Aleksander Garbuz, Ella G. Joasil, and Annie Kersten, 2022 Governor's STEM Scholars
Dear Fellow Gen-Zers, On March 1, New Jersey took an important step forward to protect animals against mistreatment by banning the sale of cosmetics tested on animals throughout the state. As the 8th state to pass such a law, New Jersey is at the forefront of a nationwide movement that aligns with our generation's beliefs in supporting the welfare of animals. Collectively, we can help fight so that every cosmetic sold in the U.S. is cruelty-free. New Jersey has followed in the footsteps of several other states in banning animal testing in cosmetic products. States such as California, Illinois, Nevada, Virginia, Maryland, and now New Jersey are pioneering the movement for more ethical policies and testing procedures in cosmetics. Members of Generation Z-defined as those born between 1997-2012 -- have been central to advocacy efforts in these states. We are passionate about these topics; with a strong desire to support sustainability, protect the environment, and end animal cruelty.
While many companies still test their cosmetics on animals, others are moving away from the practice as more states and counties ban the practice due to the lack of evidence that testing results are transferable to humans. Studies show that animals are actually poor predictors of elements that could be harmful to humans since human skin and animal skins are very different. This renders animal testing a wasteful process that generates ineffective data not useful to the manufacturing process. Within the Gen-Z community there are avid, passionate, and intense views on animal cruelty and animal testing; believing that animals should not be used. According to brand-tracking company Lantana, of all generations, millennials and Gen Zers are the most passionate about animal sustainability. Younger generations are moving to vegetarianism and veganism in droves; “cruelty-free” food and beverages are seeing huge spikes in sales; 44% of consumers now look for a “cruelty-free” label when shopping for personal care products.
So, fellow Gen-Zers, this is our call to action. Gen-Z makes up one-third of the global population, and we have the ability to impact the $483 billion a year cosmetic industry. Looking for products with cruelty-free labels and researching before buying are great steps to show what our generation cares about. Gen-Z, we can make changes with our wallets and, without a doubt, brands will start to pay attention. As the first generation of digital natives, we can use social media, from Instagram to Tik Tok, to oppose products tested on animals. Groups such as the Humane Society are using #BeCrueltyFree to create a global movement to end animal testing in cosmetics. We can amplify their work through our social platforms.
Gen-Z, we are the future, it's time we fight for a world that aligns with our values. While New Jersey has taken a great step to stop animal cruelty here, we must work to encourage the 42 states without these laws to demand these products be removed from their shelves. And we can do it; through our collective purchasing power and voices, we can demand this change. Aleksander Garbuz is a sophomore at Biotechnology High School. He has a strong interest in both sciences and mathematics and is doing everything possible to further his knowledge in the subjects he loves. He loves to play the cello, read, and better himself. He is dedicated to continuing his focus and maintaining his studies in the ever-growing world of STEM. Ella G. Joasil is a sophomore at East Brunswick High School. She possesses a strong interest in STEM and aspires to become a biochemist. She has always endeavored to reach and sustain academic excellence. She enjoys playing soccer, bike riding, and reading. Her dream is to be an element of positive change in the world. Annie Kersten is a junior at Rumson Fair Haven Regional High School. She is committed to exploring every opportunity given to further her knowledge in the STEM field. Her interested fields of STEM include computer science and engineering and she aspires to pursue one of these areas as a career. She likes to play golf, swim, and looks forward to learning more as she gains more experience in the STEM community. They all met as members of the 2021 Governor’s STEM Scholars Program.