“Our generation must fulfill the most noble of duties by ensuring the survival of future generations through the most basic of survival mechanisms – adaptation.”
If you want provoke change — real change – it’s imperative to take a stand outside the echo chamber of the converted.
That’s the ethos of professional race car driver and environmental activist Leilani Münter.
Named one of the top ten female race car drivers in the world by Sports Illustrated, Leilani races in NASCAR’s ARCA Series and is the fourth woman in history to race in the Indy Pro Series (the development league of IndyCar). She has logged impressive performances at both Daytona and Talladega and set the record for the highest finish for a female driver in the history of the Texas Motor Speedway when she finished fourth in 2006.
But what’s most intriguing about Leilani — beyond the inherent intrigue of being one of the only female drivers in her sport — is her singular commitment to leveraging her profile to educate, inspire and raise awareness around environmental issues.
Winning isn’t everything. Change is the goal.
Putting her money where her mouth is, Leilani has foregone traditional sponsorship opportunities to race cars draped in oversized logos promoting the documentaries The Cove and Blackfish. At Daytona in February 2017, she raced a car displaying Vegan Powered bills across the hood and sides. And since 2007, she adopts one acre of rainforest for every race she runs.
Leilani has presented before the UN in Geneva in 2015 and has appeared on Capitol Hill to speak on behalf of clean energy legislation. In addition, she was one of the first activists to arrive at the 2010 Gulf oil disaster and traveled to Taiji, Japan three times to document the dolphin slaughter depicted in the Academy Award winning documentary The Cove. She sits on board of the Oceanic Preservation Society and on the advisory board of The Solutions Project, a nonprofit dedicated to accelerating the transition to 100 percent renewable energy.
Leilani appears in the 2015 documentary Racing Extinction and her accomplishments have been profiled in USA Today, Italian Vogue, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Reader’s Digest, Esquire, and Newsweek. Discovery’s Planet Green named Münter the No. 1 eco-athlete in the world, she is a recipient of ELLE Magazine’s 2012 Genius Award, and Glamour Magazine named her an “Eco Hero.”
This conversation explores Leilani’s upbringing, what motivated her to become a race car driver, and what its like to be one of the only females in her male dominated sport.
It’s a discussion about the intersection of activism and sport — how Leilani infuses performance with her strident commitment to principles.
But mostly this is a conversation about the why behind Leilani’s drive. A strong, powerful female role model committed to positively impacting culture, shifting consumer habits and catalyzing beneficial environmental policy change, I aspire to her level of dedication to a better world.
As Leilani is fond of saying, never underestimate a vegan hippie chick with a race car.
After this conversation, you won’t either.
I love this exchange and sincerely hope you do too.
Peace + Plants,
Thanks to this week’s sponsors:
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Background, Context & Reference
- Connect With Leilani: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
- HuffPost: Articles by Leilani Münter
- Book: Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era* by St. Martin’s Griffin
- Non-Profit: Oceanic Preservation Society: A team of passionate artists, activists, and change agents committed to sustainability and the preservation of our oceans and planet
- Non-Profit: Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project: Dedicated to the welfare and protection of dolphins worldwide since Earthday 1970
- Non-Profit: The Solutions Project: dedicated to accelerating the transition to 100% clean energy for all
- Non-Profit: A Well Fed World: Feeding families and saving animals
- Non-Profit: The Plastic Pollution Coalition: growing global alliance of organizations, businesses, and thought leaders working toward a world free of plastic pollution
