San Diego Entrepreneur of the Week – Rob Greenfield
Each week we sit down with a San Diego based on entrepreneur who has had an exceptional impact on the business, social atmosphere, or culture of San Diego. This week spoke with Rob Greenfield, who is an adventurer, environmental activist, and entrepreneur. We first met Rob when he gave a speech at Ignite San Diego’s event and we were blown away by his hands-on approach, as well as utilizing the internet and social media to share his story with the world.
Rob recently spent 2.5 months in South America filming for the Discovery Channel, and recently published a new book, “A Dude Making a Difference.” We have met with a lot of entrepreneurs throughout the writing of this article, but Rob easily has the biggest cultural and environmental impact of everyone we have met.
You are involved in a lot of different things, can you give the readers a brief synopsis of everything you have been working on lately?
Well I’m an adventurer and environmental activist always looking for interesting ways to get people to reflect on how their lives are affecting the earth, other people, and other species that we share the earth with. I just got back from 2.5 months in South America where I landed in Brazil with no money and a plan to travel 7,000 miles to Panama. I just published a book this month about my first bike ride across America. I live off the grid in Ocean Beach in a little tiny house which is an adventure in itself. I dive into 100’s of grocery store dumpsters and create displays of what I find to inspire people and companies to waste less and give to people in need instead. And I spend a lot of time loving my girlfriend, eating healthy food, and breathing fresh air.
Can you tell us about your book?
Dude Making a Difference is the story of my first bike ride across America on a bamboo bicycle. I set out to live an extremely low impact lifestyle and inspire positive change in doing so. In 104 days of cycling 4,700 miles across America I used just 160 gallons of water, got into only one gas powered vehicle, ate nearly 300 pounds of food from grocery store dumpsters, and created only 2 pounds of trash! It’s a book full of adventure, wacky stories, and inspiration to do good!
Can you tell us about “Free Ride?” What should we expect, and what was the process of going from an idea for a show to actual production?
Hmmm, what can I tell you about “Free Ride?” It was a grueling adventure. 10 weeks in South America through vastly diverse landscapes and cultures all starting in Rio De Janeiro without a penny in my pocket. So much happened in that time that I don’t know what to expect out of the show. It’s all got to be fit into 6 episodes. The process was really smooth for me. I did a survival show with Discovery in summer 2014 and afterwards I told them I had some ideas and that I’d like to discuss doing a TV show with them. The ideas went over well and within a month I was talking with a production company they work with and within another month or two it sounded like I had a show. From there it took a few months to get the official green light and everything has been very smooth since then!
What is something every individual can do that will have the biggest impact?
Actually, far and way the single change that any of us can make to reduce our environmental harm is to switch to a plant based diet. This means eating way more plants and way less meat. Cowspiracy is a must watch documentary to get all the facts. But it’s pretty simple that the production of meat is the most taxing thing we do to our forests, oceans, prairie land, and atmosphere. It’s the single largest contributor to our drought in California and rain forest deforestation abroad.
Can you tell us about your marketing company, and what made you start it?
I started The Greenfield Group in 2011 and I started out with advertising plaques on grocery store shopping carts, then I moved onto advertising on hotel keycards, and then online marketing. The whole time I was using it as a medium to affect positive change. We were a 1% for the Planet member which meant we donated a minimum of 1% of all revenue to approved nonprofits and my company hosted trash clean ups, started a community bike program, and an energy efficient light bulb exchange program. I was doing a lot but I realized that I was causing destruction through my business (via all the plastic, transportation, etc.) to earn money to do good stuff with but that really overall I was doing far more “bad” than “good.” I’ve slowly faded out being in the business of making money and instead am in the business of creating happiness and health. That’s my new currency so I still feel a great level of success even without pursuing money. Now I’ve vowed to donate 90% of everything I make from media to nonprofits. 100% of my proceeds from my Discovery Channel TV show and my book are going to nonprofits.
What has been the response so far to your food waste fiasco?
It really is hard to believe how much perfectly good food is being thrown away and I’ve found that the best way to believe it is to see it. So I’ve been showing people and they are really blown away by The Food Waste Fiasco’s. Theirs shock and anger a lot of the time but also a huge amount of excitement because I always give all the food away for free. Considering that 1 in 7 Americans are food insecure, this can really make a lot of peoples days.
What are your future goals?
My goal is to keep doing what I’m doing, not turn into a hypocrite, and to continue to expand my consciousness. I want to live a long life of health and happiness and I want to continue down the path of being a genuine dude.
Where can viewers find your book and donate to help your cause?
In San Diego you can always get a signed copy at The Ocean Beach Green Store where 50% of the proceeds support their work as well as The 1:1 Movement, a local nonprofit. A bunch of book stores carry it and then you can always buy it online. www.RobGreenfield.tv/
If you had any advice for anyone wanting to become an entrepreneur or environmental activist, what would you say?
Start today. Drop the meaningless stuff that’s filling your time. Drop the meaningless spending that’s keeping you a slave to making money. Start aligning your actions with your words. And have fun with it!
Thank you Rob for speaking with us. Stay up to date with Rob’s adventures at the links above!