By: Amanda Froelich,
“Activism: the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.” Because all of life is impermanent, action is essential in order to influence events as they unfold. The dedication, motivation, and willingness to give so much to a cause is what defines one’s character, and it can transform or diminish the interwoven complexities that tie all living beings together. For that reason, activism can be one of the greatest gifts for others and future generations.
In times of injustice, activists have been recorded as the influential leaders who spurred change. And in present day, the need for vocal, passionate truthful speakers has not lessened, but only grown with worldwide insufficiency and need for alternative solutions.
One example of such an activist is Rob Greenfield, a passionate American adventurer, environmental activist, and entrepreneur, who has traveled the globe inspiring consumer awareness and sustainable activities. He knows firsthand the sacrifices and joys that come with putting others first, and has made it his life’s purpose to creatively show how every individual has the opportunity to become an activist, even if just through their daily activities.
Before jetting off to Panama on his next adventure, Rob shared some of the motivating factors behind his inspirational campaigns, his thoughts on how humanity can positively transform by individual action, and what he is planning for his next escapade.
Q: What does it mean to be a True Activist, and how can every individual contribute to a healthier, more sustainable world?
To me it comes down to leading by example and living it out loud. We can each be activists in our own community and in simple ways. It’s about going against the grain when you know it’s the right thing to do and inspiring other people to head down that same direction with you. A true activist stands up for what they truly believe and has the knowledge to back it up.
Q: What have been some of your recent activism campaigns?
This summer I cycled 4,700 miles across America on a bamboo bike to inspire Americans to live more sustainably. During that 3 months I carried out a handful of campaigns that were as fun for me as they were inspiring for the people learning from them. In “Drip by Drip” I pedaled from NYC to Boston living off leaky faucets to raise awareness about water waste and for the same cause I also lived off a leaky fire hydrant in Brooklyn for five days. For the 375 miles I cycled through the state of Iowa I rode with no seat to literally “Stand up for Sustainability.”
Back in San Diego I ate 100% from dumpsters for an entire week in the “21 Gourmet Dumpster Meals” campaign to raise awareness about food waste. The next week I spent my holidays living on the streets with the homeless to bring attention to human equality and increase compassion.
Q: What drives your daring and risky adventures?
I’ve got to be creative and entertaining to reach a large audience. What is daring and risky to many is often a thrilling adventure for me and I credit my resourcefulness for that. My aim is to entertain and inspire Americans through my adventures while influencing them to live in a manner that is beneficial to earth, community, and self. I’ve combined my love for adventure with my desire to influence happiness and health around the world.
Q: What is one main lesson you’ve taken from your experience dumpster diving across America?
I’ve seen first-hand waste so abundant that I can thrive purely off of food that we throw away in America. Our dumpsters are full of perfectly good healthy food yet 1 in 7 Americans is food insecure. To help you visualize, we throw away $165 billion worth of food each year, which is slightly more than we spend on our entire public education system nationwide. This amounts to 90 billion pounds of food annually or approximately the same weight as 3.6 million school buses, about 7.5 times our entire fleet. Although dumpster diving is fun I don’t tell others to dive, rather to take measures to not put the food in the dumpsters in the first place.
Q: For your upcoming journey, Share My Way Home, you will travel to Panama with no money, no cell phone, and no camera – only a passport and the clothes on your back – and travel through 7 countries to make it back to San Diego, California. What are you hoping to accomplish with this campaign?
Without money I’ll be forced to use the sharing economy, general resourcefulness, and a combination of social media and true human interaction to meet the most basic of needs and return home. I hope to demonstrate these concepts as easy and free solutions to many of current world crises. Also I’ll be showing others how to decrease their negative impact on the environment while increasing their health and happiness.
The Share My Way Home contest will reward ten winners with $50 to share however they want. To enter fans simply tweet @RobJGreenfield #ShareMyWayHome or post on Facebook with #ShareMyWayHome and say how they share!
Q: Finally, what is the best advice you can give to someone still hesitant about stepping out of their comfort zone and standing up for change?
From one perspective, our earth is a tiny speck of dust amongst an infinite galaxy and each of us humans is no grander than a grain of sand lost in an expansive desert.
But from another perspective, each of us humans has the opportunity to change this world, our home, for better or worse, and affect the lives of millions of purposeful lives.
Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and every other great leader started as babies, just as you and I did, and had not even the slightest of knowledge of the influence they’d have on our home.
My advice: Realize and believe that you can mean nothing and everything at the same time. Understand that no matter where you are today you can be the leader and the human you truly want to be. Embrace yourself, respect yourself, love yourself, and share yourself with the earth.
Rob is an activist whose influence seems to be limit-less: he has recently launched Change the World with Rob Greenfield (an adventure series to make viewers rethink the way they interact with the world), founded the Goodfluence Fund (which gives micro-grants to individuals, activists, and non-profits for environmental and social projects that create health and happiness), and interacts with his community by offering free seeds, hosting do-good bike rides, and more (all of which can be found on his website).
While this is how he contributes to a better world, one should not become discouraged if their life does not mirror the same example of activism. Instead, consider ways you can better yourself and sustain the environment through daily activities. Consciously communicating with others, being mindful of your choices, and striving to positively contribute to the world are all ways one can be an activist in the present.
All in all, the opportunity to live an extraordinary life is granted the instant one gives themselves permission. Only self-limiting belief can deter deeds of greatness. To positively affect those around you, contribute to a healed and nourished Earth, and become a true activist, decide to act on change today.
To connect with Rob and be involved in his adventures, visit: