Model With A Mission

For our chapter Planet Love, we asked Kiki Boreel (@kikiboreel) to answer some questions. Kiki is an international model and studies Future Planet Studies at the UvA. She has also been named Climate Ambassador of the Future 2021 by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate. 

What is the most beautiful place on earth you’ve ever been?
Definitely Iceland. The landscape there is so diverse and much of their nature is protected. You feel that nature is untouched by humans in so many places. There are grassland fields, geysers, glaciers, and the clearest water streams. I stood on the cliff where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates divert, and even saw the Northern light. And what is cool about Iceland is that almost 100% of their energy is renewable! I think we can learn a lot from the country.

How do you incorporate your environmental awareness into your daily life?
In many ways! From things like turning down the thermostat and turning of the lights to eating vegetarian and not buying things (new). But I think the best thing you can do is make others aware as well. If it is just you, you’re only a small drop in the ocean, but many drops can make a current. So that’s why I became one of the eight Climate Ambassadors of the Future for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. I also share facts about climate change, the climate transition and sustainable fashion on my Instagram. And working as a model gives me close insights in the industry and allows me to go into conversation with brands about how they can reduce their climate impact.

“If it is just you, you’re only a small drop in the ocean, but many drops can make a current”

What is your favourite way of spending time in nature?  
I love going for long walks in ancient forests. Ever since the book The Hidden Life of Trees I look different at them. Just knowing there is a complete communication network under your feet is magical. I recently started “scanning” the trees, plants and flowers with an app on my phone to find out more about them. Going for a walk calms me down and reenergizes me at the same time.


Book The Hidden Life Of Trees

If you could recommend 3 simple steps we could take towards living a more sustainable everyday life, what would they be?
Reduce, isolate and change your diet. I know it has been said a lot, but switching to a (more) vegetarian or vegan diet is a very important step to take towards a more sustainable everyday life. The bioindustry has huge environmental impacts. It uses a lot of land, mostly to produce feed for the cattle. To “create” all this land (tropical) forests are being cut down. It also produces high amounts of CO2 emissions: animal-based products emit 10-50 times more CO2 than plant-based products. This might be a lot of numbers so let me summarize it to this: If everyone switched to a vegetarian or vegan diet it would not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions directly, but it would also safe a lot of land. This land can stay or become (tropical)forest again. And maybe you know, forests take up CO2, which is exactly what we need to keep our planet from warming up.

What are your favourite environmental initiatives, charities or activists that people should know about?
One of my favourite activists is Vanessa Nakate. She is a climate justice activist from Kampala, Uganda. She wrote the book A Bigger Picture, where she links the climate crisis and anti-racism, feminism, education, economics, and radicalization. She is an amazing strong and hopeful voice and describes all problems in a clear and understandable way. She also started the Rise up Movement that aims to give African Climate Activists a platform for their voice to be heard. I also really like Naomi Klein, a Canadian journalist and activist. She writes about the impact of capitalism and multinationals, but also about what we should do to make sure we keep the planet liveable. I think her way of thinking is very inspirational. And definitely check out One Earth, they fund different projects around the world all aimed at tackling climate change. A new project is for example Daughters for Earth that mobilizes women-led climate action to protect the earth.


Kiki with Paul Bellaart in Iceland