Life Design and Mission Statement

Robin Greenfield laying amidst neatly arranged food.

In 2011 I awoke to the realization that the way I was living was causing incredible destruction to Earth, to my fellow humans and to the plants and animals we share this home with. I learned that nearly every action I was taking each day was contributing to or was complicit in systems of oppression and exploitation. It became apparent to me that my actions were not in alignment with my beliefs and that I was not living in integrity. Within days of awakening, I set out on a path to live in harmony with Earth, humanity and our plant and animal relatives. I have been on this journey for over a decade and I am dedicated to walking this path for as long as I live.

In the pages ahead, I lay out my current life design and my intentions for the decades ahead. I start with a summary of my life mission and purpose and continue by expanding further upon my ethos, vision and philosophy that I have designed my life of service around. Throughout this essay, you will find many links which expound further and examples of how I am taking action.

Be the Change I Wish to See in the World

Upon discovering the many truths that I had been unaware of, I experienced often overwhelming feelings of anger, sadness, and disappointment. My life was not what I thought it was and neither was the society or nation that I was born into. However, at the same time I was learning the problems of the world, I was learning solutions and alternative ways of living. I felt inspired and was empowered by much of what I was seeing. I decided that a path of truth and integrity was the only path for me and that I would dedicate my life to seeking truth and to living in a state of integrity.

While I believe it to be common sense to not destroy the world – the only home we have – much of society does not have this same focus as I do. I have decided to take responsibility for myself because it is the only thing I have full control over and because I deeply believe in being the change that I wish to see in the world.

I have dedicated my life to aligning all of my actions with my beliefs. That started through making over 100 changes in my life to bring my life closer into alignment. From small changes to previously unbelievable changes, I have radically transformed my life. One strand at a time I have unraveled the web of consumerism and destruction that I was caught up in by making new life choices and taking actions that have woven a new web of truth and integrity. For the rest of my life, I will continue to break these strands of destruction and delusion and weave new strands of harmony and interdependence into my life.

Living in Harmony with Earth – At the heart of this way of being is the pursuit of living closely with Earth and in connection with the resources and gifts that Earth provides me. Living closely with Earth means observing, analyzing and self-examining all of the ways in which I meet my basic needs for food, water, energy, waste management and transportation. For me, these are five of the key pillars to sustainable living. In every way possible, I aim to be a part of local, sustainable systems rather than systems of extraction. At home and wherever I go, I plan to spend time outside deepening my connection and bond with Earth. By creating relationships with Earth and our plant and animal relatives, I have gained much independence from political and corporate control and agendas.

Living Simply – My belief is that by living simply I can live independently from the systems that are not in alignment with my ethics and values. This is central to living in truth and integrity. I have created a set of life vows for living simply, including a promise to earn less than the federal poverty financial threshold, to keep my net worth to a minimum, and to own few material possessions.
Living simply is a means of resistance to these systems of oppression and exploitation and a refusal to be complicit. Simple living is a stand against the great inequity of 1% of the human population owning more than 50% of the entire human population’s wealth. Living simply is part of my journey of living a humble life.

Living by Earth Code and Equal Rights for All – In a society disconnected from Earth, many acts of living simply and sustainably can rub against laws and codes. First and foremost, I have chosen to live by Earth Code before government laws – with the central belief that clean air, pure water, healthy food, safe housing and living in harmony are basic rights of humans, Earth and our plant and animal relatives.

My Life is My Message – My philosophy for change is action based. Primarily through taking personal action, I change myself and I impact my surroundings and the people I interact with. Through personal action, I show that another way is possible. My activism is often designed in extreme ways in order to reach the masses, to show another perspective on life and alternatives to our current status quo. In some people, I instill the thought and encourage people to use will-power to make small changes. In others, I am the catalyst for radical transformation. Through my provocative activism, I try to show the truth behind “normalcy” and serve as a counterbalance to our destructive ways.

Living in Service to Earth, Humanity and our Plant and Animal Relatives – I have dedicated my life to being a servant. To live in deep service, I have vowed to practice financial integrity and transparency – to not pay federal taxes for life, to donate 100% of my media income to grassroots nonprofits and to practice transparency with all of my finances. In particular, I strive to live in service to the communities most affected by systems of exploitation and oppression.

Liberation from Oppressive, Exploitative Systems and the Dominator Society – First and foremost, my aim is to liberate myself from systems oppression, exploitation and domination. Why? Because I also am the oppressor, the exploiter and the dominator. Liberation of self includes becoming whole and complete inside, practicing self-reliance and community-reliance, reprogramming myself with love, compassion, kindness, empathy, gratitude and celebration of life and overcoming all hatred. It includes liberation of my mind through diligent practice, overcoming biases and existing in a state of mindfulness and living in the present. My desire is to aid in the liberation of humanity and our plant and animal relatives from these dominator systems. At the heart of liberation for me is Black Liberation and Indigenous Sovereignty. This includes acknowledging the history of this nation, that I am on land stolen from Native People and understanding my own privilege and acting accordingly with my privilege.

