Lilly Tong // Episode 106 // Season 2 Rising Up to Climate Action

Welcome to the Episode 106 // Season 2 of the Asian Hustle Network Podcast! We are very excited to have Lilly Tong on this week's episode.

We interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals. We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.

Check us out on Anchor, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, TuneIn, Spotify and more. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave us a positive 5-star review. This is our opportunity to use the voices of the Asian community and share these incredible stories with the world. We release a new episode every Wednesday, so stay tuned!

Lilly Tong is a Chinese-Canadian climate activist, creative and the first Asian Youtuber and Podcaster in the world to focus on tackling climate change. She runs a one-woman show, Make Peas Not Beef, where her mission is to use her humour and creativity to create educational content that makes climate action fun and relatable to the average person. Lilly is excited to bring billions of people of color into the climate movement with her as to accelerate our transition into a post-carbon world.

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Transcript

Intro: (00:00:00) Hey guys, welcome to Asian Hustle Network Podcast, My name is Bryan. 

And my name is Maggie 

And we interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asiansto pursue their dreams and goals.

We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.

Maggie: (00:00:23) Hi everyone. Welcome to the Asian hustle network podcast. Today. We have. Special guest with us. Her name is Lily tongue. Lily is a Chinese Canadian climate activists, creative and the first Asian YouTuber and podcaster in the world to focus on tackling climate change. She runs a one woman show, make peace not beef, where her mission is to use her humor and creativity to create educational content that makes climate.

Fun and relatable to the average person. Lily is excited to bring billions of people of color into the climate movement with her as to accelerate our transition into a post carbon world. Lily, welcome to the show.

Lilly: (00:01:05)  Thank you so much, Maggie. So excited to be here. This is like a dream come true. I’ve been following the Asian hustle network for a while now, and I’ve listened to quite a few episodes.

So I’m super excited to be here. Thank you so much.

Bryan: (00:01:17)  That is amazing. Thank you so much for being our supporter. We appreciate us so much, but during this podcast, want to hear more about you? What was your upbringing light and where does this activism come from? Is it something that your parents taught you or something that you’ve come to realize as young as he grew older and started observing.

Lilly: (00:01:34)   Absolutely. That is a great question. Yeah. So I’ll just tell everybody a little bit about who I am and where I’m from on my story. So, Hey everyone. My name is Lily AK, the dopest check on the planet, by the way. That’s my new nickname given to me by my good friend. O’Brien shout out to O’Brien. I have to give him credit for it.

So actually, before I introduce myself, I just want to say I am so happy to be here. You know, I’ve always dreamed of being on Asian hustle network. This is a dream come true. Like I’ve said, I’m truly honored. And I’m actually a big fan of the show, a big fan of Brian and Maggie and what you guys are doing to uplift the Asian community.

You know, Brian has been an incredible mentor to me and I follow your show and I’ve listened to some of your recent episodes and I love the one with Christo. Oh my gosh. He’s so Savage in the second half. And he’s just brilliant. I laughed so hard when he said eat dust. And so I had to follow him on clubhouse right after.

And then there’s the one with, yeah. And rice was really fun. I like, I mean, slicing rice has over a million followers on YouTube, so it was just so eyeopening to see a different side of Matt. And Gloria’s dynamic behind the scenes, not only as husband and wife and also as business partners. Right. And then there’s the one with James Lee, which was really inspiring.

And I love how he just walked into a board meeting without knowing that it was going to be a board meeting. And it’s, it’s socially that Asian parents don’t like to see the doctor, even though they want us to be doctors. So love the content you guys are putting out. Um, yeah. Thank you. Um, yeah, as for me, my name is Lily tone.

I am a climate activist, a multi-faceted creative software engineer, and I am the first Asia YouTuber and podcaster in the world as Maggie and Brian, him said to have a show dedicated to solving climate change. So I run a one woman show and podcast and YouTube channel called make peace, not beef. And it’s a fun and informative podcast that focuses on climate change and climate solutions.

Also plant-based lifestyle. But I also talk about tech and culture and self-development because my goal is to make my content fun and relatable and digestible to the average person. So the name make peace, not beef is a pun. It actually means eat plants, not meat, and also make pizza. Or so the theme with my podcast.

Making peace with ourselves and the world around us. And a big part of making peace with the world is recognizing and rehabilitating our relationship with our disease planet. So, unfortunately I’m not an entrepreneur yet because I don’t make money yet, but my ultimate goal is not necessarily to make a profit, but generate enough income so I can sustain myself and keep doing what I’m doing.

So. Diving into my upbringing, a story I was born in 1993 in Beijing, the bustling capital city of China. And I actually grew up during a period of rapid urbanization where the environment took a back seat to economic development. So I grew up witnessing. I scrapers and the demise of nature and environmental degradation.

So water scarcity, sandstorms, smog, and air pollution and food waste. You know, these were major rampant problems that played a booming Beijing. So growing up, I remember seeing signs everywhere in public spaces. And schools, you know, to save water and save energy. Uh, the government was doing a really good job of spreading the message.

So I was diligently saving water and energy everywhere. I went and I became an environmentalist at the age of six or seven. Now at the age of 11, I immigrated to Toronto Canada with my mom. And I was just stunned by how wasteful people here or with resources in the west. Right? Whether it’s food or water, electricity, and ingrained.

So this was 2006. My science teachers showed me the inconvenient truth, and that was my first time learning about climate change. And I remember I immediately became alarmed the scene of a polar bear drifting on ice. Just never like. But, you know, at the time there was still so much debate going on as to whether or not climate change is real.

So all this disinformation really slowed our progress when we could have been working on it the entire time. I just remember, even in high school, I was aware of climate change and I briefly briefly entertain the idea of becoming the minister of environment one day. But the problem. So farfetched and I did not have an adequate understanding of climate change at the time.

And, you know, on top of that, having Asian parents that emphasize practicality and financial stability, I chose software engineering as my major university, partially because I knew the career prospects were grades, but also because I. Did enjoy computer science and programming. Um, computer science was just fascinating to me, Brian, I’m sure.

You know, because you studied it, right? Because it could solve a wide array of problems from, you know, fraud detection to Netflix recommendation with machine learning, to like predictive modeling to online dating. It was just such a versatile tool to have at my disposal. So I went with that and graduated with a degree in software engineering.

