Chef Grace Ramirez recently added her voice to the United Nation’s ActNow for Climate campaign, but she is an old hand at living and teaching how to live sustainably in the food and entertainment industry – one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases largely due to food production and waste.

We ask our eco-friendly celebrity chef – also a global citizen and a humanitarian by nature – how we can be the change that we want to see in the world – one step, one bite and one act at a time.

How do you live sustainably everyday?

My days vary; I travel a lot so it’s hard for me to have a routine but when I’m home my day starts with waking up at 6 a.m. and meditating for 30 mins, then I go work out and make myself coffee in a reusable cup. I always take a reusable water bottle for my workout.

No Single-use Plastic

If I stop at the supermarket and farmer’s markets, I put everything in my bag. I don’t use plastic bags. I also support a lot of local sustainable businesses by ordering online from websites like Sea to Table, which creates little waste, and its seafood is wild caught and traceable.

I am that person that carries a reusable water bottle, to exercise and everywhere I go, even at airports. Most people don’t know that you can even pass your plastic water bottle through security as long as it’s empty and then fill it up after crossing security.

Make the Right Choice

Photo by Alejandra Huerta

Buying seasonal products is a big one for me. I have an app for that and when I buy at the supermarket, I buy seasonal, local products. I don’t feel it’s right to eat berries in the middle of winter that come all the way from Chile, since it creates unnecessary transport carbon footprint.

Because of the contamination that industrialized livestock produces, I eat an 80/20 percent plant-based diet, meaning 80 percent of what I consume is veggies and 20 percent is animal protein. I’m very conscious about where my animal protein comes from. For example, in New Zealand I loved eating deer, since it’s such a sustainable protein.

When I’m home I usually cook but If I need to eat out, I will most likely go to a place where I know the chef or I know that the restaurant cares for its people, cares about sourcing good produce, cares about the farmers, and cares about where their meat or fish comes from. I know sometimes you don’t have that option, but I do my best. When I have the power do to so, I make the right choice.

Watch your Carbon Footprint (and lose weight)

I’m also that person who loves to ride the subway, walk at least 10,000 steps a day, even in winter and I love using Lyft pool and Via when I have to. If I had a car it would definitely be electric or a very efficient Hybrid.

Small Changes Can Make A Big Difference

The bot is a great reminder, it’s so user friendly and it’s a great intro point to people who want to live more sustainably.

Everyone must take responsibility, small changes can make a big difference and we can’t keep pretending like nothing is happening to our planet, because it’s obvious that if we don’t do something we’re going to be in big trouble. We all need to be more conscious and take responsibility. What I enjoy about the bot is that you commit to an action and then you log it, so it’s a great reminder that helps you stay in track.

I love making it into a game with my little cousins and family. The little ones call me and ask me, how many actions have you taken today? It’s great to do this with your family, especially now since the Angry Birds takeover. So fun!

Get Inspired, Make Sustainability Creative and Fun

I’m super passionate about entertaining sustainably and I have “converted” a lot of people  to use more eco-friendly products. The only thing you need to do is a little planning. For example, I literally buy all my eco-friendly party options online twice a year, and I have them in my closet, so when a picnic or a party comes up, I have my stock saved, plus they just look so much better. How beautiful are all those bamboo plates/ compostable plates?

I also enjoy going to flea markets or second-hand shops and buying old silverware, one of a kind plates and glasses. It’s ok to mix match because they add so much personality to your party. But even if you don’t want to wash anything, they are beautiful compostable options online.=

Or another trick I do when I’m out of compostable plates and I have an impromptu party is that I tell each of my guest that we are doing a “bring your own plate & silverware” themed dinner, people love that. It gives them something to do and it’s like the “ugly sweater parties”, everyone participates and there is zero waste, and the table setting looks gorgeous and unique.

Get inspired, make it a fun activity to be more sustainable and it also makes you feel good.

Pass On Your Green Life Hacks

Education is key and teaching children is essential. I mentor and I teach the little ones in my family all my green life hacks. Children are fast learners and they turn everything to a game, plus they are great reminders. I love it when they say to me…”remember we must bring our own bag,” or “let me help you compost.”

Be the Change

I’ve always believed that you should be the change that you want to see in the world. But when people think about sustainability, most get overwhelmed and don’t even know where to start.

The purpose of this ActNow campaign and why I think it’s essential to be part of it is because we all have the power to make more conscious choices that can truly make the difference in the trajectory of our children’s future. This is the time, education is key, and we all need to lead by example.

The ActNow campaign wishes to educate and encourage individual behavioural change, mainly by adjusting consumption patterns.

So, if I can share some easy green life hacks and tips on how to cook and entertain in a more sustainable way, that warms my heart. Making the topic of sustainability approachable for people so it’s easier and more fun for them to be more aware of their own choices is the way for all of us to row in the same direction. We have a lot more power than we think and once we are conscious of it, we can create generational change.

I’m honoured to be part of this movement and excited to share and inspire even more people to enjoy sustainable, climate-conscious and delicious food.

We also asked Chef Grace what her journey was like as a young female Latina chef in a mostly male-dominated industry?

Now I can appreciate the journey – I’m finally harvesting the crops I’ve been planting for more than 10 years but it has been very hard for me. A lot of hard work, I’ve gotten burned many, many times – sleepless nights, lots of tears, a lot of fear, but I have never given up. You must learn from all the hardship and turn them around.


If you want to learn or join the ActNow campaign, please visit https://www.un.org/en/actnow/, where an interactive bot will be waiting to support your commitment to sustainability.

If you are curious about cooking and enjoying sustainable, climate-conscious, healthy and delicious food, check out the ActNow campaign’s Food Challenge and recipes from top chefs like Grace Ramirez and Massimo Bottura, who runs a three-Michelin-star restaurant in Italy.

ActNow web page
Chef videos
Sustainable Food Recipes
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