Leadership – It is central to my purpose to be a leader for humanity; in other words, a public servant. I model my life and my leadership after leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Wangari Maathai. As a leader, I listen and I learn from leaders and the people I serve. I have designed my life to lead for the decades ahead. I have made vows and life commitments that will aid me and allow me to stand strongly against injustice in difficult times. In this essay, I lay out my life strategy for leadership and my commitment to contribute positively to humanity.

My Life is an Experiment with Truth and Integrity – At the heart of my life is the practice of non-attachment and non-delusionalism, embracing my part in the great community of humans, plants and animals on Earth. I am dedicated to incorporating community, diversity and biodiversity into all the solutions I bring to the world. I am dedicated to exploring and understanding the big pictures. My last great goal in life will be to simply return to Earth to complete the cycle of life.

Although some may look at my life and see it as a sacrifice, it is far from that. As a seeker of truth, I am in pursuit of happiness and peace within. It is my mission to live in gratitude and celebration of life. Just as for every other human, it is central to meet my basic human needs, including the need to be loved and love, to belong, to matter and to contribute.

Living Simply so that Others May Simply Live

1% of the human population has more financial wealth than 50% of the entire human population combined and this wealth inequality is only increasing. The resources exist for every human to have their basic needs met, yet millions are in extreme states of suffering due to lack of access to basic resources. I cannot rationalize having so much while others have so little. Rather than choosing luxury and convenience, I have chosen to live simply as an act of resistance. In 2015, I made life vows of simple living which include:
Earning below the federal poverty financial threshold
Keeping my net worth to a minimum
Owning minimal material possessions

In 2012, I got rid of my car and I have cycled across the United States three times. Since 2016, I have had no bank account or credit card.

In 2016, I simplified my life down to just 111 possessions, all of which fit into my backpack. In 2018, I built a tiny house from secondhand materials where I lived simply and sustainably. In 2020, I went even further and simplified my life to just 44 possessions as part of my deep experiment with simple living, breaking free from materialism and embracing my interdependence with humanity.

The possessions I do own are simple and modest. They allow me to meet my basic human needs and to live sustainably, in connection with Earth. As of 2023, I am wearing almost exclusively homemade, natural fiber, naturally-dyed clothes. My simple clothes are a stance against the modern day slave labor in our clothing industry and the exploitation of Earth through ‘fast fashion’.

By living simply, I have chosen to satisfy my needs and to find my meaning and purpose in a way that is fair. Yes, I want to have my basic needs met – but I refuse to do so by taking from others with less power. Through globalization and industrialization, the privileged population partakes in much convenience. But this convenience comes at a cost. Behind every act of consumer convenience there is a burden that is placed on humanity, Earth, plants and animals elsewhere. I live simply to take responsibility for my actions and to not outsource my burdens upon others. Through globalization and industrialization, it is often impossible to know the impact of our actions. By living simply, I have much fewer needs and it is easier to meet these needs more harmoniously. Most of my needs are provided freely by my relationship with the Earth and humanity. Most of my needs come from inside of myself, such as my needs for meaning, purpose and connection.

Living simply is not a sacrifice for me. It is not about decreasing my own quality of life. Rather it is a pursuit of the highest quality of life. I do not believe that financial wealth and material possessions will make me happy or content. I believe that relationships, connection, skills and internal liberation will create the good life for me.

Living in Harmony with Earth

Humanity’s relationship with Earth is out of balance. Currently we use about five times more resources than Earth can produce in a year. That is how much we are depleting the earth. We cannot keep doing this forever. We are already seeing the extinction of thousands of species of plants and animals and, at this rate, humanity may end up being one of the animals to go extinct. I have chosen to live in harmony with Earth to seek truth and integrity within and to live in a state of equality with the people, plants and animals I share this home with.

To live in harmony with Earth in a time of industrialization, globalization and corporate control requires a deep level of understanding the nature of Earth. I have dedicated much of my time and energy to learning how to meet my basic needs through relationships with Earth.

Rather than taking a bite out of the Earth with every bite of food that I take, I have chosen to learn to grow and forage for my own food. In 2019, I immersed myself in a year of growing and foraging 100% of my food. In 2022, I completed a month of solely foraging 100% of my food. I now know how to meet all of my food and medicine needs through relationships that do not dominate or exploit nature. I am moving toward living in a deeper state of reciprocity with the plants and animals I have relationships with.

My food is my medicine and through preventative healthcare and herbal medicine, I meet my needs from the Earth, independent of the pharmaceutical industry.

In my living situations, I harvest my water from the rain, springs and natural bodies of water. I return this water to the Earth as greywater to be naturally reintegrated into the ecosystem. I hold a deep level of gratitude and respect for water. I am water. Water is life.

