Ed Winters, an English influencer, came to Keene State to host an event titled “The Climate Crisis: Facing up to the impact and ethics of our food.”
“Earthling Ed”, as he is known online, has over half a million followers on Instagram and a following of similar magnitude across Facebook, Youtube and Twitter. Ed gained notoriety in the United States, after teaching a vegan class at Harvard University. Winters’s content focuses on his vegan lifestyle as well as his research regarding the food industry’s effects on the environment. Winters often hosts livestreams on Instagram where he invites people with differing opinions to debate him. Fans of Ed commonly cite his calm demeanor as to why they prefer him to other commentators.
Winters had two fans at Keene State who were instrumental in bringing him to campus,the first of which was junior Sarah Mucci. Mucci, a fan of Winters, was scrolling through Instagram when she saw a post of his about his desire to speak at more colleges. Mucci said, “That was a dream, and I thought ‘Why not shoot my shot’?” After messaging him, she forgot about it until Winters’s assistant emailed her back. Mucci then reached out to Karen Seaver, professor of environmental studies, geography and sustainability.
Seaver said she wasn’t familiar with Winters beforehand. She added, “I started doing reading on some platforms. I found him captivating and really cared about the cause.” Seaver said she thought someone young like Winters, who is 28, who also had a viral following would appeal to college students.
Winters was originally scheduled to visit Keene State on Oct. 5th, but the event was postponed due to illness. The event was altered to be hosted in a hybrid manner on Zoom to best accommodate Winters. Students were still encouraged to attend in person in room 101 of the Science Center, where the stream would be broadcast on a large projector and hosted by Seaver. Those who could not make it in person were allowed to log onto the event via Zoom.
Winters spoke for almost one hour about a multitude of topics, and he invited those in attendance to fact check him. Winters talked about issues regarding the food industry, climate change, and animal cruelty throughout his seminar. He also told personal anecdotes, such as how having a pet hamster as a child influenced him to become more interested in animals. Following the Q&A portion of the event, Winters thanked the audience for their time, as well as Mucci and Seaver for bringing him to campus.
Before leaving, Winters mentioned a desire to return to Keene State in person in the future. Mucci said her and Seaver have both expressed interest in bringing more events like this to campus. “I would definitely do it again. It was more work than I thought it would be, but it was definitely worth it,” Mucci said.
Zach Murphy can be contacted