“Five Questions from Ken” is a new series of conversations with EWG President Ken Cook and inspiring leaders of the environmental health world.
Today’s guest is Priscilla Woolworth, an eco-advocate, green tastemaker and author of the book LOLA Lots of Love Always, published last year. Woolworth is the founder and CEO of PriscillaWoolworth.com, an online Eco General Store and Almanac Newsletter. Her website offers a diverse assortment of environmentally friendly and socially responsible products for the home. A direct descendant of a founder of the iconic F.W. Woolworth “five-and-dime” chain, Priscilla is passionate about continuing her family’s legacy into the 21st century by promoting a lifestyle of environmental awareness and sustainability. LOLA Lots of Love Always aims to show young women how to live a sustainable lifestyle and make healthy choices that are good for them and the planet at large
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Ken: You have two daughters, Lucie and Arielle. How was your book influenced by your experience trying to help them understand sustainable living and environmental protection?
Priscilla: My daughters inspired me and in turn, my book LOLA Lots of Love Always was influenced by what I wanted them to know that really mattered. When they were teenagers, I realized that the best way to show the girls how to make healthy choices and live more sustainably was by doing it myself. The girls didn’t always appreciate my efforts! I did learn what would get their attention and what they still needed to learn about, and they both gave me invaluable input for the book.
Ken: Do you see social media and the Internet as changing the dynamic for young people today? Is the access to so much information making this better or worse in terms of helping them navigate these issues?
Priscilla: Even though young people are savvy users of the Internet, they can also fall prey to confusing and conflicting information about everything from foods and beauty aids to medicines advertised as quick fixes. What to believe? They need to be aware of the trusted options that are available to them so they can make educated choices for themselves. EWG [is] an invaluable resource I recommend to everyone.
Ken: Why is activism and volunteerism so important for people of all ages?
Priscilla: It’s a way to contribute to the well being of your community and the world as a whole. By volunteering, you will learn new skills that can boost career options while opening your mind to new interests, building character, and nourishing your soul. Global volunteering is empowering, allowing you to witness the direct impact your work has on some of the most vulnerable people in the world. Activism is another means to make a difference in relation to specific issues you care about.
Ken: What do you see as the most important environmental health topic young people need to understand and engage with today?
Priscilla: What they put in their bodies, whether it’s the food choices they make, or the skin and hair care products they use. When I was younger, nobody thought about these issues. Instead, we just bought and used whatever was in stores. Young people today are better informed and can make educated choices by supporting the many wonderful toxics-free brands now available and help make them the norm rather than the exception.
Ken: Based on the reaction to the book, are you feeling hopeful that the next generation will be good stewards of the environment and their own health?
Priscilla: The next generation is empowered! They are aware and informed in ways that previous generations were not. When my daughters were at school, they were taught the perils of drugs, smoking and alcohol. The generation after theirs, the focus shifted to environmental awareness. Kids learned all the ways to be environmentally conscientious, and how each of their actions can have a positive impact on the planet. It’s second nature to them now.
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