I often live off the grid, independent of energy created by exploitation. I still use electricity, but I minimize it greatly through dozens of practices of living close to Earth.

Waste is a human-made concept. Prior to our modern way of living, there was no such thing as waste. Through many practices, I have drastically decreased the amount of trash I create. No matter where I am, I compost all food scraps and plants and refuse to ever place life into a garbage can. I even compost my own poop with great satisfaction!

I live without a car or driver’s license and, although I do still get into fossil fuel powered vehicles, most of my daily travel is by bicycle, walking, public transportation or ride share.

With gratitude and understanding of all resources, I aim to use them wisely. I choose to source resources locally rather than through corporate sources whenever possible. To do this, I have developed many skills, including problem solving, critical thinking, Earth-skills, Earth-based living, growing food, foraging, carpentry, creating items, repairing items, sewing, cooking, food preservation and much more.

Living by Earth Code

In a society built on exploitation of Earth, many of the acts of simple and sustainable living that I practice can be against laws and codes. First and foremost, I have chosen to live by Earth Code before government, city or corporate code. Just because there is a law requiring something, does not make it right. In fact, many of our laws protect injustice and encourage exploitation. These are the laws that I will joyfully disobey.
For me, Earth Code supersedes all laws put into place that do not respect the rights of Earth.

Equal Rights for All – Earth, Humans, Plants and Animals

It is central to my mission to live in a manner that honors equal rights for all – Earth, humans, plants and animals. I aim for my life to foster equality for all humans regardless of race, class, nationality, biological sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, physical or mental ability or any diversity within humanity. Equal rights does not stop with humanity though. I intend to live in a manner that upholds equal rights for the plants and animals that we share this home with.

At the center of these equal rights for all is my belief that clean air, pure water, healthy food and the ability to safely and comfortably exist are basic rights of humans, Earth and our plant and animal relatives.

Humanity is my family and all the plants and animals are my relatives. We are all global neighbors. We all share this one home, Earth.

My Life is My Message

My philosophy for change is action based. Not solely through marching for change, although marching is part of the strategy as well. Not solely through speaking of change, although speaking is important, too. Primarily through taking personal action, I change myself and I impact my surroundings and the people I interact with. Through personal action, I show that another way is possible. Simply by growing and foraging food to eat, harvesting my water, moving my body, living simply, communicating compassionately, developing universal love, overcoming the biases within me, sharing my views on life and living boldly outside of systems of oppression, people are exposed to a different way of living. As I live this message of living in harmony, I also teach others how they can adopt this way of life through my writing, speaking, classes, interviews with media and videos.

My entire personal life is a form of activism. I examine nearly everything that I do that interfaces with the public to ensure that my life in itself challenges the status quo and shows a different way forward. Mahatma Gandhi has been one of my guiding influences. I follow his lead in living my life as my message as my primary form of activism. I also call this form of activism leading by example and living it out loud.

The Strategy of My Activism and Extreme Life

With every activism campaign that I embark on, I am taking on an experiment with truth. My activism is often an opportunity to gain a better understanding of an issue I am passionate about, to live out and practice my beliefs deeply and to grow as the human I want to be. This is all part of my formula for deepening my integrity.

At the same time, the purpose of my activism is to share truth with humanity – to bring attention to important issues of our time.

My activism is often designed in an extreme way that involves dramatic gestures. There is strategy behind this. My purpose is to reach the masses and to reach many of the people who have not had the opportunity or taken the opportunity to understand these issues that are important to me. My strategy is to use my understanding of how our modern mainstream media and social media networks function in order to break through the walls that have been put up. Our media disproportionately focuses on the negative and evil sides of humanity, selling consumer goods, mind-numbing mundane content and misinformation. My activism is designed to break through this and show another perspective on life, another way of being and alternatives to our current status quo.

My mission is to entertain, educate and inspire. Entertain is first, not because it is the most important to me, but because it is how I believe I can affect the most change. It is how I believe I can reach the people who are yearning for change but do not know that it is possible. I know that millions of people have a feeling deep inside of them that the way we are living just isn’t right. My job as an activist is to reach those people in a way that is appealing and compelling. Once I have their attention, I can educate them. And once I have attracted a little of their mind and their heart, I can inspire change within them.

In our often polarized way of thinking and our black and white media reporting, my job is to craft a message that can initiate deep self-reflection and critical thought in those who see my message. I’ll never know the full impacts of my activism, because my job is to simply light little fires of change inside of people or fan the fires that already exist. My focus is not to dwell on the problem. My activism is designed to educate only on the problem as much as needed to move forward into the solution.

In some people, I trigger their thought and willpower to make small changes. In others, I am the catalyst for radical transformation. Just as I radically transformed my life, my goal is to be the catalyst for others to radically transform their own lives to break free from the systems of exploitation and oppression and pursue truth, justice and equity for all.

