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Judith Ellens

Judith Ellens

Judith Ellens, Gründerin eaternity

Im Rahmen des ecoworks Workshops im Herbst 2008 entstand die Idee zu eaternity. Mittlerweilen wurde aus der Idee ein Verein, der klimafreundliches Essen auf den Tisch bringt. Ziel ist, auf wissenschaftlicher Basis die Zusammenhänge von Ernährung und Klimawandel einer breiten Öffentlichkeit bekannt zu machen. Gleichzeitig wird Wert auf eine ausgewogene Ernährung und kulinarische Vielfalt gelegt.

Judith gewann mit "eaternity" im Februar 2010 den 3. Platz beim Prix NATURE!

Interview with Judith Ellens

by Elke Hodson


Dutch-born and raised, Judith Ellens has made a name for herself at ETH Zurich as the founder of the ecoworks' spin-off project, eaternity. eaternity's goal is to raise awareness about the amount of greenhouse gases we emit by what we choose to eat everyday.

Since eaternity's conception in the fall of 2008, the project has gone on to win the first year of ecoworks' projects to reduce campus CO2 emissions in 2008-2009 and has implemented its first climate friendly menu at Science City's Physics restaurant.

Although Judith now has a solid focus on ecology and sustainability issues, her story will be much more familiar to many students; a winding road of choices and opportunity as she figured out where her true interests lie.

Judith began her studies by majoring in philosophy at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. After two years, she remained interested in philosophy as a means to answer questions about how we shape and create our environment, but felt that she was too young to study such big life questions without some practical experience.

Judith's new biology course work exposed her to environmental themes finally leading her to choose an applied ecology bachelor's degree project on whether polar bears will survive or die out in a changing climate.

But Judith had always wavered between the study of science and humans. During her bachelors' studies, Judith applied to a special honors program at the University of Leiden on the environment and human perspective of sustainable development. Similar to other university sustainability programs, such as Youth Encounter on Sustainability, an ETH spin-off, she remembers this time as a period of awakening.

During the sustainability program, she met people from many different disciplines. She studied a range of sustainability concepts--from the discovery of fire to the age of agriculture to the industrial age--but was then asked to define for herself, what next? Her answer was not technical in nature, but like a good philosopher that we need to look for the change within ourselves.

After completing her bachelor's in 2007, Judith moved to Zurich for love in early 2008 and began a Master's program in the Department of Environmental Sciences at ETH Zurich.

By November 2008, Judith was already settled enough to bring her idea to a first idea sharing workshop, hosted by ecoworks. Judith arrived at that workshop hoping to find someone to take over her idea for eaternity and move on with her studies. Instead, she quickly realized that she would need to become the strong leader needed to move the project forward.

Judith found one of the hardest parts of starting eaternity to be convincing others to work with her on her idea. She contends that even within the year, there has been much more awareness generated in Switzerland about the concept of reducing energy emissions through food consumption. At the time, Judith routinely received responses such as "I would like to work on [eaternity], but I don't want to eat less meat." Beef has about 70 times more CO2 emissions per kilo than potatoes.

Since that first ecoworks workshop, the concept of eaternity has blossomed. Judith now has two ETH students and one WWF employee working with her on a regular basis. All three are as passionately motivated about doing something for the environment as she is.

In the future, Judith hopes to work towards a world where climate-friendly food is the norm. She continues to look for more eaternity partners and to generate further awareness about the consequences of our food choices. In Judith's own words, "It is possible for each and every one of us to do something for the climate."

© 2013 ETH Zürich | Impressum | 11.05.2011