And then after that, I briefly worked in consulting before deciding I’m not cut for the corporate world. So then I went back to working as a software engineer at a tech startup, and now I work at vice media full time, but over the years, you know, I continue to follow the news and climate change. And as climate change unfolded rapidly into an existential crisis, I can’t.

Uh, wonder what can I do to help mitigate or even reverse this crisis? But no one around me seemed to care about climate change. And that really frustrated me. And it made me realize that there was a gaping void in climate education and awareness because your average person, I realized that. Severely undereducated on climate change.

And they’re dangerously unaware of the magnitude of the threat here. This includes my own very parents and there was a growing voice at the back of my head getting louder and louder. That’s urging me to do something about it if no one else will. So. Back in 2019, I actually applied for the master of public policy program at Harvard Kennedy school, hoping to focus on climate policy.

And the good news was I was admitted in March, 2020, but to damp in my excitement because of COVID-19 Harvard said, you know, you either start virtually. The fall, or you have to take a, to your deferral. So I kind of knew I had no choice, but to take the two year deferral, because the whole point of going to grad school was to network for the experience, right?

Like I’m not going to take a bunch of zoom lessons and pay 200 K for it. So at first I was really lost. I was like, well, what am I going to do for the next two years? At the time I already told my boss, I was going to quit my job and go to grad school and work in climate change at everybody was like congratulating me.

So it was super awkward to go back to my. Hey, can I have my job back? Unfortunately he said, yes, but anyway, I knew I didn’t want to wait and I couldn’t afford to wait another two years to start working on climate change. And I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts in the past few years. So this concept of starting my own podcast has been brewing in my mind for quite a bit.

And I knew I wanted to spread the word on climate change and climate action. So I finally decided to start my own show in December, 2020, and I published my first episode in January, 2021. And from that moment on. Make peace not beef was born. So I guess it’s a furrow as a blessing in disguise after all.

Sorry, that was a very long backstory.

Bryan: (00:08:37)  It’s absolutely amazing. And everything you said is very relatable to my life, at least. Cause we both work in tech, right? Eddie, all of us here worked in tech and what we saw was like, It’s so wasteful, like every time you have a company events, it’s like people throw away like barrels and plates and giant plates and your metal plates of food. And you’re like, oh my God, like, what is,

Maggie: (00:09:00)     yeah, for sure. Brian was, um, working in tech before me. And he would always tell me like every day when he gets off work, when people don’t finish, like the donuts or the pastries, they just throw it away. And I didn’t believe him at first because I was working in local government.

So they didn’t give out free lunches and stuff like that. But when I did start working at. Oh, my gosh, Brian. You’re right. Like they just throw out everything and it’s so sad.

Lilly: (00:09:22)     I know. And that’s part of the perks of working. That’s why a lot of people go to these tech companies, right.

Bryan: (00:09:26)    Yeah. It’s, it’s very, very upsetting to see so much wasteful activity at work. And, you know, the F the thing is like, they don’t even let you, like, take the food out and like, give it to like the homeless people around San Francisco, because it’s against a policy is it’s the liability, essentially, because if someone eats the food of a company and they get sick, they can Sue the company.

So they read it, just take that risk of just throwing the food away. But I was really curious about, I’m like, how’s this illegal? And it turns out. It’s a made up rule. It’s like, it’s not illegal in the United States. Like give a food or something because a lot of people that work at like donut shops, like, I don’t wanna mention to any donut shop names.

I don’t want to be seen in the podcast, but the only people on Tik TOK are really aware of this. And they they’re like, oh, I work at so-and-so donut shop. I had a throwaway. I tuned me go listen to. And, you know, I was watching a huge, like YouTube series on this is like, is it illegal? And it turns out it’s not.

So there’s a lot of misinformation already about giving away food to people that need it, you know, that’s crazy. And I really love the fact that you’re, you’re so aware and you’re on this path of doing something about it before. It’s something that we know it’s wrong, but we kind of just accept it as the way it is.

And before we dive deep into that, I really want to dive deep into the name of your podcast. You’ve been more because that itself is, it brings up more awareness. Right? And I want to give you an opportunity to talk about why you picked that name and what that means for our global environment to have a podcast name like that.

Lilly: (00:10:55)     Wow. Thank you so much. First of all, I completely agree with you. There’s just so many practices that we do. Not only not because it’s right, but because no one ever bothered to question, right? Like why are we throwing food away when we could be giving it to the homeless shelters? So I’m really glad you brought that point.

I’m you know, the interesting thing is, um, I learned about this a while ago, but there was a year where H and M had a bunch of unsold clubs. So these were perfectly fine clothing, but they cut holes in them so that no one can wear them before they dumped it into landfill. It’s just ridiculous. Right. And meanwhile, there’s people who are starving, who don’t have clothes to wear.

So, and that’s, that’s kind of why I wanted to study public policy. Like how can we make better policies so that there’s less misallocation of resource. Um, but yes, to answer your question about my podcast name, make peace not beef. So before I came up with the podcast name, I came up with a list of all the possible names and when I was gonna go with, um, and I knew I wanted to have a podcast that talks about climate change, but also I became vegan last year’s.

And I had a huge vegan awakening because for the longest time, I did not understand why people went vegan. I thought it was a trend. And especially just seeing how most vegan bloggers, you know, online were these like rich white people. I thought it was like a trend for the privileged people, but I saw this YouTube video, um, that kind of expose animal agriculture, animal farming.

And ever since I learned about what was really going on in the dairy industry, I went cold Turkey overnight. I became a vegan and there’s just no looking back. Because now knowing what I’m contributing to. So, anyway, so I wanted to start a podcast to also kind of talk about veganism and talk about why I decided to adopt a plant-based lifestyle, um, for ethical environmental, and also for health reasons.

So I was thinking, well, make peace not be, first of all, it rhymes. It’s like, you know, you can, you can literally weave it into part of her, like a rap freestyle, if you ever go to a rabbi, but, um, it’s catchy, it’s it rhymes. And also it sends out a powerful message. I think it’s so crafty how I came up with it.

