Upon first glance, Lindsey Coffey seems like any other model—beautiful, graceful, and fashionable—but her passion for protecting the environment sets her apart. In 2020, Lindsey was crowned the winner at Miss Earth, an annual international beauty pageant that advocates for environmental awareness and conservation. The topic of environmental consciousness is usually approached from one of two extremes: the unreasonable hysteria of climate change activism or the utter apathy from people who believe the climate change hysteria is a joke. But Lindsey offers a different perspective. She encourages people to understand that the Earth has limited resources and that we can all be more conscious about how we treat the environment, even if it's small changes in our day-to-day life.
Lindsey was first discovered in a shopping mall in Rhode Island when she was 12 years old, and she began modeling full time in 2012. She graduated from Washington & Jefferson College with a degree in political science and competed against 83 other women to win the Miss Earth 2020 title. She has modeled for Harper's Bazaar, Grazia, and a variety of other fashion magazines, advocating for issues such as pollution, the water crisis, and sustainability. She tells Evie how women can make some simple changes in their daily routine to be more environmentally conscious.
Environmental Activism Is Easier To Get Involved in Than You Might Think
You don't need to devote hours and hours of your time to learning more about the environment and how to conserve it. Lindsey recommends something as simple as volunteering with a local organization. "Most action takes place when it becomes personal," she says. "Having a connected and grounding experience allows you to view the world through a new perspective and consciousness, creating a more compassionate and beautiful world we can all be proud to call home."
Some of the ways Lindsey recommends getting involved include ocean conservation, wildlife, climate change, green tech, and the fashion industry. If there are any environmental organizations aligned with one of these causes that feel compelling to you, she encourages you to join their ambassador program and see how you can assist their cause.
"If you want to learn about the climate crisis in depth I suggest joining The Climate Reality Leadership Corps," she continues. "This is an extensive training program that educates you about worldwide climate issues, the solutions we have, and how to take action while inspiring others to do the same. You are also connecting with a like-minded and passionate community that will support you on your journey into activism."
If you're not able to get involved with your time and energy, donating to these organizations on a regular basis helps, even if it's a small monthly donation. Simply being on the email list of these organizations can provide you with updates on what kind of work they're doing so you can share with friends and family if you want to spread awareness.
There are little things here and there in daily life that Lindsey recommends: "using reusable bags and bottles, unplugging appliances and electronics/chargers when not in use, switching your cellphone to dark mode, making energy efficient purchases, shopping vintage and donating, as well as shopping locally and wisely."
Choose Your Clothes (and Get Rid of Them) Wisely
Most women have a tendency to purchase new clothes without thinking about where they're coming from or getting rid of older items in their closet first. Lindsey ecourages women to be "eco-conscious in fashion" with some simple steps. If you can help it, avoid buying brand new clothes, but if you do, "purchase mindfully." Look for local stores that "honor transparency and circularity," as these are the types of vendors that reveal information about their supply chain, manufacturing, materials used, who makes the clothes, etc.
"Also look for third party certifications like BCI, B Corp, and the Global Organic Textile Standard, among others," she tells Evie. "As sustainability is trending, brands and designers are known for greenwashing their customers. If a company uses vague wording and fails to provide specifics when it comes to production and manufacturing, they are probably greenwashing you and are not as environmentally friendly as they lead on." Lindsey recommends third-party websites like goodonyou.eco that rank brands on their eco-friendly status.
"Studies show 85% of textiles end up in landfills each year," Lindsey continues. "Instead of tossing your garments, donate your discarded clothing or swap with some of your best friends. If you’re creative, try up cycling and repurposing to turn it into something new. I’ve found so many DIY projects where I’ve turned torn pantyhose into headbands, belts, or plant holders!"
She says some stores even offer textile recycling or buy-back programs that will give you a credit if you return your used items. "There are many alternatives to the landfill that save our planet while also saving you money," she adds. Simply being more aware of how you dispose of your clothes can be helpful. We consume much more than we realize.
Demand More from Your Local Politicians
Lindsey believes that "the sense of urgency is often overlooked." There isn't enough action being taken to further protect the environment, but this could be a result of a lack of knowledge more than anything else.
"If we do not make significant changes in this decade, our atmosphere will drastically shift, causing irreversible damage," she tells Evie. "Yet, there is still hope. As the United States is second behind China in greenhouse gas emissions, the solution lies within our democracy. Our collective voice carries enough weight to change policy within our nation."
Advocating for legislative reform is crucial to "become a front runner in sustainability" around the world. Lindsey recommends going straight to the legislative branch and demanding change from our politicians. "The most effective way is voting for politicians with a pro-environment agenda. You can vote green during local, state, and national elections," she says. But that's not all.
"Signing online petitions also creates an impact and commands the government's attention," she continues. "It takes less than two minutes from the comfort of your own home. When it comes to online resources, signing up for newsletters with organizations like The Climate Reality Project and World Wildlife Fund, you can receive pre-written emails to send to your local and state representatives with a link connecting you to their contact info. From there it’s a simple copy and paste."
There are plenty of ways to care for the environment, and you don't have to uproot your whole life to make positive changes. It may take some additional time and research before you head out for your next shopping excursion, but a little goes a long way. Even after Lindsey passed on her Miss Earth crown, she has continued to encourage people everywhere to preserve the beautiful planet we have been gifted.
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