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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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Inside the Bigger Mind of the Environmental Movement
Monday, 21 January 2013 00:00  |  Written by Tonya Kay | Blog Entry

Avataria Sunflower Painting photo courtesy of Nemo BokoThe life I'm living isn't all euphoria. But it is quite often!

The longer I continually push to deepen my connection with health, fitness, community and nature, the more frequently I experience complete euphoria. I'm talking Big Joy. Several times a week. This is a great place from which to begin one's work. But forgive me—I'm boring myself with all this euphoria.

I'm constantly hyper-observing the green things I do and sharing them with others to read. But what I do every single day is not surprising to me. It seems kinda of boring right now, actually. So I wonder what other people are thinking about? I wanna combine others’ minds with my own and write it out. If you are reading this and would like me to explore something about myself or some environmental topic, please comment below!

I wanna know: what are others out there doing in the green movement? Even more so, what are you wondering?

[Sign up to be notified each time Tonya publishes a new Clean and Green Everyday blog entry on EcoHearth. See a complete list of writing by Tonya Kay on or visit her Clean and Green Everyday blog. – Ed.]

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Comments (27)add
Written by Tonya Kay , February 11, 2013
Jack None you are so creative! To think your veggie car journey started here and developed into a real road-trip worthy family car. You are so cool! Okay, I got inspiration, too, from you here. You said another indicator I could also watch to moniter a relative consumption rate would be actual finances. Money output often is money spent on consuming (by even the well-intentioned). Yes, factor in that some monies are spent on local services, reused goods, intellectual/digital property or my favorite: local plant foods from the farmer's market. Anything that isn't those things was a manufactured good, basically, and had a price tag. I am a total numbers girl, running two businesses plus my own career. I actually have a firm grasp of my numbers at any time. So I like the idea of relating numbers out to garbage out. Instead of even trying to contemplate or demonize manufacturing, I can just relatively compare money spent to garbage out and make adjustments and do experiments from there. So geeky fun! Thank you!
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Written by Jack None , February 10, 2013
No one's perfect. We're all part of this. I can get discouraged that I'm still emitting over 6 metric tons of CO2 in a year despite doing just about everything I can think of aside from removing myself from society and homesteading (which might actually not be so bad, but the whole self-reliance fantasy seems problematic to me on a few levels). Certainly, the option of a less carbon-intense career is always open to me. It's probably way over 6 metric tons, too, since I didn't even try to account for the complex factors like consuming new goods.

I'm going to keep trying to listen to myself and doing what feels "wholesome" and not doing what feels "icky," whatever that means. I agree about the garbage metric, though it excludes a lot of important stuff like flying in planes. While not my focus, I've observed my garbage decrease steadily down to a trickle over the past few years. I do wonder what really happens to the recycling, which is still a good big old bin worth every couple weeks. Another good metric, which may include a wider domain of impact, is how much money we spend. I was pleasantly surprised that we stayed "in the black" without much sacrifice after my wife left her job and went back to grad school. That's an added bonus of not consuming so much.

I try to live right (or at least righter) by Ma Earth mainly because I have fun doing it, it tastes better, and so forth. But since I have small kids the moral considerations are running around and karate chopping each other daily.

(BTW, thanks for the early inspiration on the grease car, Tonya. We named her Maeby as in Maeby we'll get there. Fun fun fun!)
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Written by Tonya Kay , February 08, 2013
Very nice process, Jack None, and THANK YOU for caring so much and being so active in your desire to reduce. Flying is damaging, driving is damaging and to me, I consider the consumption of new goods the most damaging. Because THEY often had to fly and drive thousands of miles just to get to us and they required massive amounts of chemicals/fuel/electricity just in the manufacturing process from a woman in a cubical driving to work, sitting under lights, drawing up specs to everyone in between that and the actual manufacturing plant that makes the packaging. Then the process of manufacture and package. I get so overwhelmed just thinking about the vastnesss of the manufacturing process, it makes the fuel spent flying seem like small potatoes personally. Of course, it's not. It's just way more difficult to live up to one's consumption appetite than it is to track how much fuel we use in our car or airplane on this trip or that trip. One small indicator, which the people who read EcoHearth are probably already up on, is looking at your trash. It's not fool-proof, but it is a small indicator. If a family of four produces 4 five-gallon buckets of trash per month, how can it be reduced to 2? Or in my case, a "family" of 2 producing 1 five gallon bucket per month. Can that be instead just 1 five-gallon every six weeks? Again, not everything that we consume has a disposal rate, but watching trash is a small indicator where otherwise the overwhelm of trying to figure out how far each employee drove to work who helped even just the marketing team of even just that toothpaste can be too much. I'm obviously a big supporter of buying used, freecycling, and purchasing local and handmade whenever possible. Of course, I'm still not perfect, but it does make a difference. If not in the future of the whole Earth, then at least in the energetic reality of my community. There are people who care and are trying and THAT makes my world a better place right now.
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Written by Jack None , February 07, 2013
I couldn't agree more with those who say we should consume less. Especially less energy.