And to be honest, I don’t, I didn’t overthink it. It was just like, make peace, not beef while why not make the PS PAs to emphasize on the fact that I am vegan and I’m trying to promote a plant-based lifestyle, but also make peace, not war. And then beef also means conflict, right? Like you don’t want to have a beef with someone.

So yeah, that’s how I kind of came up with that name and the message I’m trying to spread is really making peace with ourselves and the world. Right. I think there’s, there’s two levels making peace with. Um, ourselves first and foremost. So, which is why I talk about self development. I also talk about mental health.

I think before you can try to solve the bigger problems in the world, you have to make sure you take good care of yourself first and foremost. Right. And then the next level is making peace with the external world around us, the people around us, the animals, the planet, um, and the environment that we’re in. So yeah.

Bryan: (00:13:42)    Well, I liked that, that name a lot. And you know, the fact that he chose make peace, not beef. You know, I think we talked about this when the, for instance we met was like, you know, beef consumption actually harms the environment a lot. And now I don’t think a lot of people know about. You know, it’s like, it takes so much water, energy, grass material to grow beef.

That’s very harmful for the world, essentially. And I really liked the fact that you put more emphasis on that.

Lilly: (00:14:14)     Absolutely. And I was going to mention this, but most people don’t know. I’m not sure if you saw it in the news recently that the Amazon for us now emits more CO2 than an absorbs in certain parts.

And actually cattle farming is the leading cause of deforestation in the Amazon forest because loggers are in rent, ranchers, deliberately clear parts of the forest to make space for livestock farming. Right. So you’re right. And then there’s, there’s methane. Like 80 times more potent as a greenhouse gas compared to CO2, which contributes to climate, uh, to climate change.

And Cal burbs are the primary source of methane right now in agriculture. So 95% of it comes from burbs, actually. Yes.

Maggie: (00:14:58)     So I love that you shared that you turned vegan. Um, you know, and I think that there is a really big debate between, um, you know, you as a vegan yourself, trying to educate others about why it’s important to turn vegan.

Right. And I think that there are people, definitely people out there who we never turned into. Down to try it, you know, for a couple months or so. I think for those people who are not willing to do it at all, what would you say are like the things that we can do to be more like conscious and aware of our beef consumption so that we could, you know, be more aware of like what we’re intaking, what we’re calling.

Lilly: (00:15:32)     Oh, I love that question, Maggie. And there’s so much nuances that get lost. When I tell people I’m a vegan, right. They immediately treat me as this angry preachy person. And because veganism is almost seen as a religion nowadays, people are very, very divided on it. Um, but how I see it as I think everyone should do the best that we can.

To, to help come by this crisis, do whatever you can. You know, and whenever I talk about people going vegan, um, in my head, I understand that there’s so many indigenous communities and there are certain parts of the world that really rely on meat and seafood consumption to survive, and they don’t necessarily have the option or financial means to go vegan.

We are lucky to be living in the Western world where there’s so many vegan options with beyond meat and just ag and all this and that. But, uh, the landscape looks very different, right. Whereas if you are someone from Latin America or in the global south, where if you’re a Japanese and you’ve relied on seafood all your life.

So I guess what I’m trying to promote veganism, I’m saying the Western world, all of us were privileged. We live in developed countries. We do have the financial means to afford, to make that switch. We should make that. First because we are responsible for the majority of climate emissions, uh, for our carbon emissions.

So, um, I definitely encourage step one is to reduce meat and dairy consumption. I, I think it’s very hard for someone to go vegan overnight. Right? And it’s a journey. The more you learn about the impact of animal agriculture, the more inclined you are to make that switch. So maybe you can start off with having meatless Monday.

Cut meat and dairy out of your diet for one day, make a plant-based switch. Right? Um, I read this crazy statistic that said, like beyond meat posted this statistic that said if every American ate a plant-based burger, instead of a meat burger, just once a week, it would be equivalent to taking 12 million cars off the road in terms of carbon emissions.

Yeah. That’s, that’s how powerful it is. And another thing people don’t realize is that. Actually animal farming is the primary cause of a lot of the pandemics that we have around the world, animals are crammed in these tiny cages and 80% of all antibiotics in the states are actually used for livestock, right?

Or they’re used for animals to prevent them from getting cashing diseases in these cramped farms. So it’s not even for human consumption. And then when you eat this meat, you eat all the steroids and all the antibiotics. That that’s taken into your body. So there’s adverse health effects of that as well.

So I guess your point, I just try to educate people, you know, on the health, environmental, and also ethical benefits, um, of going vegan.

Maggie: (00:18:00)     Yeah. Yeah.

Bryan: (00:18:01)     That’s, that’s, that’s super important. I think education is really, really important, but also I’m gonna ask a very controversial question right now. Sure. I feel like these big industries are worth billions of dollars, right?

And they make a huge effort in order to convey people that oh, me is better. Like, don’t be vegan, vegans, horrible, because these are at the end of the day, the big corporations that have access to a lot of resources have buns and they’ll do anything to meet you. You know, how would you go around, go about.

Taking on these big corporations in the future. And I fully believe that everyone has a part and influence to like change the world. Right. But it’s really difficult when you’re going against these corporations who have a lot of resource against you. Like, what is your way of flight? Bringing out this message and really educating the public on what’s going on with.

Lilly: (00:18:51)     Wow. That is such a difficult question. And it’s a question that activists like myself and I have so many friends who are activists. We think about it daily. How are we going to go up against these corporations when there’s billions of dollars of subsidies that go into the animal agriculture industry every single year, right?

Meat and dairy, and even the seafood industry. These are industries that are heavily subsidized globally. So fun fact, the global subsidies. Around seafood is around 35 billion. And then you, and estimated that it only takes 30 billion to solve world hunger. So if we stop subsidizing the seafood industry and instead put that money set aside, set that money aside towards solving global famine, we would have done it.

But now there’s a lack of political will, which is why personally I’ve decided to study public policy, you know, out of everything. I think the most important thing is I hate to say it, but we live in a superficial world. And I, I think as Asians, we are brought up to be practical. And I think this is where it serves me.

Well, because I know that. Proximity to a prestigious institution like Harvard. Um, and I’m being super real here with everybody, right? It’s less. So the degree I care about, but more, I think how the degree can serve me, you know, in my ambitions long-term to help solve climate change. And I know that. People are more likely to see me as an authority figure when I have that credential when I speak to people.

