Eco-Warrior Profile: Nurse Penny Tovar Prescribes Conscious Consumerism to Heal Our Fevered Planet
Also known as “CurlyPenny,” Penny Tovar is a 24-year-old registered nurse, popular YouTuber and Instagram style blogger. Her mission is to encourage young girls to love and embrace their inner and outer beauty. She’s a proud college-educated Chicana, living the dream as a social media influencer – though she loathes that label. Over the years, her message has evolved and become more meaningful. Today, she uses her platform to introduce fans to the benefits of conscious consumerism and a sustainable lifestyle.
Influential on both Instagram and YouTube, with a combined following of almost a million followers, she’s posted some helpful and downright funny videos on vegan beauty products and sustainable fashion. She was also selected to appear at the 2019 UN Youth Climate Summit, where she spoke on a panel and discussed ways to inspire positive environmental behavior without alienating people.
We recently caught up with Penny and she had this to say:
1. As a global village, what’s our biggest opportunity to reverse climate change?
VOTE! Our biggest opportunity to reverse climate change is to put people in office who care about our planet and will initiate and implement eco-friendly solutions.
2. If you had a million dollars to donate to a cause, which would it be?
I would personally create a scholarship foundation for the children of first-generation Hispanic immigrants. Statistically speaking, the Hispanic population has the lowest graduation rates. I have a lot to say on that topic, but one solution is to remove the burden of cost. Education is incredibly important, statistics show that a college degree increases financial stability and years of life. By giving the gift of education, we can create a community that is able to initiate change in their life, family, and community.
3. What aspect of climate change do you think isn’t talked about enough?
INGREDIENTS! A lot of people talk about plastic packaging, and that’s great! Plastic pollution is incredibly important, but no one ever talks about how many of the ingredients in beauty products come from petroleum and palm oil. Sodium lauryl sulfate is derived from palm oil, and is in the majority of shampoos. Cetearyl alcohol is usually derived from palm oil, which is in the majority of conditioners and creams. Mineral oil is derived from petroleum, and people are slathering baby oil (mineral oil) on their newborns! Butylene glycol is also derived from petroleum, which is found in many skincare serums. Another massive issue is mica. Mica is a natural mineral found in almost ALL eyeshadows, but what people don’t know is that the majority of mica in the world is mined with illegal child labor in India. I encourage everyone to use products with natural extracts that are renewable. It’s better for us and the planet.
4. Are you working on a specific project that you’d like the world to know about?
A dream of mine is to create a cosmetics company that is vegan, cruelty-free, sustainable packaging and made with fair trade, renewable ingredients. I am pretty sure it’s going to happen at some point. I just need the resources, so stay tuned!
5. How is climate change approached in your country? The good, the bad and the ugly …
I live in the USA, we are privileged enough to have the time and resources to talk about these issues. I actually have a lot of hope because the new generation is talking about these issues and taking action. However, there are others who are incredibly reluctant to change and deny the science of climate change. There are also others who get angry at people who try to speak on the topic. Billie Eilish made a post on Instagram about climate change and she ended up deleting it because so many people accused her of being a hypocrite for riding planes, and they completely ignored the fact that she’s vegan!
The fact that people attacked her for wanting to shed light on an important topic is absolute insanity. It’s like people feel guilty and convicted and resort to silencing the messenger, incredibly toxic indeed.
6. Who would be on your list of the top eco-warriors on Instagram?
Greta Thunberg is the obvious answer. Another obvious answer is Lauren Singer . Don’t get me wrong, they’re amazing!
I think whoever speaks about the topic on Instagram is a warrior! Every time you spread the word or share an eco-friendly option, you are helping the movement and creating change. Every voice counts.
7. Was there an event or cause that compelled you to fight climate change?
Last year, I didn’t even know what climate change was. I wasn’t conscious of my carbon footprint and I put zero effort into reducing my waste. It wasn’t until I watched this video on YouTube of a woman who fit three years of trash into jar, and that woman was Lauren Singer. I was so fascinated with her lifestyle and did some research on zero-waste living which lead me down a rabbit hole. Now, my life is so completely different. I compost, I use low waste or solid hair products and my home-cooked meals are bulk, plastic-free and vegan. My makeup, skincare and hair care is low waste, vegan and cruelty free. I make my own household cleaner and use a bamboo toothbrush and vegan refillable floss. I am more conscious about fast fashion and the fabric of my clothing (100% organic cotton ftw). I like to share my habits with my audience on YouTube and Instagram. I am not perfect, I am learning every day, but I am proud of my progress and am excited for what is to come.
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