Lily Cole: My Sustainable Life - ‘Please can someone invent teleportation?’

The model and activist tells Olivia Petter how sustainability influences her daily life

Tuesday 18 May 2021 07:00

The Independent’s My Sustainable Life is a Q&A series in which famous faces reveal their personal approach to the climate crisis

This week, for My Sustainable Life, we hear from model and activist Lily Cole.

Previous guests on My Sustainable Life includeLabour MP Dawn Butler and TV presenter Miquita Oliver.

The British model is the headline speaker at the Earthrise Summit, a virtual sustainability festival taking place on 19 May.

Here she talks about her attempt at veganism, why someone needs to invent teleportation, and how carbon pricing could be the key to helping combat the climate crisis.

The most sustainable decision I made in the past year was...

To try to be fully vegan. I’ve been calling myself a “VagueN” for the last few years - mostly vegan but eating eggs and fish occasionally - but I felt like it it was time to be more committed to that path.

My least sustainable guilty habit is...

Tetra-pack, as we go through a lot of fake milks at home. I did try making my own milks for a while (almond) but as they say, convenience is killer.

If I ruled the world, I would make it more sustainable by...

Stopping subsidies to fossil fuel companies, and implementing carbon pricing (i.e making companies pay to pollute) - which could be redistributed to people as a “carbon dividend”.

Most economists agree that carbon pricing is the closest thing we have to a silver bullet to deal with the climate crisis.

When I want to feel in touch with the natural world I...

Go outside for a walk in the wild, lie in the grass or put my fingers in the Earth, or go swimming in the sea.

If I could invent one thing that would make my life more sustainable it would be...

Teleportation. Please someone invent that! It would be amazing to travel without travelling.

My sustainability hero is...

The Sea Shepherds. I love their commitment and bravery. And my friend Mark Boyle (author of The Moneyless Manifesto and The Way Home), who walks the talk more than anyone I know.

The one thing everyone should watch or read about the climate crisis is...

I just finished reading The Overstory (Richard Powers) which I loved: a poetic and epic novel in which the trees are protagonists.

From a non-fiction perspective, I loved Jonathan Saffran Foer’s book, We Are The Weather. And why not give a nod to my book and podcast? Who Cares Wins, which explores a thousand diverse solutions to the climate crisis.

My favourite vegan or vegetarian restaurant is...

Mildreds in London; Arkhe in Lisbon; Souen in NY; Cafe Gratitude in LA.

My one piece of advice to people trying to be more sustainable is...

Slow everything down. Slow food; slow fashion; slow travel. Emphasise quality over quantity when making choices.

Three sustainable brands everyone should know about

Lemuel MC - who make beautiful organic linen clothes.

Story MFG - I love their patterns and designs

Wires Glasses - the bioplastic, low waste, eyewear brand I cofounded.

Lily Cole is a headline speaker at Huckletree’s virtual sustainability festival Earthrise Summit on 19 May 2021.

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