Oreos are a thing most people agree you should have in moderation. But when asked how many Oreos per day they thought qualified as a “moderate” amount, the vast majority of subjects in a recent study answered with the exact number they already tended to eat. Be it cookies or our carbon footprint, this sort of bias—justifying one’s personal comfort zone—holds true. It’s also at the heart of Lily Cole’s Who Cares Wins, publishing next week from Rizzoli, a book less about the fact that climate change is a problem and more about the positive change we can effect if we recalibrate our day-to-day lives.
Cole, who was born in Devon and grew up in London, started modeling at 14. By 16, she was gracing covers of Vogueand working for Alexander McQueen, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton. A vegetarian since the age of 10, Cole was quick to grasp the environmental impact of the fashion industry—its voracious use of water, its endless production of unnecessary goods. “It seemed like a paradox for me to be ignoring that and then be working for charities, which I was doing,” says Cole. She traveled to Botswana, India, and other far-flung countries to learn about diamond mining and cotton farming, and the ways these practices could be more environmentally responsible. “I felt I was more interested in putting my philanthropic energies into businesses,” says Cole, “and thinking about how business could be a force for good.”