The animals needed me, the people suffering needed me, and the environment needed me.
Young people all around the world are working to build a regenerative future. At 15, Carol Aguilar is one of those people. She wants to create a platform and campaign to educate people on the exploitation of animals and the environmental impact of the animal agriculture industry.
Regenerative Futures: How are you feeling right now?
Carol Aguilar: I am feeling ecstatic and just so proud of myself for putting so much effort into my work.
RF: What’s a secret your search history can tell us about you?
CA: Well, maybe that I really love to Google things over and over again just to make sure that it’s correct. I like to know my facts are accurate before using them as evidence.
RF: What are you reading/learning about at the moment?
CA: I’ve taken a pause from reading and am focusing my free time on learning and writing the structure of my resource website. Everyday life teaches me something, though.
RF: Who is your favorite human and why?
CA: My favorite human has to be my mom. Even though a lot of people might say that, she’s my favorite because as a single mom she was able to give me a place to live in and mature.
RF: Which key moment inspired you to start your project?
CA: The key moment that inspired me to start working on my project was realizing that I was never going to get ahead if I didn’t do something. I was tired of being an activist that wasn’t reaching her full potential. I knew what I could achieve and so I thought to myself, “What exactly are you waiting for? Until you’re 18, out of high school, in college, out of college?” What was keeping me from going further? It was myself. The animals needed me, the people suffering needed me, the environment needed me because my voice mattered—and so I took off.
RF: In two years’ time, what would success with your project look like?
CA: In two years’ time I would like to see my organization for sure be up and running. First, it will be a resource website; then, it will become a nonprofit giving vegan food to the homeless of East LA and around. I would like to see Regenerative Futures billboards, too. Also, giving talks and educating people is my biggest strength; people will listen to me when I speak.
RF: If you could focus a large percentage of government funding on one industry or project for the next five to ten years, which would you choose and why?
CA: I wouldn’t give a large percentage to government funding, because there is no actual way of knowing if they are [making] change. I’d rather do the change myself and educate people directly.
RF: What is the best and worst thing about the education system in your country?
CA: One of the good things about the education system here in the United States is that there is starting to be more and more [education] about the climate crisis and the environment. I have even seen some schools explain the effects of animal agriculture. Even though they don’t go in depth, it’s change that we need.
RF: Do you have a message for anyone your age living in the year 2060?
CA: I tried as hard as I could to influence how you live. You are important and even though I don’t know you, you are the future for what comes after. If the Earth is worse than it was in 2020, take control and fight for our home.
RF: What inspires or frightens you most about the future?
CA: What inspires me about the future is that when I am older I will be able to speak more around the world and fight for the Earth. What frightens me is not having fought enough to help save the most vulnerable species and people.
To learn more about Regenerative List finalist Carol Aguilar, click here.