Although I am the first to embrace that my actions are extreme, I am also the first to say that my actions are only extreme when compared to a society that is out of balance.

The US has just 5% of the world’s population but consumes 25% of the world’s resources. This by definition is not normal. This by definition is extreme. My job is to serve as a counterbalance to this. By taking the narrative to the other end of the spectrum, I intend to bring attention to truth in our society. My dramatic gestures highlight what is right in front of us and lift the veil of normalcy. Once the veil is lifted, I hope for people to see that this “normalcy” is actually a great delusion. The “American Dream” is the World’s Nightmare. The “American Dream” is depleting the finite resources of Earth for unneeded consumer goods while creating incredible suffering and driving us to potential extinction. My methods are designed to shock people out of this dream of normalcy and into a state of truth and reality.

In Service to Earth, Humanity and our Plant and Animal Relatives

I have chosen to be a servant. This may sound unusual to many people who read this because few people call themselves a servant. However, in our political system, every politician and representative makes commitments as a public servant. I am a servant who has chosen to serve not through an election and not officially, but through personal commitment. I have dedicated my life to living in service to Earth, humanity and our plant and animal relatives.

First, to live in service is to live in harmony and take personal responsibility for our actions. As a servant, I have taken numerous vows to help keep me on the path of living in truth and integrity and help me build immunity to the temptations that may take me off the path. These vows also free me from many of the distractions and worries of everyday life so I can deeply dedicate myself to being of service. And they keep me accountable to the people that I serve.

I have vowed to practice deep financial integrity and transparency

To earn below the federal poverty threshold each year
To not pay federal taxes for life
Donate 100% of my media income to grassroots causes
Practice transparency with all of my finances

Through these vows I aim to be an independent voice that cannot be bought or corrupted. My integrity and living in truth is worth far more to me than any money or luxury. In a society where I see our leaders purchased by corporations, I am safeguarding myself from this ever happening to me.

Although my primary service to humanity is to live by example, I also provide resources that aid people to reconnect with Earth, humanity and our plant and animal relatives. I have tried to do this by existing solely as a human, but have found that the support of a 501c3 nonprofit allows me to be of best service. I am the co-founder of Regeneration, Equity and Justice, which serves as a tool in my mission.

With Regeneration, Equity and Justice (and prior through Happy, Healthy and Free) we have:
• Planted over 2,000 Community Fruit Trees and created an extensive template to aid others in successfully planting Community Fruit Trees in their communities.
Provided seed packs to over 40,000 people to aid them in growing their own food along with in-depth educational content.
• Built gardens for 25+ people through our Gardens for the People program.
• Run two Community Compost Programs and created a template with extensive resources to start Community Compost Programs in many communities.
Produced videos featuring hundreds of activists, organizations, initiatives and everyday people in service to Earth, humanity and our plant and animal relatives. Our videos serve as accelerators to the people featured, bringing in funds, volunteers and media.
Hosted multiple teams of interns, volunteers and teammates in immersive programs in service to the community where they developed skills for sustainable living, and reconnected with Earth.
• Developed extensive educational content including videos and guides to serve the public.
• Created the Dumpster Divers Defense Fund to embolden food waste activists.
• Developed the Find a Forager Database and foraging resource guide to help others begin their reconnection to Earth through our plant relatives.
• Provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in resources, support and finances to grassroots initiatives, activists and communities.

In Service to the Communities Most Affected

Through all of our programs, we work diligently to share our resources with the people and communities who disproportionately receive the fewest resources from our society and government. Our greatest focus is to provide our resources to Black and Indigenous communities and especially initiatives led by Black and Indigenous women and women of color.

My colleagues and I have developed all of these programs at a grassroots level and have improved them through our hundreds of hours of experience with both successes and failures.

Learn more about Regeneration, Equity and Justice here.

Always I strive to serve from a place of love, not from a place of hate. I stand for what I believe in, not against what I don’t. I provide solutions that are tiered for people across different experiences and abilities, creating accessibility. Through showcasing many others from many different walks of life who are part of the solution, I strive to create representation and inclusion. I aim for people to see themselves in this work so that they can embrace this journey as well. My website has hundreds of hours’ worth of video and educational reading material that serves as inspiration for anyone on this journey. Besides hundreds of original articles and videos, I direct people to hundreds of resources that I respect and recommend.