- Festival: Vegan Adelaide: 2 day festival held in Victoria Square / Tarntanyangga (Red Kangaroo) Adelaide South Australia
- NBC Sports: Racer/activist Leilani Munter to promote veganism in ARCA season opener
- ClearlyVeg: Vegan Race Car Driver Leilani Münter Banned from SeaWorld
- FoxSports: Leilani Munter to drive Vegan Powered car in ARCA race at Daytona
- GreenBiz: Meet the vegan ‘hippie chick’ NASCAR driver
- Guardian: Meet The Woman Racing To Save The Planet
- ESPNW: Leilani Munter ‘vegan powered’ for her ARCA return
- ESPNW: How Leilani Munter Uses Racing To Raise Environmental Awareness
- Fusion: Leilani Münter: A Vegan Hippie Chick with a Racecar [VIDEO]
- OneGreenPlanet: Leilani Münter to Race First-Ever Vegan-Themed Car at Daytona
- Electrek: Experienced race car driver and Tesla owner Leilani Münter joins the all-Tesla championship: Electric GT
- PlanetExperts: This December, NASCAR Driver Leilani Münter Is Racing Extinction
- ExperienceLife: Race Hard, Live Green: Leilani Münter
- Documentary: Cowspiracy
- Documentary: Blackfish*
- Documentary: The Cove*
- Documentary: Racing Extinction*
- Documentary: What The Health*
- Documentary: Revenge of The Electric Car*
- Documentary: Before The Flood*
- Documentary: An Inconvenient Truth*
- Documentary: Chasing Ice*
- Documentary: Chasing Coral
- Documentary: Game Changers: Vegan Athletes (Coming Soon!)
Notable People Discussed
- Elon Musk: business magnate, investor, engineer, and inventor. Tesla, SpaceX, OpenAI & Neuralink
- Landon Cassill: professional race car driver, vegan and podcast guest
- Jason Stefanko: Executive chef at Gardein
- Robert Cheeke: vegan bodybuilder, motivational speaker, author and activist
- David Carter: The 300 Pound Vegan: vegan, animal rights activist, public speaker, NFL fefensive lineman and podcast guest
- Sam Simon: was an director, producer, writer, animal rights activist and philanthropist, most noted as co-developer of TV series The Simpsons
- Bill Venturini: CEO of Venturing Motor Sports (Leilani Münter’s ARCA Racing Series Team)
- Danica Patrick: professional NASCAR stock car racing driver, model, and advertising spokeswoman
- Obscura Digital: creative studio designing digital immersive experiences
- Ric O’Barry: Founder& Director, Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project
- Louie Psihoyos: photographer and documentary film director known for his still photography and contributions to National Geographic
- Marc Z. Jacobsen: professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University and director of its Atmosphere and Energy Program
- Impossible Foods: develops plant-based meat and dairy products made without animals
- Bruce Friedrich: Executive director at The Good Food Institute, founding partner at New Crop Capital and podcast guest
- Katie Cleary: Founder/Creator of World Animal News. President of Peace 4 Animals
- Bob Weir: singer-songwriter, guitarist, best known as a founding member of the Grateful Dead
- Catherine Zeta-Jones, CBE: Welsh born actress and celebrity
- Leonardo DiCaprio: actor, film producer, and environmental activist
- Ed Begley Jr.: actor, environmentalist, early supporter of the electric car
- Mark Ruffalo: actor, director, and climate change advocate
- Adrian Grenier: Actor, environmentalist and entrepreneur. Co-founder of Lonely Whale
- Al Gore: 45th Vice President of the United States from 1993 to 2001 and environmentalist
- Van Jones: news commentator, author, and non-practicing attorney. Co-founder of several nonprofit organizations
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy
- RRP 147: The Need For Speed: NASCAR Driver Landon Cassill’s Plant-Based, Triathlon Fueled Success Equation
- RRP #160: The NFL’s David Carter On How A Plant-Based Diet Made Him A Better Player & A Better Human
- RRP #286: Bruce Friedrich Is Innovating The Future Of Food
- RRP 120:Michael Gervais On How To Master Mindfulness In Sports & Life
- RRP 101:Brendan Brazier, From Professional Athlete to Bestselling Author
- RRP 106:Jackson Foster On Why It’s Cool To Be Conscious & Actively Involved
*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
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