Right? Cause like you said, when I’m going up against policy makers, they’re going to say, well, like, you know, what makes you qualified to speak on this topic? Which is why I want to make sure that I first acquire the necessary education myself to be qualified, to talk about this. When I go up against policy makers, Perhaps in the future, I might become a lobbyist that is a possibility, depending on how, how the situation gets.

Um, but on the other hand, this is why I love your podcast and why I love how it uplifts entrepreneurs. I believe that more so than policymakers, it is going to be entrepreneurs who changed the world because let’s be real. Political progress is very sluggish, especially in a Western civilized democracy when there’s so many parties, right.

We all know how hard it is to get a bill passed in the Congress. Right. Both sides have to vote and agree, and then the Senate has to ratify it. And then sometimes the president might Mito. And so it goes back and, you know, like, just look at the infrastructure deal on how long do abide and for the, for that, for that to get signed.

Right. And even though. The Democrats are working on a reconciliation bill right now, because they’re saying there’s not enough climate provisions in the first draft of the infrastructure bill. So in my head, I’m like, Hmm. If I became an entrepreneur, then I can bypass all of this political red tape. I can create a product that is a better alternative to meat, right?

Assuming if I became a plant-based entrepreneur, right? That’s, that’s an option you have. And if your product is commercially viable and it tastes better and it’s cheaper, consumers are naturally going to offer that. So you don’t need to pass a law that says you have to go vegan. Here’s a better and healthier option for you and let the.

So, yeah,

Maggie: (00:21:36)     I love that. Yeah. I love that mindset. I mean, I personally, you know, like I mentioned, I worked in local government, so I know how slow things move in politics and yes, you’re Greg, it has to go through so many layers of approval for each and every single bill. And I love that you bring up that, you know, entrepreneurs really have the power to like really make really good impact because they have power to just create a product, you know, market it out to their audience, and then they have direct access to their.

Bryan: (00:22:02)     Yeah, I think you also bring up a really good point too. It’s like, unfortunately, we also live in a very superficial world where, oh, you went to Harvard, you must know what you’re talking about. Or you would just answer blah, blah, blah. You know, and I think it is the right, right approach. But at the same time, it’s that you should never underestimate your own voice and what you can do as an individual, you know?

So I think you’re playing your cards. Right. But at the same time, it’s like those who don’t have the option to go with these prestigious for you still have. And you just power influence, you know, everyone has a different path, but I think what you’re going about is absolutely right. Um, so just to follow up the question too, it’s like, you know, you know, as you’re taking on these big corporation, I think you offer really good approaches and solutions to the problem.

How can you enable other activists is sort of fall in the path that you want to do, right? Because the hardest thing it’s like not only convincing the government, but to convince the peers around you, like, how do you go about educating your activist? The planet hosting rallies, you just folks want to focus in podcasts.

How do you form a lobby committee? What is it? What does it even mean for those who are not in government? How do we form a lobby teams in order to petition these things? Because well, most lobby teams, as we know, are formed by corporations that have millions of dollars to fund the lobby team to fly everywhere.

And I don’t know that this is my own opinion here and bribe the politicians pick one policy. Right. So how do you, how would you do more grassroots?

Lilly: (00:23:32)     It’s such a good question, man. I feel like I’m not qualified enough to answer that question. I’ve only been activist for how long I’ve only been public about my activism for less than like maybe a year or two, but actually I want to quickly address one of the previous point you brought up.

I totally agree with you, Brian. Like we live in the age of the internet. You don’t need a prestigious degree from Harvard. You got to be able to have a platform and a voice, right? Like, so I completely agree with you. It’s not necessary, but you know, the funny thing is. Since we’re on Asian hustle network.

I’m pretty sure my dad is he, he could care less about my climate activism. He cares more about the fact that, oh, my daughter got into Harvard, you know, I’m like, you don’t even understand the impact of the work I’m doing. It’s not even about Harvard. Like Harvard is a stepping stone to get me to be able to scale the impact of my work.

But like a lot of Asian parents, they would like be like, oh, congratulations, your daughter got into Harvard. She’s amazing. I’m like, yeah, but that’s not where my amazingness lies. You know, you have to see the value of my work and my pockets and all the reasons, but yeah. A lot of times people are, do take you at face value, but this is what I say.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing because it opens so many doors for me. Right. Because of that, people might give you opportunities and then they get you to actually know me on a deeper level and understand the impact of my work. So whatever it takes to grab people’s attention, to get them to pay attention to this issue, I’m willing to do that.

But yes, going back to, you know, activism, uh, lobbying. So, um, Can I talk a little bit more about my podcast before I, yeah, so, because I think I have a very different approach to activism. Um, so I want to first talk about the mission of my podcast a little bit and how I approach things. So the main mission of my podcast and my show is not only to spread climate awareness.

Right. But discuss the solutions and inspire actionable. That we can all take to help combat this crisis and have fun while doing it. I think that’s where I do things very differently. There’s always an entertainment component to my podcasts. If you I’m sure. Brian follows me on Instagram. Um, we’re at comedy and levity to climate education.

I don’t think anyone else does this. Right? Cause I’ve listened to a ton of like energy and technology, podcasts, and most other podcasts on climate change approach. The topic of climate change from a very serious scientific and authoritative angle. And unless you’re an expert in that area, you’re probably going to fall asleep like five minutes listening to the podcast.

Right. It’s, it’s very informative, but it’s just so hard to digest. For example, on my, on my most recent episode, episode 33, where I did a movie review of with. I actually like randomly talked about J-Lo, which has nothing to do with climate change, because that’s just where the conversation was headed.

Right. And we were having fun and talking about Puerto Rican culture. So I’m like, oh, jail is a burrito. You know, I’m not afraid to humanize myself and show my audience that I am a human being first and foremost. Right. And I have a personality and I have interests outside of climate change too. I think that’s the most important.

Thing as an activist and you have to relate to everybody as a human being first and foremost and sympathize with their knees. Um, and I think a lot of activists, especially vegan activists, forget that like once they take on an identity of a vegan, they start to isolate themselves from everybody else and say, you’re doing it wrong.