My service to Earth, humanity and our plants and animals is diverse and I expect it always will be. My activism has included:
• Three bicycle rides across the country for sustainability – Off the Grid Across the USA (2013) Goodfluence Tour (2014) and Green Riders (2017). Green Riders was a community cross-country ride where 30 people came together to do good deeds as we traveled across the country.
• Embarking on a year-long project of growing and foraging 100% of my food to show that it is possible to break free from the global, industrial food system (2019). In 2022, I did one month of solely foraging 100% of my food (2022).
• Spending a month living like the average person and wearing all the trash I created to create a shocking visual of how much our trash adds up (2016 in NYC and 2022 in LA).
• Traveling to a far off country, with no money and just the clothes on my back to show that people are good. (2014). In 2016, I did this again as a six-episode program for Discovery Channel that played worldwide for millions of people.
Diving into over 2,000 grocery store dumpsters across the US and hosting a Food Waste Fiasco in over a dozen cities where I displayed what I recovered from the dumpster to show the truth behind our food system, all while doing hundreds of media interviews. Numerous times I have lived solely or primarily off this food to demonstrate that it is perfectly good food that is being wasted.
Living off the grid in a tiny house in San Diego, California (2015) and building my own tiny house from 99% secondhand materials in Orlando, Florida (2018).
• In 2023, I toured the state of Florida where I set up a compost toilet in most of the major cities, taking a seat against consumerism while showing people how they could grow their own toilet paper and break free from consumerism in general.

Wherever my activism is focused on a particular location, I aim to showcase local people who are part of local solutions and to empower people within the community to be a part of these solutions. I serve as a wakeup call and provide immediate action that can be taken generally on an individual level and systemic level.

Beyond simply being the change I wish to see, I spread my message in service in many forms, including media interviews, public speaking, video production and writing.

I have done over 1,000 media interviews which have been syndicated and reproduced many thousands of times. I have given over 150 talks in 13 countries, including three TEDx talks. I have produced hundreds of videos. I have written hundred of articles and four books, including two children’s books – Zero Waste Kids and Be the Change. 100% of my financial proceeds from the books are donated to grassroots nonprofits and the same goes for all TV and media appearances.

Liberation from Oppressive, Exploitative Systems and the Dominator Society

With every action that I take, I aim to live in truth, integrity and harmony. If humanity was already living in these states, my path would be an easier one. However, the opposite is true for most of the government, corporations and societal structures that are major forces in our lives. Our systems are built upon oppression, exploitation and domination. As this is the case, it is central to my mission to liberate myself from these systems. Why liberate myself? Because I also am the oppressor, the exploiter and the dominator. I must overcome these ways of being that I was born into and guided into by society. Additionally, there is only one thing on this Earth I can fully control and that is myself – my thoughts, my words and my actions. I am dedicating my life to liberation for individual people, for humanity as a whole and for our plant and animal relatives. To exist in the highest integrity, I believe I must start with myself, and expand the liberation outward.

Self-sufficiency, community sufficiency and sovereignty are central to my means of liberation.

Liberation of Self

Suffering is part of existing as a human. I suffer. You suffer. We all suffer. Through many of my practices, I aim to end my own unnecessary suffering. My objective is to become complete and whole inside.

The last thing that exploitative, oppressive corporations and governments want are humans who believe they are complete. Why? Because once we realize we are complete, we realize we no longer need them. We have everything we need within ourselves. The products they sell are no longer relevant to us. The fear and hatred that they spread no longer becomes a part of us. We know who we truly are and we can stand for what we believe in. This is the last thing that a dominator force wants.

At the center of my mission to liberate myself is my practice of self-reliance. Through simple and sustainable living and connections with Earth, I have liberated myself from most of what the systems want me to be dependent on them for. Developing the knowledge and skills to attain this liberation takes discipline. It takes persistent, diligent and continuous practice. It takes real patience. These are the attributes of liberation and as they are built and continuously applied, liberation becomes more manageable and eventually becomes the new norm.

When I speak of self-reliance, I speak of taking responsibility for my own actions but that doesn’t mean I am living independently. Self-reliance comes only through relationships. Relationships with Earth, with humanity and with our plant and animal relatives. For me, self-reliance and community reliance are intertwined and although I do much alone, the two are overall inseparable. Liberation of self comes hand in hand with the liberation from the delusion of independence. We live in a time of great separation from ourselves and one another and I practice liberation through connection with my community and myself.

At the heart of my tools for personal liberation is the practice of Compassionate Communication. Through this practice, I am deprogramming the dominator within me and reprogramming myself with love, compassion, kindness, empathy, gratitude and celebration of life. I am overcoming the tendency to judge, blame and criticize. I am overcoming the concept of right and wrong and good or bad. I am replacing competition with working in collaboration with people in relationships of mutuality. I am overcoming all hatred and anger within. All of this inner work is a means of personal liberation with the central strategy that what I create inside of me is what I will spread out into the world.

My intention is to speak compassionately with all humans and creatures. I am dedicated to fostering healthier relationships and healthier communication. My aim is to exist in a state of Universal Love and Universal Compassion. Yes, I actually believe that this is possible and although I have much work to do to attain this universally, I am already closer to a Universal Love than a Universal Hate. I am already closer to a Universal Compassion than a Universal Domination. Through living in a state of gratitude, I strive to see the best in people and the best in any situation. This is a means of finding inner contentment, peace and joy. Gratitude is my medicine for the ills of society. When I am grateful, I have everything I need and every reason to celebrate life.

