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Tonya Kay

Tonya Kay photo courtesy Tonya KayTonya Kay is an actress, TV personality, professional dancer and danger artist living in Los Angeles. A vegetarian of 28 years, vegan for 18 of those and raw vegan for the last 11, Tonya Kay pioneers the green health movement with appearances, publications and green media (available at KayosMarket). Watch Tonya Kay's self-produced web series The Eco Tourist on EcoHearth's Eco Tube. You may have also seen her recently on TV's My Ride Rules, The Tonight Show, Criminal Minds, Glee, House MD, Secret Girlfriend and American Idol with Rhianna. She has performed live in STOMP, De La Guarda, with Panic At The Disco, Kenny Rogers and in countless music videos and commercials. Look for Tonya Kay in the new Muppets Movie, starring in MTV Network's Video Game Reunion, playing a lead in the scripted animal-activist feature film, Bold Native, performing the voice of Green Girl in the raw vegan superhero animated film Rawman and Green Girl and performing burlesque live in Hollywood, California, almost any weekend. In 2012, Tonya Kay will star in the films Off World and Within The Darkness. For more on Tonya Kay, visit her website.

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Does All This Environmentalism Really Matter Anyway?
Sunday, 30 November 2014 00:00  |  Written by Tonya Kay | Blog Entry

Woman hugging Earth globe photo by MysiThere it is—right there! And even more over here. In fact, kale is all around. So, why can't I eat it for a salad today?

Catering on the set of this television show has oodles of kale—underneath the turkey slices, garnishing the deviled eggs, and floating wearily amidst melting ice under the serving bowls that hold… the iceberg salad option. Is my world set up to work against me?

But I don't complain. In fact, I usually just bring a gallon of fresh juiced apple, beet, ginger, spinach and lemon juice to the set so I don't have to. Complain, that is. The last thing I want to be is That Girl who "can't eat this" or "has a problem with that." I've developed the "It's no big deal" attitude over the past 29 years of vegetarianism (19 of which have been vegan and the past 11 raw). I mean, how are people supposed to be open to my lifestyle if I have a problem with it?

People wanna talk about my green health choices, chefs will create special orders and best of all, when I don't gab about what others should or shouldn't eat, antagonists don't try to tell me what to eat. But this is ridiculous! There is kale right there, but I'm stuck with this iceberg salad. Sometimes I feel like just giving up.

I watch green idealists and vegetarians do it all the time. They give in to outdated medical marketing and slip a little salmon in here and there. Their businesses give in to profit and package their "health" products in petro-plastic. Or they give up on humanity in general and retreat to their permaculture heaven in the remote forests, or their thatched-roof bungalow on the tropical island. Anywhere they no longer have to deal with the harshness of the rest of the world—hoarding their ability to make a difference all to themselves.

Of course, everyone is different and just because a hippie lives in the woods does not necessarily mean he has given up on affecting the world. But maybe he has. I wonder if I need to head for the hills right now myself. After spending a literal three hours on my cell phone attempting to remove myself from only five junk-mail lists (yes, I call the companies who send me junk mail to request removal every time). And in that three hours, after getting removed from only three of the five lists, I hung up the phone, spirit crushed. Forgive me for wanting to save a friggin’ tree! I saw a new light: the world is set up against me.

Kale-Olive-Carrot Salad photo by ilovemypitI usually have the most positive attitude about "doing what I do, not to 'save the world,' but to live a life doing the things I believe in." But right now, I don't want to have to call to remove myself from a mailing list I never joined. I don't want to breathe carcinogenic carpet off-gassing because my yoga studio didn't spend the money on eco flooring. I don't want to eat a lousy iceberg salad when there is kale everywhere on this catering table except in the serving dish!

Seems like there are only two choices for the daunted raw-vegan environmental activist: head for the hills and live in a gray-water, solar-heated, cob-wall fortress; or accept that none of my activism really matters at all. I mean, who does all this work matter to anyway?

Additional resources:
How to Stop Junk Mail, Flyers, Menus and Other Unsolicited Paper and Plastic

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Comments (14)add
Written by Don Carpenter , September 21, 2011

I know sometimes you want to throw up your hands and give up on the rest of us but you are very definitely making an impact. So nobody's throwing a bicycle parade for you complete with marching band, is that why you're doing this? I don't think so! You're not even preaching to the choir! I am living proof of that.

And if I lose this particular argument, I want a tour of your cob-wall fortress.
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Written by Sarah , September 21, 2011
You do if because of how wonderful it make you feel. We dont give up because we know every little green bit counts in the long run and that we are making our world a better place. I like to think I am doing it for my great great grand children who i will never meet, but want to leave clean water and air ...a heather way of life in general. Thank you for making those phone calls as i know how dawnting the task is and the run around they give. But that time on the phone will save you from cringing each month as that same bit of junk mail keeps coming in. Much love and good luck! Fight the good fight!
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Written by Steve the Kaleidoscope Guy , September 21, 2011
Hail Kale King of Carotenoids
You matter to me Tonya...

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”
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Written by David McLean , December 17, 2009

Excellent piece. It's nice to see the warts and all, in my view, not just the polish. Pieces like this help keep it all REAL. So many folks wonder why it's hard for them but easy for those people they see in print, or on-line, or on TV, etc.

