Sara Snow would prefer that when you shop, you tote a reusable cloth bag to a market that stocks locally produced food where you would select organic produce and sustainable seafood.
But if you’re not quite ready to make such a huge lifestyle leap right now, she understands. She’ll help you take a few baby steps toward change instead – and she won’t make you feel guilty about it.
While she is an environmental enthusiast, she’s not “some freak who won’t rest until everyone is a vegetarian,” Snow jokes during a phone interview from Indianapolis, where she lives with her husband.
Technically, she doesn’t really consider herself a vegetarian either (she eats some seafood). Mostly, she’s “just picky” at mealtimes.
Her goal is to change the world, one consumer and one day at a time.
This Butler University graduate and host of the recent Discovery Health series, “Get Fresh with Sara Snow” is also busy building an ecofriendly media empire.
While that show is now airing on Discovery Living, she’s developing her third series for the Discovery network, which will air next year on the new Planet Green channel. She plans to write a book and is exploring a syndicated radio show, among other things.
“I will work every single day to help encourage people to live greener lives for the sake of their health … and the sake of our environment and the generations who will come after,” Snow, 31, says.
“Having grown up as the daughter of one of the pioneers in the movement, my mission is to take the message of simple natural living and make it accessible and tangible and attainable for people everywhere.”
She grew up in Ann Arbor, Mich., where her father, Tim Redmond, helped found Eden Foods, one of the country’s first natural food companies. After graduating from college with a degree in telecommunications and theater, she landed a job as a producer at ESPN and won an Emmy. Then she headed to the Fox affiliate in Indianapolis for three years.
Burned out from the early morning hours, she left and pitched an idea for a new green lifestyle show, which became “Living Fresh” in 2006. She expanded on the natural living concept for “Get Fresh with Sara Snow,” which premiered in January.
She and her production team develop multiple topics for each episode based on what consumers are asking about as she travels the country. (She tapes most of her shows in New York.)
From community-supported agriculture and organic florists to green funerals and environmentally conscious spas, she’s got it covered. She tries to strike a balance between the mainstream and cutting-edge ideas, because different messages appeal to different audiences, often depending on where they live.
But it’s not as easy as it sounds.
“People definitely feel that the problem is too big for them. … They hear that the glaciers are melting, and they wonder how they can make a difference. They get scared and overwhelmed and decide it’s someone else’s problem,” she says.
So that’s why every episode includes a cooking segment, because “one really good way to deliver a green message is through food. … Everyone makes decisions about food.”
So here are a few tips.
•Buying organic is not only better for you (organic produce can have more antioxidants, while meat is free of hormones and antibiotics), but it’s also better for the environment, because no chemical pesticides or herbicides are used, she says. Locally grown food requires less fuel to transport it to your neighborhood store.
•Try to eat at least one vegetarian meal a week to reduce your meat consumption. Producing meat requires more resources than a comparable amount of potatoes, she says.
•And buying organic is not just important when it comes to food. Consider what you put on your body, in terms of makeup and skin care products, Snow adds.
Green fashion is the latest booming trend, for similar reasons. It takes a pound of chemicals to produce three cotton T-shirts, she says. Once, there used to be only a handful of designers doing organic cotton shirts and yoga pants sold at boutiques. Now there are organic jeans, sweaters, sheets and towels widely available – as well as couture lines that incorporate bamboo, corn fibers, hemp, seaweed and other alternative fibers.
“I was born into this movement and to watch the way people have changed and have started to embrace natural living – how it went from a niche market to a multibillion-dollar industry – it’s exciting,” Snow says.
Although she’s glad to see more players in the industry, which brings more consumers in and creates more demand, she worries about the possibility that organic standards could become diluted down the road.
Are products like organic marshmallows a sign of progress or the beginning of the end? It’s not for her to decide.
But she does know this: If you’re trying to change your life, start with one small, easy thing at a time. You’ll start to feel differently, and possibly look at the world differently, and then you won’t want to go back.