Jonathan Zaidman might be the first changemaker to share responses with us ahead of Upswell whose work has a primarily ecological focus. As Director of Replication for The Ecology Center, Jonathan gets to work on one of California’s last remaining protected farms in San Juan Capistrano. Having a base in Southern California is unique in that it affords Jonathan and his colleagues the potential to educate millions of people in nearby areas with simple solutions for a thriving planet. Check out our Q&A with Jonathan before you catch up with him next week in LA!
Q: Who are you, what drives you, what are you working on, and why are you inspired to make the world a better place?
JZ: I do the work that I do in order to honor and recognize the unique privilege I have to be able to focus on helping others. At The Ecology Center, we inspire simple solutions for thriving on planet Earth, which can mean a hands-on seed ball activity with toddlers or running the first certified organic school farm in the country which currently feeds 5,400 elementary students at 9 schools.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about the physical space you work in?
JZ: We work on one of the last remaining protected farms, an ecological oasis, in Southern CA. I am most inspired by the fact that within 100 miles there are 10 million people whom we can reach with our programming and message.
Q: What’s the last issue you personally advocated for and why?
JZ: We advocate for change with our existence and with everything we do but one personal issue I find myself talking about almost daily is the harm of single-use plastic straws. There is an alternative to single-use plastic straws for everyone, be it reusable glass or metal or compostable paper, bamboo, or actual straw. I sure hope that there aren’t any at Upswell!
Q: Upswell is about breaking the mold. What’s one thing you’d like to see in the conversation that doesn’t get enough national attention?
JZ: There are two major issues (they might be the biggest, as it comes to global health) that are polarizing and often avoided within the national conversation: Animal agriculture as the single greatest driver for climate change, and overpopulation.