On September 23rd, actress and activist Natalie Portman was awarded the Ongoing Commitment Award at the 27th annual Environmental Media Association (EMA) awards benefit in Los Angeles, California for her contributions to environmentalism.

Portman, who decided to switch to a plant-based diet in 2009 after reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals, produced and narrated a documentary of the same name. The documentary delves into the many problems of modern animal agriculture.

“Factory farming is responsible for most of the air, water, and land pollution that disproportionately affects our poor communities as well,” Natalie says in her acceptance speech, as captured in the video above. “So we get to make decisions three times a day, what we do with our planet, and you can make a difference by even once a day or once a week choosing not to eat animals or animal products.”

Natalie goes on to touch on access and affordability, and laments how in some areas in the United States, young children have access to several McDonald’s, but cannot even find a place to buy a fresh apple.

Natalie’s words deliver a pertinent message about the state of our food system as it currently stands: approximately 23.5 million people in the United States live in areas devoid of produce or other nutritious food (aka food deserts), forcing them to turn to bodegas, convenience stores, and fast food to feed themselves.

Additionally, over half of the world’s arable land resources are occupied by the industrial animal agriculture system, which uses our freshwater stores and causes considerable water pollution, land degradation, deforestation and is pushing countless species to the brink of extinction.

Still, one in eight people are affected by food scarcity, more it is often individuals living in poor, working class, and non-white neighborhoods who suffer.

Thank you for continuing to propel these issues into the limelight, Natalie. We recommend everyone check out One Green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet campaign to see how to eat for a more sustainable future, and also recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook, for vegan recipe resources.

 Lead image source: NataliePortman.com/Facebook