At just 15 years old Avalon Theisen is already a seasoned activist. She founded Conserve It Forward, an environmental education organization based in Florida when she was just nine, she has given a TedX Talk, and she has won several awards including the Florida Achievement Award from the Florida Commission on the Status of Women in 2014. Oh, and she has visited the White House to speak about environmental issues. You know, no big deal.

As a vegan who wants to educate people on the connection between environmental destruction and what’s on their plate, Avalon volunteers with Vegan Outreach and is currently developing an app that will help people plan plant-based meals. And Avalon’s passionate work couldn’t come at a more critical time. Our global food system dominated by industrial animal agriculture is at the heart of our environmental crisis. In fact, did you know animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector combined? Pretty crazy – but we can change that.

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Avalon was recently featured by the Unbound Project, a photo-based online project that was started by Jo-Anne McArthur and Dr. Keri Cronin from Brock University to “recognize and celebrate women at the forefront of animal advocacy, in both a contemporary and historical context.” In her interview with the Unbound Project, Avalon explains what has led her to pursue environmental advocacy from such a young age.

 When asked what advice she would give to young people who want to make a difference in the world, Avalon shared: “Find something you care about deeply, and do everything you can for it. Encourage others to do small acts so that we can all help. In this way, all of our small roles add up to making big change for the world as a whole.”

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Most of Avalon’s learning is done on the road. Her family travels frequently and plans trips around opportunities for service and education. Amazingly, she clocked in about 370 hours of service in 2014 alone.

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Avalon was awarded the Humane Student of the Year by Animalearn, one of the several awards she has received for her incredible work. What an inspiration!

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If that wasn’t enough, Avalon is also an avid artist, creating “Zentangles,” pattern-based works of art, as part of her education and outreach efforts. Every painting she creates has information about wildlife and conservation on the back and the overall piece is designed to be multi-purpose, it can be used as stationary or framed as a piece of artwork.  Avalon

Despite her different interests and achievements, Avalon’s primary goal is to promote the idea that, “we have the chance to make change every time we eat, and fortunately, most of us have several opportunities to do this each day.”  This is an idea that we certainly agree with here at One Green Planet. Knowing all that we do about the impact of meat consumption on the environment and animals, we are faced with a choice – either we can continue to be sold into this destructive industry … or we can choose better.

You can join Avalon on this mission by joining One Green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet campaign. The goal of this campaign is, as Nil Zacharias, the co-founder of One Green Planet says, to teach people how to “eat in a way that nourishes you without starving the planet.”

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We all have the power to create a better future for our children, and the countless animals we share the planet with, by making one easy swap. To learn more about Avalon Theisen and follow her work, click here. 

Image source: Jo-Anne McArthur/The Unbound Project

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