If you want to reduce your impact, you need to know what it is. One way to explore your impact is to make a CO2 emissions pie chart. It takes an hour or two for the basics. I've learned more by doing this than by using the generic online "carbon calculators." It's easy.

Here's mine for 2012.

Airplanes dominate my CO2 output. From this pie chart it's clear that putting up solar cells is small potatoes compared to flying less. I've already cut out about half what I used to fly. Most people at my stage of a scientific career fly at least 50k per year, some much more. I can't fly so much anymore, because it feels unwholesome to me. Who will pay the real cost of my flights? If it is immoral to harm others in order to benefit yourself, then is flying still morally OK? (This is what I would call "divine guidance," listening to myself.)

Most people I talk to don't realize how all their good efforts are negated by how much they fly.

Notes: My diet CO2 would be about 3x as much if I ate the average American diet (I'm vegetarian).
I've been driving on waste veggie oil for about 20k miles. I burn a cup or two of diesel per trip to warm the engine, so I can average hundreds of miles per gallon of diesel (more on road trips) which is why my "car" portion is low. Also, for whatever reason we use only 120 kWh per month in our house, for 4 people.
Despite these things I really need to fly less!

Here are the numbers if you can't see the image:
4,800 kg from planes (23k miles)
470 kg from natural gas
390 kg from food
250 kg from car
230 kg from home electricity

There are other things I could have included, like infrastructure use, new goods purchased, etc. These are the most basic things.
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Written by Tami , February 07, 2013
I live in Queens where a lot of people still have private cars even though the public transportation system is fantastic and private cars are uneeded in 99% of sitations, if not 100%, because there are taxis, car services and Zip cars!
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Written by Tonya Kay , February 05, 2013
You can do it, JTM! Tami, that's HUGE. What city do you live in?
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Written by Tonya Kay , February 05, 2013
Do it, Don!
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Written by Don Carpenter , February 04, 2013
Inspired by my favorite activist, I set up a screening of HOW I BECAME AN ELEPHANT to raise money for the Elephant Nature Park.
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Written by JTM , February 04, 2013
I'm eating more and more raw and vegetarian to help the planet and show respect for other species.
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Written by Tami , February 04, 2013
I sold my car a decade ago and use only public transport. I'm much less stressed and so is the Earth. I've saved a lot of money, too.
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Written by Sarah Marlo , September 07, 2011
Topic suggestions: Breatharian diet, Nudism for health, Cycling, Hiking, Dangers of articial sweetners...
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Written by Abby , September 06, 2011
I think the problem is corporations having too much power. They have hijicked our whole country. We are no longer a democracy in which the people rule. Corporations have too much money, giving them too much power. Thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision saying they have the First Amendment rights of individuals and earlier decisions saying that campaign contributions are speech, corporations can contribute unlimited amounts to candidates. Thus candidates do their bidding and not that of the people! And their bidding is to allow destruction of the environment and depletion of our resources in order to make as much money as possible. We need a constitutional amendment to reverse these Supreme Court decisions. In the mean time all we can do is to treat the environment the best we can as individuals and spread the word to our friends. That's why I read your blog and the other aticles on this site and turn my friend on to this site whenever I can. Keep up the great work, Tonya!!
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Written by PK , September 06, 2011
Tonya, I'd love to hear more about the connection between healthy living and environemntal stewardship. To me they seem like two sides of the same coin. An example might be aspartame and other artificial sweetners, which hurt the health of the person using them, then end up in our water supply and negtively impact the health of people who would never think of using an articifial sweetner and animals who drink the water, too. Thnaks for listening.
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Written by Sarah Jane Simpson , September 06, 2011
We need to encourage each other on our environmental paths. It's difficult when we think we are going it alone. It can also be depressing to see people abusing the environment (I see so much litter!), but when I talk with people at random, I find that tons of them are doing the right thing--reducing, reusing and recycling. Their actions just aren't in our faces like those of the litterbug, but they are happening. So let's discuss environmentalism with everyone we meet and enbcourage each other in the evolution to a greener world. Thanks for the opportunity to contribute!
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Written by JohnV , September 06, 2011
Great idea to get input from everyone! I think the bottom line is that we each need to consume less. We can blame the corporations (yes, most are souless and think only in terms of profit) and the politicians (many corrupt and think only in terms of the next election), but we enable the former based on our purchases and put the latter in office based on our votes. Plus, a good percentage of the money we spend on products ends up being used by companies to donate to candidates who help reduce environmental and any other regulations that hamper their sales. We should each vote NO on environmental destruction each day by buying less, making more of what we need and buying local when we must buy.
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Written by Tonya Kay , May 18, 2011
Absolutely. I love suggestions for topics based on something you know I've got jabber about. That will happen this year. Thank you, JessicaB.
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Written by JessicaB , May 18, 2011
I recently saw a video featuring your lovely self on youtube, where you talk about losing your menstrual cycle as a raw vegan. It fascinated me, as I've never heard anything like that before. I would love to see a more detailed post about that, if you feel like writing one!