Like how can you eat meat and dairy? Like you’re promoting animal cruelty, but I think if you really want to make your messaging effective, you have to first show the other person that look you and I, we are. Well, we have a lot more in common than you think. I am like, forget the fact that I am an activist.

I am a human being just like you, except I am very concerned about the situation. I’m trying to do something about it. So I think that relate-ability factor is really important. And a lot of activists forget that once they start activism, because now they’re starting to like isolate themselves from everybody else or like, I need to be the person to make a difference.

So I to do something different from everybody else. Right. As soon as you lose that relate-ability factor, you lose your ability to influence others. Sometimes I think like it’s very polarized either you influence them, but then they put you on a pedestal or, you know, everybody else blocks you out because they think you’re too extreme.

Bryan: (00:27:25)     And too that’s, let’s hear that again. You just put up a really strong point relate-ability that’s here. That again, relate-ability, it’s so important for us to convey any sort of message for any change. Not just climate changes for any lien we do. It’s like no one can relate to you. No, one’s going to support you.

Lilly: (00:27:42)     Exactly. Exactly. And which is why I love what you’re doing with your podcast. Like everything you talk about, you feature a wide range of entrepreneurs, but then I can definitely relate to their experience. Not only just being Asian, but like being brought up in America. I think that’s something that every one of us living in north America has experienced, right?

Whether it’s discrimination or those hardships, we can all relate to that.

Maggie: (00:28:01)     I mean, I, I love that you brought that up because it’s like climate change is already such a heavy, heavy topic that, you know, you mentioned that you bring in humor to it. So I feel like as soon as people who don’t even have a lot of knowledge or background on climate change and the listening to podcasts that are like extremely heavy or like, They victimize people who eat B for me, you know, like they already detached from it.

They’re like, oh, I don’t want to listen to this. You know, because I’m trying to, I’m trying to learn something, but I ended up being victimized. That’s like, okay, I don’t want even want to listen to it, but I love that you bring in humor, you bring in through relate-ability right. Just recognizing that we’re all the same people.

We’re all humans. Right. We’re all trying to, well, we all have the same goals. We all want to live on a healthy planet, you know? So it’s like that relate-ability piece is so important.

Lilly: (00:28:43)     Absolutely Maggie. And to your point, I can never shame someone. Who’s not a beacon because I was not a vegan once upon a time I ate meat and dairy up until very recently.

So I always remind myself where I came from. Like, that doesn’t mean I was a bad person before I was just, I was not aware. I didn’t know. Right. So, and now I know that I would make better choices. So I think it’s the same for everybody. I think humans, we’re all born to be compassionate. I genuinely believe that we’re all born good.

Um, but sometimes it’s ignorance and unawareness that that’s what leads to bad decision making. Like Brian said, there are so many big industries with false advertising and misinformation, and there’s like billions of dollars that go into these marketing campaigns. Right. And that’s what confuses and lead us to make, uh, less optimal decisions.

So my job as an activist is to really lay out the facts and say, look, I present the evidence and facts, and that hopefully will empower you to make better decisions for yourself and the planet and every and everything around.

Bryan: (00:29:34)     No, this is a topic I’m very particularly passionate about too. And I do want to challenge our listeners. And this is a particular podcast to look up and type of marketing for anything, any products that you buy, you know, you look up the history of the two pace shampoo, conditioner, the seafood industry, the beef industry, the chicken industry that’s heavily marketed, you know, and there’s very little facts.

That’s the whole point of their marketing scheme is to say, you need, this is a human need. It’s good for you. You’re going to be socially accepted, but over time it just evolved in say something that’s such a money-driven industry. Half Ms. False information, really? I’m telling you the truth here. Half is false information.

So look into the products you buy every day and wonder why you use it because you go back far enough from history, maybe like a hundred years before a lot of people didn’t wash your hair every day, a lot better than brush your teeth every day. It’s like scientifically, if you were to eat an apple, it’s, your teeth is just as clean as brushing your teeth.

You know, isn’t that crazy. Yeah,

Lilly: (00:30:40)      it is, it is. And there’s so much of a weed. We’re not even aware of it, right? Like you’re, you’re so right about that. We don’t even realize how much marketing there is going around me. Like convincing us that we need all these products, like you said, to be socially accepted.

And that’s such a powerful factor that determines what we buy. A lot of times we don’t even realize. Right. I have feel like I have to own it because all my friends have it. So therefore it’s cool. And I don’t want to be an outcast. And to this day, like my family, I’m telling, well, I’m trainees, obviously.

So if I tell my parents that I’m vegan, they actually think I’m going crazy. Or that like, I have no subscribed to some old cult science. Like, why are you, why are you trying to be weird? Why are you trying to be different? You know, I feel like every Asian parent is so afraid that their kid is going to turn out to be an outcast, but I’m like no parents it’s because I can think critically and independently, I can think for myself.

And that’s why I chose to be a vegan.

Bryan: (00:31:28)      Yeah, that’s awesome. I guess like for the next question, I’m dive deep into, into yourself, right? I’m going to ask you a couple personal questions. The first thing is like, do you see yourself more as a feature activist or more of the entrepreneur? Another, you mentioned earlier that entrepreneurs drive changes, but at the same time, what you’re doing right now is heavy activism, right?

What kind of curious from your point of view, what do you see yourself? My five to 10 years. And what’s your heart telling you to do? Is it telling you to go out there and create a sustainability product where you’re focusing on a very niche part of the industry? Or is there a hard telling you to go out and empower other people in order to make a change?

Or do you want to do a combination of both? I’m just very curious.

Lilly: (00:32:05)      Once again, another great question. Uh, so personally, do I see myself as an activist and entrepreneur? I see myself as a creative, so I guess both because as a creative, I’m a storyteller. And so through my storytelling, that’s where the activism part comes in.

Right. I do a lot of research and then I sort of present it in a way that’s digestible, but obviously I have to be practical about my finances. So I do eventually plan to start a nonprofit or perhaps a business. Personally though, just knowing where my strengths lie. I don’t see myself necessarily creating a product that’s going to help solve climate change.