Through the practice of Vipassana,  during ten days of silent meditation, I am achieving great liberation and I intend for this practice to remain a central pillar of my life. The word Vipassana means seeing things as they really are. It is the process of self- purification by self-observation. Through this practice, a goal is to experience the universal truths of impermanence, suffering and egolessness.
My intention is to overcome all the anxiety, frustration and irritation that comes from inside myself so that I can exist and present myself to humanity in a calm and balanced way. This practice brings me into a state of deep focus and clarity that allows me to be of highest service.

My aim is to liberate myself from my ego – or liberate myself from myself. The ego is the source for much of my suffering and pain and for the suffering and pain I impart to others. It is central to my life to overcome the biases within me and to do this work both internally and publicly. By transparently addressing my own prejudices and biases and publicly documenting my work to overcome them, I strive to help others in self-reflection and introspection that will result in questioning their own prejudices and overcoming them.

Through dedicated practices of self-liberation and delayed gratification, which includes forgoing convenience and putting myself through discomfort, I am building up my moral power. I believe my deepest gratification will come in instances when I am able to stand strong against injustice in the most difficult of times.

Existing in a state of mindfulness and living in the present are radical acts of personal healing as well as acts of resistance to the consumer culture and dominator forces. Although I choose personal liberation for my own betterment, I choose it as a means to serve the people. I believe that personal liberation is an inherent and central part of the best strategy of change that I have access to.

Liberation of Humanity

At the center of my mission is the liberation of all of humanity. My belief is that we all suffer under the current systems of exploitation and oppression. The oppressed and exploited suffer the most, but the oppressor suffers, too. As much as this culture would like us to believe otherwise, nobody truly benefits from systems that are designed to exploit and oppress others.

I am of the belief that nobody can be free until we are all free. Thus, my work is designed to be of service to all people – the oppressed and the oppressor, the exploited and the exploiter, the dominated and the dominator. My aim is to help each of us see that we are complete and whole beings. I pledge to serve as an inspiration and guiding force to find liberation within. I pledge to help empower others for change. I am dedicated to the liberation of humanity.

Liberation for our Plant and Animal Relatives and Humanity

I truly believe that until humanity is liberated, we will not see the liberation of our plant and animal relatives. They will suffer as long as we suffer. They will remain exploited as long as we are exploited. They will be dominated as long as we are dominating ourselves. Thousands of species will continue to go extinct as we continue to push ourselves closer to extinction.

The humans who suffer the most from these systems of exploitation and oppression struggle to live in harmony with our plant and animal relatives, even if they want to. When humans are struggling to meet their own basic needs, the basic needs of our plant and animal relatives are neglected. Thus, the liberation of humanity and the liberation of our plant and animal relatives are inseparable. Thus this liberation of all beings must be tackled in unison.

My journey of personal liberation extends equally to the liberation of all of my relatives that I share this home with.

By eating primarily food that I grow, forage or source from local farmers, gardeners and foragers, I work for liberation. This is liberation from Big Ag, one of the main dominator forces on the planet. Our current system of farming depends on the mass exploitation of the farmers, the plants and animals grown and the ecosystem in which it is grown. Growing and foraging my own food is a means of existing harmoniously with the plants and animals and ending complacency toward the exploitation of humans. I am resisting the factory farming of animals and the mono-cropping of our land, and supporting the alternatives. Sourcing my food from local, sustainable farmers, gardeners and foragers helps to create dignified livings for them that are more harmonious with Earth.

By living simply and sustainably, I am for liberation. Through every action I take, I can choose exploitation and oppression or I can choose to do no harm and to contribute to liberation. By overcoming materialism and consumerism, I strive to contribute to liberation for all. By living localized and outside of globalization and industrialization, I aim for liberation for all. By showing that the privileged can be content with less, I strive to create an equitable distribution of resources so that humanity can be liberated because they have access to getting all their basic needs met.

By earning below the federal poverty threshold and making a lifetime commitment to not paying taxes, I aim for liberation. I am reducing my complacency in war, the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex, the school-to-prison pipeline and police brutality. By instead creating my own system of taxation by donating 100% of my media earnings to grassroots nonprofits, I direct my taxes to the people who are least provided for by the mainstream tax establishment. I direct my funds to the people who are resisting these systems of oppression and providing solutions for their own people. I am taking my money out of suffering and putting it into equity and justice for people, plants and animals. The same goes for operating with cash, locally as much as possible and removing my money from the big banks and credit card companies that invest in exploitative infrastructure projects and fossil fuels.

By overcoming my own sexist biases and becoming whole as a man, I aim for liberation. Much of society exists under a system of patriarchy, with male domination over women. As I dismantle the patriarchy within myself, I show other men that they do not need to dominate women in order to be complete. As I direct my resources into women’s empowerment, especially Black and Indigenous women’s empowerment, I contribute to the uplifting of our sisters on Earth. No human will be free until women are free.

