Photo by Morgan Greenlaw/Used with permission

Morgan Greenlaw fights for plant-based eating

Senior Morgan Greenlaw stands in front of the cafeteria handing out small cups to students waiting in the lunch line. The cups contain milk, but not just any milk. These cups contain oat milk and pea protein milk.

Partnering with the youth-based activism organization Raven Corps, Greenlaw organized the tasting event on Oct. 31 at the cafeteria to demonstrate that plant-based milk is not only tasty but also has environmental and ethical benefits. Greenlaw said the event was successful because she was able to engage in conversation with her peers.

“People can come and try the samples that you’re offering and learn about your cause,” Greenlaw said. “Having open conversations is a great way to plant the seed of plant-based eating in people’s minds, and hopefully they will realize that they really like plant-based milk.”

While she was raised in a primarily vegetarian household, Greenlaw only decided to become vegetarian in third grade.

“After getting a pet fish and eating sushi one night, I made a connection between food and animals, and that’s when I decided to go vegetarian,” Greenlaw said.

Greenlaw later became vegan after realizing dairy and meat are so intertwined that they are equally harmful. The environmental impacts of animal products further convinced her of her decision.

“Animal products in general take so many resources because you’re basically growing plants to feed to animals to feed to humans,” Greenlaw said.

Greenlaw’s passion for raising awareness of the detriments of the meat and dairy industry led her to co-found Paly Plant Based, a club that promotes plant-based eating.

“You don’t have to be 100% vegan all the time,” Greenlaw said. “It could be one meal a week, one day a week, one meal a day anything. Anything can make a difference.”

Although small plant-forward additions to one’s diet are a simple way to protect the environment, Greenlaw said it’s still sometimes difficult for people to introduce a drastic change to their eating habits.

“It’s not something that anybody wants to hear,” Greenlaw said. “I didn’t want to hear it when I was vegetarian and obsessed with cheese. I’ve learned that it’s important to meet people where they’re at, and explain to them the benefits of what you’re trying to persuade them to do but then also, you know, make sure that everyone understands that you’re on your own journey and do things at your own pace.”

In the future, Greenlaw said she hopes to continue promoting plant-based eating by participating in college clubs and engaging in conversation with others in her community. But no matter where she goes, Greenlaw said her innate passion for this work will continue to inspire her to make a positive impact in the world.

“I knew that I wanted to make a difference in the world and I started doing what I could each day and it became what it is now,” Greenlaw said. “So the inspiration is just my love for animals and I want to help them and I want to help people in the world and that’s just that’s why I do these things.”