Hollywood actor and passionate animal rights advocate Natalie Portman recently took to the stage at the Environmental Media Association awards after receiving recognition for her ongoing commitment to sustainability.

In the speech, Portman opens up about why she is vegan and how it relates to creating a more environmentally friendly future.

“Factory farming is responsible for most of the air, water [and] land pollution that disproportionately affects our poorer communities” She explains, before stating to the crowd that “we get to make decisions three times a day [about] what we do with our planet and can make a difference by even once a day or once a week choosing not to eat animals or animal products”

Vegetarian since childhood, Natalie says she has been following a vegan diet for over 6 years and that it has been an incredible influence in her life.

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Portman’s new film ‘Eating Animals’ had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival earlier this year and is based on the book that inspired her to adopt a vegan diet; also named Eating Animals. The documentary takes an in-depth look at the realities of modern-day factory farming and the methods used to mass produce meat, dairy, and eggs.

At the awards, Natalie explains how she feels that “the way we treat animals is powerfully connected to our relationship with the world itself” and that thinking about food in terms of what’s fastest and cheapest is reflective of the way we think about other things in life.

Believing that changing our behavior with food will directly result in better relationships with everything else in life, the star encourages everyone to think about their choices with her powerful yet empowering words:

“Our relationships need to matter, we need to care about what we’re doing, we need to put effort into the food we grow, and what we put into our bodies and be conscious of what we put into our bodies”

Although realizing that those in certain communities may find veganism more difficult than others, Natalie believes that the threat to our environment requires an “ongoing effort by all of us”.