Like you, I take my own when on-set, and just avoid the food table(s). "Man, you gotta try the BBQ! And these cookies are excellent!", I'll catch it next time - all full. Thanx!

Can't wait for your next article!
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Written by KathrynJeanette Cormier , December 16, 2009

I know this is not you thinking this way? Is your world set up to work against you? Yes, it is!

Even before the microwave era, fruits and vegetables was always an optional side item, never ever considered a main course like an animal protein is. To go in any resturant, and order a vegatairan entry, until very recently, someone had to select from only the appetizers.

But even through all of that, and even growing up on a farm, you found a way to stay to your vegatarian, and now raw vegan options.

I saw you call your self a creature and a pegan in another place. That tells me you know how to work with magic, and people who know how to work with magic know how to avoid being influenced, even when others are in control of the environment.

And if you bring other foods, why not bring your own kale? You are going to always be tested. The greater the impact of the difference you are making, the stronger you are going to be tested. It is a fact, vegatarians are the minority, raw vegan even more of a minority than regular vegatarians. The majority of the people are going to expect Turkey around the holidays.
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Written by kristaf , December 16, 2009
Hey Tonya,

Listen, you are a strong woman with a lot of energy, and because of that you do more than most to further the cause you believe in. It might be a lonely path but that's because you're trailblazing.

In time (if not already) you will look back and see that what you've done has made a difference in the lives of others, and that's the kind of purpose we're all hungry for.

But it's not easy! When you are ahead of the pack you're carrying a lot of weight. Just know there are folks back here who look up to and support you and we want you to see you succeed and be happy!

And if you have to make some adjustments to keep on going, do so! No one can be perfect! Sometimes, especially when discouraged, we have to focus like laser beams on the things that matter most to us, and be a little flexible on the rest.
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Written by Dana , December 16, 2009
It matters to me, too.

And SAY something, GF! You must know the catering people. Quietly pull someone aside and ask it they could create a kale salad as well as an iceberg one, since there is plenty of kale, apparently.

You know how to do this. You're an activist. And if anyone gives you a hard time, just tell me and I'll say something! :)

I thought of you a few days ago when I bought a raw kale salad. It was yummy.
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Written by Fredric , December 15, 2009
Hey Tonya,

Becoming aware of ones choices and the way in which they impact the world around us have implications that are both karmic and directly related to our personal evolution.

The challenge is to rise above the muted consciousness of the gray masses embracing what may seem like a lonely philosophy while simultaneously testing ones compassion for the blissfully ignorant populace surrounding us.

Consider it a test of character by invisible forces that support our growth in seemingly mysterious and unapparent ways. Keep the faith!


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Written by JBT , December 15, 2009
"All truth passes through 3 stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher

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Written by R , December 15, 2009
The world is set up against ALL of us. Only some of us choose to give a damn and push back.
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Written by Janie , December 15, 2009
Hang in there, Tonya! We need your insights and energy. Sometimes the wheels of change grind exceedingly slow, but we are making progress.

Witness all the foods that are now whole grain and organic. Even if some manufactures try to fool the public by placing "contains whole grains" labels on food that is mostly white flower, the fact that this is being touted makes more people aware. And that means that eventually they will demand the REAL thing--whole grains, organically grown, raw, vegetarian, vegan, less packaging, etc.

It's OK to occasionally get depressed looking at how far we have yet to go. But it's like mountain climbing. When you get depressed from looking up ahead, look down behind at how far we've come!
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Written by bflo12 , December 15, 2009
Many of my blog entries and articles have a little something about the thankless acts I (we) perform on a moment by moment basis. I work hard to be true to my convictions; I no longer eat fish or meat, I unplug everything in my house upon leaving, I practice "take-away recycling" blah blah blah.

But some of my closest friends and members of my family still don't get it. They still look at me and treat me differently. They still use the words tree-hugger and hippie pejoritively.

The environmentalism matters for sure - but hanging out in a comfortable interpretive community is like being all alone in the woods. You have to engage people outside of our understanding of the problem. Make it less abstract and be willing to be humiliated from time to time.

All too often I don't "gab" enough. I don't often tell people what they should or shouldn't do, but I've started to more and more.

So yes Tanya - it matters, it matters alot. It's a healthy balance of thankless acts (that often go unnoticed) and using good reasons and common sense to battle the climate. Its just as important as anything we can do to further mitigate the problem.

As usual - fine piece.
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Written by Joanna Steven , December 15, 2009
It matters to all the people whose life you've changed, and those whose life you will change :)

I e-mail those junk mail companies, it works every time. And when you find recyclable packaging, please please let me know :)
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Written by Beth Terry, aka Fake Plastic Fish , December 15, 2009
It matters to you. It matters because you are the type of person who has to live this way. Because it's right. Because it's the thing to do right now in this moment. I have a feeling you already know this (even though I don't know you and only discovered your blog now following a Twitter link).

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed too. I love that you mentioned businesses that "give in to profit and package their 'health' products in petro-plastic." Plastic is my cause and mission, specifically living with less of it. And organic foods packaged in plastic packaging is my pet peeve. How can food be considered organic when chemicals could be leaching into it from the plastic container?

Still, I have to take it one day, even one hour or minute at a time and remind myself that I need to live this way regardless of the outcome. Because it's the right thing to do.

By the way, I write the blog Fake Plastic Fish ( in which I track my own plastic waste and write about finding plastic-free alternatives.
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