The world needs to change. We all know it, can easily identify areas of concern, and would love to do something about it. But when it comes to actually taking action we hold ourselves back, believing that we, as just one individual, are not enough to make a difference.
This is a belief system that activist and humanitarian Rob Greenfield could have easily bought into, but instead he decided to rise above our collective apathy to actively make the world a better place every single day.
Rob is the creator of The Food Waste Fiasco, a campaign that strives to put an end to food waste and hunger — two unnecessary human experiences we have the tools to prevent.
To date, Rob has cycled across the United States twice on a bamboo bicycle and has lived off the grid in a tiny home that he later auctioned off to build ten tiny homes for the homeless.
Continuing with his work (that I choose to describe as flat-out awesome), Rob is currently in the midst of another initiative that is captivating our attention more than any before it. To shed light on global waste issues, Rob has decided to carry all of the trash that he produces over a one month period with him everywhere he goes.
To make this possible, he enlisted the help of a creative friend who spent well over 100 hours designing a suit that would allow him to store and carry such a heavy load.
As a conscious environmentalist who already limits his waste production, this normally wouldn’t pose much of a challenge for Rob. Wanting to accurately reflect the average American’s consumption habits, however, he has not only temporarily re-adopted a less conscious lifestyle, but is also making sure to produce 4.4 pounds of waste per day — the calculated daily average that we create.
Now well into this initiative, Rob has taken to the streets of New York City on several occasions, effectively raising eyebrows, filling social media newsfeeds, and engaging in a number powerful conversations.
As Rob explains in the video, the biggest waste issue we face is not that we actively choose or desire to contribute to it, but that we are nevertheless doing so unconsciously. It’s an out of sight, out of mind mentality that is wreaking havoc on our planet. Once we throw something into a public waste bin or bring our trash can to the curb, we no longer think about it, and this habit creates over 250 million tonnes of trash per year in the United States alone.
By collecting and wearing it with him for an entire month, Rob illustrates how quickly our personal contribution accumulates. It’s time for us to see our individual impact in these terms, and to do our part to reduce our waste production as much as possible. Every little bit adds up, as Rob clearly demonstrates here.
I was lucky enough to get to sit down with Rob via Skype on day 17 of his remarkable 30 day journey to discuss this experience with him, as well as his intentions behind the project.
What stood out to me the most about speaking with Rob directly is the genuine passion that he has for making the world a better place. He fully believes in his ability to create initiatives that profoundly impact how we live, and the success of all his projects (both in person and on social media) prove that confidence to be well founded.
If you take anything away from Rob’s experiment, it should be this: You are more powerful thank you think. We all have the potential to make as much of an impact as Rob has and continues to have; it’s just a matter of choosing to take action on what we are passionate about.
To learn more about Rob, be sure to check out his book, Dude Making a Difference: Bamboo Bikes, Dumpster Dives and Other Extreme Adventures Across America. If you’d like to learn more or be a part of his next biking adventure across America, click here.
Another valuable tool that I personally find helpful around the kitchen is The Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook: Save Food, Save Money and Save the Planet.
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