By practicing preventative health care and natural medicine, I aim for liberation. This is liberation from the pharmaceutical industry, one of the most exploitative and corrupt industries on Earth. They profit billions of dollars at the expense of our own health and happiness. Taking care of my body and creating relationships with the plants that are medicine and the many medicines freely available to me is taking a stand for the health of humanity and our plant and animal relatives.

Black Liberation

The nation that I have lived in my whole life and greatly benefited from was founded on the slavery of millions of people stolen from Africa. This nation was built generation upon generation through the exploitation of Black and Brown US Americans and Black and Brown communities around the world. This nation exists today under institutionalized and systemic racism and segregation (resources to educate on this here). Although certain forms of exploitation and oppression have been overcome, they have been replaced by The New Jim Crow era.

To not acknowledge this would be to live in delusion.
To not understand this would render it impossible to achieve liberation for humanity.
To not address this out loud, consistently and publicly would be a great disservice to humanity.
To not take this into account in my service would be the antithesis of my mission.

We will not be free, until all of us are free, and in the nation that I live in, the least free is the Black community. It is my responsibility to first, overcome my own racial biases. And second, to step outside of these racist systems and support systems that uplift and liberate Black humanity through practices of equity, justice and reparations.

Indigenous Sovereignty

This nation was founded on the genocide of millions of Indigenous people who were here before the European settlers arrived on this land we now commonly call the United States of America. Turtle Island was home to over 500 distinct cultures of Indigenous people living with a close connection to Earth.
It was central to the colonizer’s mission to destroy these cultures and destroy their connection to Earth. It was central to the colonizer’s mission to control the land and resources that the Native Americans lived upon. It was central to their religion to take what they believed to be rightfully theirs.

To many Americans alive today, this is the past. But this is not the past. The past formed the present and it has been brought into today. Although the oppression and exploitation has changed in shape, Native Americans are still the most exploited and oppressed humans on this continent. They are the least provided for by this nation and their communities suffer under institutionalized and systemic racism and segregation.

I exist on land that was stolen from the Native people.
To not acknowledge this would be to live in delusion.
To not understand this would render it impossible to achieve liberation as a humanity.
To not address this out loud, consistently and publicly would be a great disservice to humanity.
To not take this into account in my service would be the antithesis of my mission.

I am dedicated to contributing to Indigenous sovereignty. Read more here.

Acknowledging my Privilege

I have an incredible amount of privilege. Among 13 different groups of dominant social groups versus oppressed social groups, I am part of three of the dominant groups and only three of the oppressed groups.

Generally dominant groups have attained their liberation at the expense of the oppressed groups. Privileged groups have attained their basic needs and their modern conveniences and luxuries through the exploitation of the humans who they have stolen and manipulated.

I refuse to attain my freedom by depriving others of theirs. Yes, I desire to have my basic needs met, but I will not meet my basic needs by stripping away the basic needs of others. Thus it is central to my mission to understand my privileges and how it affects my reality and my access to resources.

Further, I am committed to using my privilege to the best of my ability to contribute to the liberation of others. It is central to my mission to speak to my peers and society with privilege and encourage and aid them in distributing their wealth and resources to decrease inequality and contribute to an equitable society. And this must be done with great self-reflection and a global understanding. Much of the privileged class acts in service but either from a place of ego or from a place of not understanding the issue at hand. Often aid is provided that actually harms the people who are supposedly being supported. I refuse to misuse my privilege and my resources in this manner. Often quality of life is increased for a group of people by providing resources, but those resources were actually taken from others through systems of exploitation. I refuse to improve quality of life for those that I see, while decreasing quality of life for those that I am disconnected from.

Read more on my privilege here.

Leadership

It is central to my purpose to be a leader for humanity. Today many of our leaders seek power and control. Many of our leaders exploit the people they lead. Many of our leaders lead from a place of ego and self-interest. These are not the leaders who teach me who I want to be. They teach me who I don’t want to be. The leaders that I model and base my life on are servants to humanity and generally humble. They stand against systems of oppression and exploitation in their very being. They lead by example and model the humanity that they want to create. They have generally proven themselves through decades of leadership. They are truth seekers who are focused on living in a deep state of integrity.

I model my life and my leadership on leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Thich Nhat Hanh, The Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Vandana Shiva, Angela Davis, Wangari Maathai, Mark Boyle, Leah Penniman and Robin Wall Kimmerer, among others.

I am learning to be a leader by following the example of others who have lit the path before me. I often don’t know the best way forward, but I can follow the examples of those who have made great contributions to humanity. The essence of leadership to me is being a humble public servant. And to be of best service,  most importantly, I learn from the people to whom I wish to be of service.

Much of my life is spent listening. Listening to people who have lived life differently. Listening to people who want the same outcome for humanity as I do. Listening to people who see flaws in my strategies. Most importantly, listening to the people who have been most effected by the systems I am working to lead us away from. There has been nothing more powerful for me than listening to Black and Indigenous women and learning about life through what they have to share with me.

