“I remember having a boyfriend who would throw his fast food bags out of the car window,” says Candice Patton. “Nobody thought differently about it where I grew up in Texas,” explains The Flash star. “But even at the time, I knew in my heart that didn't sit right with me.”
Those early experiences helped propel Candice into more proactive work for the planet, including as a Wild Advocate paired with Wild Innovator Dominique Gonçalves, manager of the Elephant Ecology Program in Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park. "Do you know anyone who doesn't love elephants?" Candice asks, and yeah, no.
What else does the 33-year-old superhero love? Talking (literal) trash, chicken nugget euphoria, and the joys of being “vegan adjacent.” Here we go…
True or false: You’re obsessed with composting.
Oh, so true. You know, it's a strange evolution, my wanting to be environmentally friendly. I grew up in Texas. I didn't grow up with a lot of images or resources behind recycling and just being, you know, conscious of the environment at all… Then I moved to LA, and obviously, people are more aware here. I naturally got more involved in recycling and thinking about the environment, turning your water off when you're brushing your teeth, all these small things you can do to make big changes. And then finally moving to Vancouver to shoot the [The Flash] was a big turning point.
Oh no, is this a “Canadians do it better” moment?
They take the environment even more seriously! Most apartment complexes here have these garbage rooms, and they have different containers for different things. Cardboard, bottles, cans, plastic bags, compost… I mean, it's so organized and separated! I know it’s weird being so enthusiastic about, like, trash.
No, we love talking trash.
Yeah, me too! And in Vancouver, it's just a part of the culture there to compost. Everyone has a little compost bin in their kitchen, and you throw your food scraps in there, and you take it to the compost bin. Canada makes it really easy, and also, very satisfying.
Like Marie Kondo for the environment?
Kind of, yeah! It’s a big deal. I want the US to make it as big a deal.
Same. Want to tell us your favorite vegan swap?
Impossible Chicken Nuggets are next level. Next level. If you have a friend or a family member who’s like, “Vegan food is disgusting!” give them the chicken nuggets.
And they have them at Trader Joe’s now! I did it to my boyfriend, and he didn’t know it wasn’t chicken.
Oh my gosh, same! I asked my mom to swap the Impossible ground beef—I can't remember if it was like a meat patty or tacos—but she served it to my dad, and to this day, he does not know he wasn’t eating “normal” meat.
Our motto is “Let good grow wild.” What does that mean to you?
It makes me think of like, the innate goodness that we all kind of have inside of us that maybe we sometimes forget. I think it's easy to paint humankind as malicious and evil. And we definitely have that. But I do think that there is a lot of goodness in being human. I try to remember that about myself. And I think if we do let our goodness grow wild inside of us, we create spaces for our world to be so much better.
Any parting words before you go back to being a famous superhero?
I want to encourage people to not get overwhelmed when it comes to the environment, you know? All you have to do is one small thing. You don’t have to be a vegan. I’m definitely not a vegan! I always say I’m “vegan-adjacent.” Even starting small and making one change—being better at recycling, or eating like one plant-based meal a week—is moving the needle in the right direction. Just be environmentally curious, whether it’s about elephants or veggie burgers or trees. Find one thing in nature you think is so cool. That’s the first step right there.