The Roddenberry Foundation, inspired by the late “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry, awarded $250,000 to the vegan startup Green Monday for converting 1.6 million Hong Kong residents to a plant-based diet.
The Roddenberry Foundation launched in 2010 to “drive social change;” this year’s Roddenberry Prize awards, funded by the Roddenberry estate, spotlighted how female education, women’s rights, reducing food waste, and consuming less meat are vital to combat climate change. Lior Ipp, CEO of the foundation, explained to Fast Company, “the motivation is to let the world know that there are other ways of thinking about climate change.”
Leading Asian vegan campaign and social venture group Green Monday was one recipient. Founded by Hong Kong entrepreneur David Yeung, the maker of vegan pork product Omnipork and owner of vegan-friendly market and cafe chain Green Common, Green Monday invites the Asian community to give plant-based meals a try – comparable to the Meatless Monday campaign popular throughout the U.S. and Europe. Its efforts include partnering with LIVEKINDLY to expand its media reach and collaborating with the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Lee Woo Sing College to offer a credit-bearing “Future of Food: Plant-based Living” course.
The organization is “honored” to receive the Roddenberry Prize, announcing via Instagram that with the award it will “continue our effort to impact and scale, drive positive social change and improve the lives of people through plant-based diets.”
With words from Yeung, the post exemplified the “positive narrative” that Ipp was looking for in prize-winners. It read, “Everyone can be an agent of change. Every day can be Earth Day. The time is always right to do what is right. And the easiest and most impactful way you can help yourself and the planet is by reducing your meat consumption and shifting to a more plant-based diet.”
Other winners were KadAfrica, a Uganda-based cooperative that empowers young women through passion fruit farming, and VoteRunLead, a nonprofit organization that has trained over 33,000 women to run for office in the U.S.
Ipp explained that combatting climate change “isn’t just going to be solar panels or solar farms or electric cars. These other issues are really important…We should be investing in girls’ education and women’s rights regardless of whether it has an impact on the environment.”
The awards also championed groups which have a widespread, positive impact on the planet. Ipp explained, “I think one of the challenges in the climate space is that people feel that there’s nothing they can do individually–sure, I can do some recycling and don’t have to buy a Hummer, but what difference will my contributions make?” He lamented, “[T]here’s a sense of despair…driven by the discourse in the climate space–people have been talking about the climate issue in terms of the apocalyptic end of the world.”
Highlighting positive action, the Roddenberry Prize was also awarded to the Waste and Resources Action Programme charity in recognition of its campaign to reduce food waste in the U.K. by 21 percent.
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