I think I’m, I’m going to focus more on the education piece. Cause I think that’s equally important. If you don’t educate your consumers, then what’s going to incentivize them to buy all these sustainable products and solutions that other businesses have to offer. Right? So I’m indirectly helping these sustainable entrepreneurs reach economies of scale, right.

By cultivating a consumer base for them going. So, uh, am I going to become an entrepreneur? Yes, but not in the sense that I will be like coming up with some carbon removal technology. I don’t really see myself doing that. That’s not really my strength, but I think my strength is more of my creativity, my ability to like research, analyze and really, um, break down the facts.

So I would say. Um, focusing more on the activism part that no,

Bryan: (00:33:27)      I love it. I love it. And for those of us who are curious about learning more about like climate change, what kind of record, what kind of recommendations, the resources that we can look up to as reliable, uh, right now, when you type in climate change in Google, you’re gonna see an ongoing debate.

Oh, climate change is whole it’s time. It’s just like, okay. Which resources out there that we can look up, that’s actually reliable that you can offer to our listeners.

Lilly: (00:33:52)      Ooh, that’s a good question. So it’s an interesting question because you know what most businesses and solutions to climate change don’t even include the keyword climate change.

Like it has. For example, beyond meat, I would consider them as climate tech company, but you’re probably not going to find the word climate change anywhere on their product. Maybe if you dig deeper on their sustainability pledge or whatever, right. It might come up. So I think the key thing to realize here is that climate change is an issue.

That intersects with every area of her life, right? Every industry and sector can be decarbonized. And that’s the tricky thing, because the problem is so vast and multidisciplinary, like you said, the average person is having a very hard time visualizing and grasping climate change. If you go to Google and you type climate change, you’re going to get a bunch of articles that say like, oh, what does climate change?

What does global warming like the science behind climate change? This is how fast the Arctic is melting. Right? But how is that going to affect us on a day-to-day basis when we’re living in shelter cities? And we don’t notice the change, right. Even though yes, our planet is on fire and we really need to act so, um, which is why I think my podcast, I really break it down and look at how each industry and sector intersects with climate change.

Like I talk about animal agriculture, right? Food security, electric vehicles, transportation, um, technology, policy, activism, education. Every single area can incorporate climate activism into it. Um, but if you’re saying like, how can you, um, if, how can the average person better understand the problem of climate change?

Is that what you’re saying?

Bryan: (00:35:23)      Uh, where can we find the resources to read a factual stuff about climate change? That’s really difficult because at its heart that is very heavily influenced by these big players that don’t want. People to not stop buying the product. Right. It’s actual information out there.

Lilly: (00:35:41)      Well, well, step one, I say, as a starter, if you’re a beginner, maybe check out my podcast, make peace, not beat because I kind of give an overview of what climate change really entails and how it intersects with differences. Perhaps there is one specific industry that really interests you like fashion.

Then you can look into fast fashion because the textile industry is the second biggest polluter in the world in terms of use of petroleum and water, right? 70% of Asia’s rivers are polluted because of the denim industry. And so these are things that people don’t think about when they go buy jeans. And I go, how does this have an environmental impact on the planet?

But everything we touch in our life right. Has an impact on the environment. So. I guess there’s many aspects to it. Like there’s one we like, like you said, understanding the scientific facts around climate change, you know, how quickly is our planet warming. Um, then with that, and you can go on a couple of websites, I would say.

Um, well, United nations is always a good source. Um, I would say you can look at the IPC report. It’s it’s very long. It’s, it’s hard to understand it. Well, there’s news articles on it, but if you’re looking to have an overview understanding, I really recommend this book called, um, Um, fire by Naomi Klein. So Naomi Klein is a climate activist.

She has produced multiple documentaries and books on climate change, and it’s a, it’s a good way to ease yourself into climate change. Um, there is a very, very scientific and factual book. Uh, it’s very dystopian, but it’s. It’s nonfiction. It’s called the uninhabitable earth. It’s written by New York journalist.

His name is David Wallace Wells, and he basically lays out the projections of exactly what’s going to happen to our planet in the next a hundred years. I read the entire book and that was, that was, um, that was a terrifying experience. It’s just like, wow. Knowing this is what’s going to happen. It really made me panic for a second.

And that’s kind of also what inspired me to start make peace stop. If I’m like, wait a second. This is too gloom and doom. I don’t think your average person has the mental capacity or resilience to be able to deal with, you know, how, how bleak this is. So how can I put a positive spin on it?

Bryan: (00:37:44)      Yeah, I really enjoyed this podcast. Um, cause yeah, I think, uh, I think we’re kind of screwed in some ways. And part of me is very pessimistic. I feel like it is maybe a little bit too late. And I saw a report recently to saying that if we don’t make changes now, like if you guys ignore these warnings now, and then we’re screwed as a planet.

Great. And I fully believe that. I think that it’s true. Honestly, think we’re not going to change in time. And when you look at stuff like electric cars is great for environment, you look into the production of these batteries for the environment batteries. They’re all God, the mining and the disposal.

Yeah. Yeah. I wouldn’t say it’s better than gas need at all point.

Lilly: (00:38:29)      It’s a, it’s a hard, it’s a tough, yeah. So it’s very nuanced argument there.

Maggie: (00:38:36)     Yeah, I can go ahead. Oh, no. Um, I was going to say, you know, just on the topic of like finding functional information and you know, your years and years of research and you hosting a podcast on climate change, I want to know, like, what is the biggest misconception about climate change?

From the general audience from the general public. Um, like, like if you, if you could pinpoint like the one biggest mix misconception that you’ve come through over and over again, what would that be?

Lilly: (00:38:58)      Ooh, well, first of all, I have to convince 50% of the American population. That climate change is real. So I think the biggest misconception there is, there are still people, by the way, you won’t believe how many intelligent people.

Come across over the years who still tell me, but what if climate change is a hoax to this day? I’m not kidding. Like it still happens like some of my coworkers extremely brilliant software engineers. Still question it because Donald Trump has, you know, spread a lot of information that oh, earth goes through cycles.

Oh, so it’s not really up to us to, you know, intervene. Um, and he, he made the irrelevant argument of ice age and I’m like, that’s irrelevant because the next ice age is going to be 10,000 years from now. So if you don’t add climate change is going to kill us in the next hundred years or so. Um, but the biggest misconception about climate change.

