If you asked me in high school what Rob Greenfield would do with his life I probably would have said something with the sciences or some sort of other prestigious career like a doctor. In fact, Rob (and another old high school friend) is the sole reason why I passed high school chemistry. Rob has always been incredibly smart and all about having a good time while living life to the fullest. (A particular night studying chemistry and a few not so fortune fish come to mind!) So in all reality I guess it isn’t too surprising that he’s become an activist for the environment, food waste, and simpler living. “Rob’s experiential campaigns have taken America to the bottom of grocery store dumpsters, across America on a bamboo bicycle, surviving on the drips of water from leaky fire hydrants, and sleeping on the streets of San Diego.” (http://robgreenfield.tv/activism/) His activism has led to national media attention, landed him a book deal, and a TV show (both currently in the works).
I asked Rob if I could interview him because his passion inspires me in many aspects of my life, especially fitness and clean eating, but also, being mindful of my carbon footprint. When I started reading his blog about two years ago, it re-inspired me to chase after my own goals and aspirations. Below are random questions that I felt would dig into why Rob started this journey and how he came to realize these passions and act on them, plus give some insight on how we all might live simpler, make an impact, and find our passions and chase them.
Out of pure curiosity, how did you get started on this journey? Was it something you read, saw, or an interest you’ve always had?
It wasn’t any one moment in particular. Around 4 years ago I started to watch a lot of documentaries and read books and I decided I was going to act on what I learned. Food, Inc., Earthlings, and Story of Stuff were three that really got me thinking and then acting!
In your travels around the world, have you noticed that people in other (poorer) countries seem happier than us here in the United States? If so, do you think that any of that could be related to having less possessions and don’t have to continually try and “keep up with the Joneses”?
I can say for certain they don’t look any more unhappy! In all of my travels through places like Indonesia, Kenya, and Cambodia I don’t recall people frowning at all. People living on $1/ day certainly have it rough at times but yes they do seem quite a bit happier than the current general population in America. I would like to think it has something to do with the simplicity of their life both with owning less stuff and being happy with what they have.
What tips could you give for those of us that live in a small town or out in the country for fighting the “food waste fiasco”?
- Grow some of your own food
- Buy food from local farmers, the farmers market, or a health food co-op
- Talk to your grocery store manager and make sure they are donating excess food to the food bank and not throwing it away
More than anything I have to say that I admire your passion. You don’t just preach about change, you truly live it. Where does that passion come from? What advice or suggestions could you give to others for tapping into their own passion?
The passion comes from a general desire to live a life that is good for the earth, my community, and myself. I want to leave this place better than when I came to it. I can’t do everything but if we all had that mindset and acted on it, well I think we’d all be alright. I also have a real good time caring for the earth, people, and all creatures. It’s very purposeful and fulfilling.
I suggest sitting down and figuring out what your passion is and then writing it down. Put that piece of paper somewhere very visual so that you remember what your passion is. Under that make a list of what you need to do to live that passion. Take it one day and one step at a time until you’re living it. Then enjoy and continue down that path.
Lastly, what book or movies could you recommend for inspiration and motivation (in life, happiness, peace, etc.)?
- The Moneyless Man
- Let My People Go Surfing
- Any version of Gandhi’s biography
- And this list called Short Films for a Better World