A day in the life of Lydia Cooke.
Humanitarian, environmental activist and professional model.
With a BA Geographical Science degree specialising in humanitarian aid, climate change and sustainable living, she embodies the values of Bird Eyewear. We caught up with Lydia to discuss all things environmental, sustainability, travel and charity.
We love the fact that you combine all these things together, but which were you first; a model or a eco-warrior?
Thank you! I guess I’ve been an ‘eco-warrior’ for most of my life, which is a lot longer than my modelling. It’s not as such a way of life that I’ve learnt to be a part of; I’ve always cared for the world and all that it provides. I grew up along the Jurassic Coast of England and spent a lot of time adventuring. It was there I started noticing the changing coastline.
I took my A-level’s in Geography and Environmental Science before setting off to travel South-East Asia and starting my degree in BA Geography. From the diverse landscapes and cultures I visited, my journey showed me further beauty of the world and taught me a lot about the injustice of climate change on a global scale. I discovered how communities both close and far from home are in need of humanitarian support.
I had such a strong desire to help in these aspects of life, so I simply started sharing this with my friends and followers on social media. This is where modelling came in, I started at the age of 17 and have loved every moment of it. I take great happiness in the abundance of different people I have met along the way and the important support it has given me to build a platform for environmental and humanitarian awareness. By reaching out with modelling I have been able to build a community of followers who share my passions and are open to learn about the values I hold.
Can you tell us about your work with ShelterBox? When did you first hear about the charity and decide to get involved? Have you always been passionate about humanitarian aid?
is an amazing emergency shelter organisation who have inspired me for a long time now. I first started working with ShelterBox while I was at University after the exciting realisation that they were based locally; I became a volunteer initially before joining as a social media ambassador in 2019 and have loved every moment of it. From working with ShelterBox throughout University I ended up graduating with a dissertation that investigated the negative influence of physical barriers when delivering aid in the Philippines, I was grateful for the conversations I had with ShelterBox to support this. It never truly felt like hard work as I was always so amazed by every conversation. I feel proud that a Cornish based company is having an incredibly positive impact on such global scale.
As a business we try to be as sustainable as possible. What conscious lifestyle changes have you made in your own life to lead a more eco-friendly existence?
There is so much that we can do individually to make a collective change for the future of our planet! Personally, the biggest change I made to my lifestyle was to go vegetarian back in 2016. I had always been a meat eater having grown up on a small holding, however educating myself on the impact of the meat industry made me realise the true extent of diet choice; I’ve never looked back since. I also try to buy second hand wherever I can or from certified sustainable companies.
By reducing the demand on planet damaging companies we can eventually filter through and prioritise eco-friendly businesses. Aside from this I do the small actions like turning off lights, taking shorter showers, only filling the kettle with what’s needed and swapping heating for extra jumpers. Something I always recommend to also do is only ever think about driving a journey if it would take longer than 30 minutes to walk! I think much of the drive for change will be made by lifestyle choices. Be conscious of your decisions, research companies before buying and make the small things a habit.
Tell us about your ‘What on earth?’ articles…
My ‘What on Earth?
’ series is based around the idea that scientific information is incredibly hard to access due to its complicated dialogue. Scientists have particularly long-winded ways of explaining things which is guided by their academic training.
In response to this, my blog series aims to dissect words such as ‘arctic amplification’, ‘permafrost melt’ and ‘ocean acidification’ into a more understandable language. In doing so, I hope that my readers will gain vital knowledge on the challenges we’re facing, be inspired to make changes and understand conversations when news reports discuss them.
Do you have any big plans for 2021? Personally, and professionally.
I would love to say I have some crazy travel adventure, big shoot or girls trip somewhere planned, however lockdown life doesn’t offer this option. I do however have a number of very exciting freelance projects lined up with some really awesome companies (including you guys). I recently took the leap to go full time self-employed and I’m absolutely loving it! I knew it was going to be a risk, but it seems to have paid off. I’ve finally given myself the gift of time to get on with ideas I’ve held back for years. I’ll be walking the Cornish coast as much as possible in between but all I can say is keep your eyes and ears open…
Finally, do you have a favourite pair of Birds?
I have to say there are two competing finalists for my favourite frames; the Luna
and the Kaka
. I love the retro vibe that the Luna’s give me, styled up with an old denim jacket or vintage jumper. However, the Kaka offers a very flattering shape and can be dressed up or down! Plus, the Kaka Honey
gives me full summer vibes and I’m ready for it.