That’s a tough one, I would say is how the mainstream media frames it as a high level complex far-fetched environmental problem that is highly politicized. And because of this, most people have a hard time grasping it, right? People see this as a political issue. They think it has everything to do with the Republicans and Democrats.

And that like, it is not a political issue. It is not even an environmental issue. It is a question of survival right now. The biggest takeaway I want my listeners to get from listening to this podcast is that climate change at this point is no longer just an environmental issue. If you care about the economy, it’s going to affect the economy.

If you care about public health, it’s going to affect your health. Like this is the biggest existential barrier that humanity has to overcome. And at this point it’s evolve or die. So I just want to emphasize that climate change is not an issue that only concerns those of us who are active as an environmentalist.

It concerns absolutely every single point. On this planet. So I think that’s probably the biggest misconception that this is some high-level political issue that the government’s incorporation is trying to solve. Uh, no we’re going to feel the impact of it.

Maggie: (00:40:51)     Absolutely. I love that. Um, you know, Brian also mentioned like, you know, there’s a lot of marketing that goes on with like different products, you know, and to be honest, like a lot of these products that we use, like shampoo, conditioner, wherever they have so many different chemicals.

Right. But now it’s like, There’s a whole new, like plant base era that we’re kind of, that’s surprising. I feel like plant-based diets and meals are like on the rise. And I feel like, like personally for me, I’ve switched a lot of my products to plant-based too. Like a lot of my shampoos and like body wash and everything like that.

Aside from like diet, what are the things that you do in your personal day-to-day life that you do to create like a positive impact or a climate action to promote sustainability?

Lilly: (00:41:32)      Well, first of all, I just want to quickly ask you, so what was your reason for switching to.

Maggie: (00:41:36)     So, if I were to say like my personal reason, I have a skin condition. And so I started researching on a lot of like the products that I use, like my shampoo, my conditioner, my body wash my hands, soap everything from like my dishwasher soap. And it all contained like these chemicals, these very hazardous chemicals. And they don’t tell you. Unless you read like the very fine print, right?

And it’s actually more harmful for your skin and your daily life than you think it is, but it’s because they want your skin or your body to become dependent on these products. And that’s why those ingredients are in there because it becomes attached to it becomes dependent on it. Um, and that’s why you keep using it and buying it over and over again, which is why consumers continue to buy it, which, you know, creates bigger pockets for these large organizations.

But I had to switch to a plant base and all organic, all natural, because it’s just way more like gentle on my skin and, you know, it’s, it’s just a lot more healthier and I feel like it just creates more sustainability and it’s better for the climate.

Lilly: (00:42:36)      Absolutely. You’re, you’re totally right about that. Like we’re so dependent on these skincare products. A lot of times, I’m not even sure if we need them. Like Brian has said, like, if eating an apple, same thing as brushing your teeth, like, why do you need to go whiten your teeth every two months? But, um, yes. So. I do have to agree with you. Like diet is probably the biggest change everyone can make right now to help combat climate crisis.

Like a statistic that I dropped on, on my recent podcast, seafood. Right. Most people think like, oh, I’m going to go pescatarian. It’s really great. Like the seafood industry, first of all, there’s so much like syndicates and mafia and organized crime. And like slavery is involved in probably like all the shrimp you buy.

That’s important from Thailand, but also. A area in the Pacific ocean right now called the great Pacific garbage patch is three times the size of France and 46% of all the plastic there comes from fishing gear and fishing nets, right? So there’s these, these massive trawlers, like literally they just pull through the ocean and these trawlers are powerful enough to destroy a cathedral.

That’s how strong these fishing nets are. And like, imagine like you dragging that through the ocean and disturbing all the Marine life around it. So cutting seafood out of your diet. Probably one of the biggest ways you can help save the oceans and also reduce ocean plastic. But, um, aside from diet, because I talked about animal agriculture and the seafood industry and dairy, um, actually I have a feeling a lot of, for listeners of this podcast, Asian house on that, where specifically you probably all have investments somewhere mutual funds and stocks, right.

And I’d recently listened to a podcast on decarbonizing the financial sector because once again, The financial sector and the banking industry is not something that we think about when it comes to climate change. You’re like, huh? How, how does climate change relate to finance? Right. But like I said, climate change intersects with every industry.

You’re probably investing in a portfolio that indirectly invest in, um, I don’t know, oil and gas, mining operations, right. That are responsible for the oil spill somewhere. So. Recently I switched my investment portfolio to, um, to a socially responsible portfolio. I, I still have to bet that how socially responsible it is.

I don’t know. I need to talk to my fund manager, but be mindful of which companies you invest in because these companies have a widespread impact, especially if it’s a multinational. Excellent. If, if ExxonMobil is part of your portfolio, you know, you are indirectly voting for this company to continue to exist and continue their practices.

So for anyone who has investments in mutual funds and stocks, um, look into where exactly that money is going because that’s having, uh, an impact on the planet. So financial investments, um, can help decarbonize. And the other thing I would say is like literally buying less downsize, um, And this is such a first world problem, right?

There are so many choices. We own so many things. And like our closet is not big enough for a wardrobe. Cause we have so many clothes and then companies like fast fashion companies are they’re deliberately making things go out of season so you can keep buying. Right. So understanding that and not buying into this culture of consumerism.

It’s cha it’s challenging. This takes a cultural shift and this is very hard. I cannot do it by myself. I’m trying to do that with my podcast, convincing people to buy less. Um, and which is why I really appreciate that. Nowadays. There’s so many entrepreneur printers promoting a circular sharing economy, right?

If you can share this resource with your neighbors and exchange goods instead of buying new ones. Well, that’s really great. So looking for, you know, like food sharing apps or apps that allow you to share and borrow resources instead of buying. I think that’s, that’s really important. So there’s this myth that our modern economy is sort of hinges upon, which is that resources on this planet, it is infinite and that we can extract to no end.

And that is false. The amount of resources we have on this planet is finite and we are already depleting it. So whatever we can do to regenerate and sustain this really important.

Bryan: (00:46:26)      Yeah. Yeah, I absolutely agree with that. It’s very finite. It’s more fun than you really think it is, to be honest. And, you know, I mean go deep into history and why you’re a scholar, you know, if you were colonized other countries because of the material, cause he ran out with them.