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Written by Tonya Kay , October 12, 2009
And Fatboy12, that's about the smartest thing I've heard in a long time!
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Written by Tonya Kay , October 09, 2009
Wow, that's brilliant! Keep thinking and wondering ... I"m learning a lot here and am starting to write on one of the topics now.
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Written by Fatboy12 , October 08, 2009
I think cities should pick up recycling free and charge for picking up other trash by weight. Pretty soon people would be recycling and composting--and sending less to landfills.
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Written by Jason Wycomb , October 07, 2009
Is it possible to get complete protein from non animal sources? I know vegetarianism and veganism are best for the planet, but do they provide a well rounded diet?
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Written by hypervoid , October 07, 2009
Is it best to use cleaning products from eco brands like Seventh Generation or to just use homemade cleaners like vinegar, baking soda, etc.? I'd love to read more tips on how to make your own cleaning products.
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Written by Joy Langtry , October 07, 2009
Tonya, you've inspired me in so many ways... thank you for this message.
How do you feel about our getting in touch with our own divine guidance? Listening to our own inner voices and following what spirit directs us to do?
We are so caught up in seeking experts outside of ourselves... no wonder we are confused! More and more I am coming to believe that nobody knows what is best for any of us better than ourselves.
It's fun to learn new things, and the world is full of fascinating information. We need to approach this with childlike wonder, and play with it to find what we want to claim as our own.
Largely inspired by you and a few others, I am eating mostly raw now after eating vegan for over 2 years. I was exposed to the wonderful info shared freely, and eventually heard my body telling me that it was a good thing to try.
My husband is a geek and a mechanical savant. He wants to learn to make solar panels himself, and eventually figure out how to make them ghetto-style, re-purposing common throwaway items. Not for the money, but for the fun of it and the satisfaction of figuring it out. And then to share....
So, I guess my point is this: with all the info that inundates us constantly, we can grow beyond a state of confusion and follow our own respective paths. This will naturally coalesce around greener, more natural living, I believe.
Ultimately, hearing our own inner voices, listening and following them, will save humanity.
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Written by theodore burns , October 07, 2009
Why is organic food more expensive?
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Written by JanieD , October 07, 2009
Every eco product seems to have it's own downside (biofuels deplete the soil; solar panels only last for a while and then have to be disposed of and they contain heavy metals which pollute the earth). Isn't it better to just consume less?
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Written by TJ , October 07, 2009
If China and India's ballooning middle class do what ours has done--become materialistic to the max and get into conspicuous consumption--it seems the planet is doomed. How do we convince other countries that what was OK for us is not OK for them?
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Written by Joanna Steven , October 07, 2009
How much have you experimented with solar panels? What do you think of the big wind farms sprouting up? How do you feel about flying on a plane? I love traveling, but feel awful when I think of the pollution it creates (I still travel though).
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Eco Tip

Weatherize your house or apartment. If you can see daylight around a door or window frame, then your door or window is leaking air. Save energy by caulking or weather stripping those leaks.  More tips...

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Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. — Bill Vaughn   More quotes...