming, generating 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This means it’s the second highest source of emissions, greater than all of transportation combined. It also is one of the leading causes of deforestation, biodiversity loss and water pollution.
The good news is, by choosing plant-based food we can have a huge impact on reducing our own carbon footprint and helping our environment on an individual level, and I find this to be quite empowering. Plus, veggies are great, and good for your health!
ITE: What is your favourite meal to make for yourself?
JE: I have to pick just one? There’s too many! One of my favourites is a Moroccan tagine type dish of roasted vegetables on couscous. It’s delicious! You cook aubergine, courgette and chickpeas with cumin, cinnamon, onion and coriander, and add some chopped tomatoes and lets everything simmer for a while. Then you serve over couscous or quinoa with some lemon on top. It’s easy and so good.
ITE: Sounds absolutely delicious. Good choice. What does living a conscious lifestyle mean to you?
JE: It can be overwhelming and frustrating to constantly hear and read about the dire state of our planet and the complex social issues we face in modern life. It can feel helpless as an individual to make a change. But I think living a conscious lifestyle is taking back that power and knowing that the choices you make every single day make a big difference. Choosing brands that have values that are in line with your own, that support sustainability and transparency has a big impact on the world. If we support brands that we believe in, not only will they grow but other similar brands will form.
Similarly, every choice we make has an impact, if we decide to bike instead of driving to work, we choose a plant-based diet, if we take our own bags to the supermarket. You might think that what one person can achieve is not enough but if everyone thought that way, we wouldn’t get anywhere! I believe that the biggest impact is in our small everyday choices.
ITE: Can you offer us some tips for people who want to become vegetarians or start introducing more plant-based meals into their daily routine?
JE: Get creative! People sometimes genuinely ask me what I even eat if I don’t eat meat, which is crazy because there are so many grains, fruits, and vegetables out there. I would say that you can get a much wider range of nutrients, flavours and textures from trying different vegetarian options. My favourite recipes mostly come from Deliciously Ella cookbooks, they’re easy to follow, simple and delicious recipes.
You can also make your favourite meat recipes with vegetarian alternatives, for example, instead of making a shepherds pie with ground meat, I love making a veggie option with lentils, carrots and peas.
ITE: Great advice. Changing the subject a little. You love to explore, we would love to know where is the best place you have been so far?
JE: Again, it’s hard to choose just one! I really loved Japan, not only because it’s a beautiful place but it was also so interesting to observe Japanese culture. Everyone was so welcoming, polite and helpful to us lost tourists. I loved the architecture, the minimal approach to furnishing their houses and it was really impressive how clean and organised everything was.
ITE: What does the perfect day look like to you?
JE: If my day includes good food, rock climbing, being with friends, travelling – those are all things I love. However, I’m a strong believer in happiness coming from within. I try meditating twice a day, for this reason, I think my happiest days are when I’m in a happy state of mind, when I can live in the moment and I feel peaceful.
ITE: How would you describe your style? Do you follow a mantra when shopping for new clothes?
JE: I’m not sure how I would label my style, it’s changed over the years and grown up as I have. I really just wear what makes me happy and what reflects my mood for the day. When I’m shopping I try to weigh up if I really need the piece of clothing by asking myself whether I already have something similar and whether I would wear it tomorrow, because it’s easy to say yeah I’ll probably wear it for some occasion, but if you won’t wear it tomorrow you probably won’t wear it enough.
Some of my favourite clothes in my wardrobe are pieces I’ve had for years and years. I think it’s important to evaluate whether a purchase is something that will last the years or whether it is just something that’s trendy now but will go out of fashion soon.
ITE: What are the challenges you feel when living more eco-consciously? What keeps you motivated?
JE: I guess living sustainably is just more effort. You have to take your own coffee cup to the cafe, take your own bags to the grocery store, take the time to separate your recycling, take your clothes to the charity shop. It’s not always easy. But I find it’s worth the effort, it makes me happier and that alone makes it worth it. I think the more you make something into a habit the easier it is, if you pack your bags and coffee cup into your bag every morning, it just becomes automatic. And plus, I find my morning coffee tastes better out of my KeepCup!
ITE: What would you say is your personal motto?
JE: It’s a weird one but one phrase that has stuck in my head for years is “you can only see as far as you think.” It speaks of the power of thought really. Our actions and perceptions are limited by our thoughts. If you want something, you can think it into reality. If you want to make a change, you can think about the actions that are necessary for that change, you can carry out those actions and you have the power to alter your life by altering your thoughts.
I hope you enjoyed reading this interview as much as we did. Talking to our friends about our environmental and ethical viewpoints is one of the best things we can do to help spread the word. We hope that every conversation had between our peers helps to create a ripple effect. Never underestimate the influence you are having by just being yourself. We all have more influence than we think, one good deed often leads to another. We truly believe that if everyone introduced most of these practices into our daily lives the world would be better for it and we could start rewinding some of the damage our past actions have caused. To read more about the shoot click here.
Let us know what your friends do to inspire you or how you try to inspire your friends in the comments below. I promise you, someone is noticing your efforts and is being inspired.
Finishing off with this little video from the day. As always, thank you for reading, we appreciate the time you spend with us so very much.
Love, Lottie xx
Into The Eco
Model: Jessica Ewer
Photographer: Josh John
Producer: Lottie Woods
Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter here, our first ever one will be going out at the end of this month. Be the first to have a look.