That’s a whole different topic that we don’t want to discuss here today. Um, so none this by chance, we talked a little bit, a lot about like the negative impact of what we do in our decisions on the, on the environment. And for the most part, you know, It’s still run a very positive platform. So what’s the silver lining for us.

What is something positive that is trending in the right direction to where we can look back or look and reflect upon and be like, okay, even though the situation is very dire, what is some positive things that we can focus on that we’re actually are making improvements on, that we can sort of celebrate as we continue to make.

Progress on making your planet a better place?

Lilly: (00:47:21)      Absolutely. So first of all, yes, absolutely. Cause I agree. It’s very easy for this con uh, conversation to get depressing. Um, well, the first thing is just ever since I started my climate activism, I’ve met so many other like-minded individuals. We’re also working.

This issue with me. So that makes me realize, oh, I’m not alone in this. There’s a coalition out there. I’ve met people from across the world. And especially, especially I have so much faith in, in gen Z and gen alpha coming up, the younger folks, they are just so environmentally conscious. And I learned from them all the time.

So funny. Because this is Asian hustle network and we do want to uplift Asian voices. So recently on my podcast, I haven’t released this episode yet. I already recorded it. I featured an all Asian panel to talk about. Do Asians care about climate change? Because I, I think, you know, when I first started climate activism, I, I definitely noticed that there was a lack of diversity, right?

In the climate movement. I participated in a lot of climate movements discussions. These take place on clubhouse. And a lot of the times I noticed I’m the only Asian person I’m on hundreds of Caucasian venture capitalists and like climate activists, entrepreneurs. Um, sometimes, you know, I occasionally see Latino African-American, uh, south Asian activists, but we’re definitely missing east Asians.

And at first I was like, huh, well, why is it that Asians just aren’t at the forefront of the climate movement is because we don’t care or is it because there’s no. Vegetation or is it because there’s a lack of representation of Asians, which further discourages other Asians from getting involved? And if so, I want to become the face of Asian climate activists and inspire more Asians and Asian Americans and not just Asians, right?

Women of color, people of color to join me in the climate movement because this solution requires a pluralism of solutions from, uh, from all communities and the. So first we can make our solution that the faster we’re going to accelerate our progress. Right. Um, so that Asian, all Asian panel I did actually featured, um, at gen Z entrepreneur, she’s only 22 years old and she’s from Toronto.

And she started this business that makes reusable bubble tea, Cubs, and, and we’re going to be dropping some like staggering statistics. So Taiwan alone produces, I think, 1 billion plastic cups from bubble tea. Every year. So, so that’s probably the size of a Himalaya. I don’t know if you pile up all the garbage Taiwan alone, like think about it, a billion bubble, tea cups, all of that going into landfill.

So, and I think ever since she started her business, I think she saved, she did a calculation. She saved like 350,000 bubble tea comes from going to the lab. Which I think is pretty amazing. Right? Exactly. So I’m like, wow, like gen Z is like, we give them so much shit for being like sensitive and emotional.

I like being so woke, but they’re really changing the world because they realize it, like they inherited this mess right from us, from our parents. And now they have to be the ones to take charge and really remodel and rethink. Um, how, how, what kind of world we want to live in. So I’ve just met so many inspiring young people who are actually doing a lot of amazing things, way more amazing things than what I’m doing, entrepreneurs, like you said.

Um, and I’m just, that really inspires me. And I tell them like, look as millennials, I haven’t given up on climate change yet. Like I know it’s is a pessimistic situation, but nowadays I focus a hundred percent of my time on being part of the solution and not amplifying the problem. So. I’m definitely hopeful, because like I said, I’ve met amazing entrepreneurs and I really do believe that entrepreneurs are going to spearhead our transition into a post carbon world.

And you guys feature so many amazing entrepreneurs on your podcast. I know you recently featured it. Was it Leanna you who is a sustainability entrepreneur? She’s in the skincare industry right now. Yeah, that’s exactly. She’s doing amazing things. She had like 10 videos on sustainability on YouTube. I saw that.

Bryan: (00:51:09)      Yeah, we’re doing our part to. Highlight more activism and sustainability entrepreneurs, because we are very concerned, you know, the, over me prior to the COVID, like we flew around the world and we looked around outside the window and we’re like, holy cow, it’s melting. And it’s fricking hot up there. Like, it’s real, it’s happening.

How can we ignore something like this? Right. Um, So, I guess it’s all for a lot of great information. There’s podcasts and, you know, we’re so grateful to have you on and be so passionate then throughout the entire time, like, you know, the entire hour, you just gave us a lot of great information. So how can our listeners find out more about you and reach out to you and in order to make a difference and, and find you.

Lilly: (00:51:54)      Yeah, of course. And thank you, Brian. That’s so kind of you, you guys asked amazing question. I was really stumped at some point. I was like, oh, I’m not a legit. I’m not a legit activist. I can’t comment on this, but I tried. I appreciate that. Um, of course, so listeners, if you want to find me, please be sure to first follow me, check on my Instagram page.

Um, ads, make peace, not beef. So peace is spelled P E S and make peace, not beef. And there you get to find all my episode highlights. So. I run a podcast, but I always create a curate of one minute, um, episode highlight and video highlights for each of my episode that kind of sums up, um, and brings out the best of each episode.

So you can check on my content there. And if you like what you’re seeing, please do head over to my YouTube channel. So that’s youtube.com/c/make peace, not beef, and be sure to subscribe to my channel and watch all my content. Of course. Um, my podcast is on Spotify, apple podcasts, Google podcasts, anchored.fm, all the.

Platforms. So just search, make peace on beef. Uh, of course, a space between the words. And I think that’s the best way to get in touch with me. If you have questions, feel free to email me. Lily that’s L I L L Y w L at make peace not before.

Maggie: (00:53:03)     Yeah. Amazing. Thank you so much, Lily. It was amazing having you on our show and you know, I think we, we both learned a few things today.

Bryan: (00:53:15)      Um, so thank you so much for being on applicant’s show notes as well.

Lilly: (00:53:18)      Thank you so much. Thank you, Brian. Thank you, Maggie. I love your show and I will continue to follow.

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