Heather Noreen

Ouichange

March 2021

Better alimentation habits for a better planet 

- An interview with Heather Noreen, Co-Founder of Ouichange 

Heather Noreen, Co-founder of Ouichange has dedicated her entire professional career, which mounts to over 20 years to the field of education, maternal and child development. She personally has been focusing on the environmental transition to greener and cleaner means of living. There has to be a time when we all, as a society reach a ‘social tipping point’ and realise that we have to be more respectful towards the environment. This is what motivated her to go to local schools and started informing pupils on how they can take part in this transition. Soon later, Heather, along with three other co-founders, Sophie, Amaury and Benoit together founded Ouichange.

Ouichange aims to help over 1 million students by 2030 in the ecological transition. They aim to drastically reduce per capita carbon emissions by students and young people. She believes that through small acts daily or monthly, we can together bring positive impact to the environment and society. However, they intend to reach their goal rather through unconventional means. In the first year, Ouichange is currently focusing on alimentation and better eating habits. “Meat production is one of the key factors to increase in global warming. It is astonishing how this goes uncovered in the media”, says Heather. In France, on average an individual consumes 85 kilos of meat per year and only less than 2 kilos of ‘légumes secs’ (foods such as grains, beans, rice etc). This fact left her spellbound and sought the need for change, especially among younger generations.

This is why Heather and her team have particularly target schools. As their mandate is supposed to be in action for 10 years, they have realised that students who are between 7 to 10 years old today, will be 17 to 20 years old in 10 years from now. It is thus important to start early when children are still growing and learning about the challenges that face our world. In order to have an impact and bring about real change, they carry out workshops and programmes, connect with teachers and parents and even interact with local producers and other actors in society to help students eat more responsibly, while taking the environment into consideration.

Ouichange intends to hit two birds with one stone. Their target is to not only fight the insidious challenge of global warming but also of obesity and being overweight. In France, 1 adult out of 2 is overweight, but 17% of the population is obese. In the United States, 2 in 3 adults are overweight and 1 in 3 are obese. “Being overweight is just a mild disease but other more serious ones such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer is linked to one’s diet or pollution they live in. In short, there is a lot of work to be done!” 

As Ouichange is currently tackling the challenge of responsible alimentation and eating to improve the environment, they intend to take a step forward in the coming years by running programs and spreading knowledge on responsible consumption of products and resources.

The year of 2030 is constantly on the mind of Heather and her team. These next 10 years are crucial for the world. As governments and public actors try to find solutions from the top to the bottom, Ouichange provides solutions from the bottom-up. She has a dire urge to create the right kind of citizens of tomorrow.

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