It is at the center of my leadership and my core to resist the temptation to fall for polarity, to define an issue as black or white. Most any issue is not black or white. Rather it is a shade of gray. People like answers that are simple and absolute because then they don’t have to think too critically or deeply to understand the issue. My goal is to see multiple sides to every issue and to find balance within the intricacies. My goal is to understand the issues. My goal is to be able to speak eloquently and clearly on the complexity and intricacy of the issues of our time. To speak in a way that creates critical thought and self-reflection rather than providing direct answers. That is why I rarely give short answers. That is why I do not weigh in on every current affair. That is why you’ll rarely see me place a label on a human, because we are all complex.

As a leader, it is central to my role in society to uplift other leaders both through my own being and through providing my platform and my resources to aid in the growth of their leadership. Although at times it is my role to lead the way forward, it is also my role to share credit where it is due with all the humans who have brought us to where we are today.

There are many types of leadership out there. I have chosen the form of leadership that feels in most alignment for me. As I said, my great inspirations are people like Mahatma Gandhi, Thich Nhat Hanh and Wangari Maathai who have dedicated their entire lives to their cause. That is what I’m striving to become, a great leader, by practicing what will help me become one with incredible diligence and persistence. Some of this I am embodying today with integrity and some of it I am growing into. I only began this mission of truth and integrity in my mid-twenties, a little more than a decade ago. I am dedicated to this path for as long as I live and I hope to embody everything I have shared here with more depth in each decade that I live.

From the very beginning of my awakening, I knew this was my path and I took quick actions to get started.

At the age of 25, I had a vasectomy, choosing to dedicate my life ahead to the betterment of humanity rather than to one or a few children. I have chosen not to have a small family, but instead to embrace humanity as my family. I committed to earning less than the federal poverty threshold for life and to maintaining a very small net worth. This was all part of the big picture for my future.

I decided that I would be a leader who has nothing that can be taken away. I have nothing to lose. I have little that can be used to control me. There is no family that can be held as leverage. There is no money or material possessions to threaten to take from me. There is no life savings or retirement fund at risk. Through practice of impermanence and non-attachment, I have little fear over even my own life being ended. I am not concerned about living a long life. I have very little to guard or protect.

Thus I can take large risks in my activism and my leadership. I can stand strongly against injustice with less fear. I can focus on the present moment for humanity because I believe that the present is what matters most. Yes, I am in this for the long-run and my strategy is based on the long run. These systems of destruction have been created over millennia, so the long run must be kept in mind in the strategy to liberate ourselves from them. But I cannot control or predict the future. I believe the most effective thing I can do is act in the present moment. Because I believe that life is precious. I believe that life matters. I am acting on the urgency of our current state of existence and that is where I am pouring all of my resources and energy. If we don’t create substantial change now, there will be no future for humanity at all.

My Life is an Experiment with Truth and Integrity

Although I strive to be a great leader for humanity, my life will first and foremost always remain an experiment with truth and integrity. I cannot predict the future  and I do not know if my life will amount to what I hope for it to be. But I simply believe that the most wholistic approach that I can take to living a meaningful life while contributing to the welfare of Earth, humanity and our plant and animal relatives, is to embrace my life as an experiment in truth and integrity.

I truly believe that a small group of people can together create meaningful change in society and improve quality of life for many. I believe that I have already seen that in my lifetime and I am dedicated to seeing a lot more of this in the decades ahead.

Non-attachment and non-delusionalism

Yet fundamentally, I aim to be guided by non-attachment and non-delusionalism.
I am only one little human among eight billion. We who are alive today are only a few generations of the thousands that have formed us. We are only one species among millions. And that is just our existence on what Carl Sagan called The Pale Blue Dot. I embrace that I am temporary. I am here for the blink of an eye. I am not even sure that I have free will or that I know what life is.

At the core of my being is a desire to look deeper and to see the big picture. To explore the complexity and intricacy of life. It was not that long ago, within a few hundred years, that much of humanity saw this Earth as having infinite resources. It appeared inexhaustible. To simply sail across the ocean to other lands was a deadly undertaking. Today any human being with a piece of plastic we call a credit card and a little book we call a passport can fly around the entire world in under 48 hours while watching TV, eating sumptuous food and taking almost no risk. It turns out the world is not infinite. In fact, it’s actually quite small.

In the past, I could understand arriving in a new land and thinking of the people there as different. But today we see that we are all pretty much the same. Sure there are small differences between us, but in the big picture we are far more similar than we are different. Because of this, I have chosen to embrace this planet as the home for all of humanity. We are all global neighbors and I believe that if we are ever to see our way into harmony it must come through a global collaboration.

Community, Diversity and Biodiversity as Solutions

That is why at my core I have chosen to embrace community as a solution. I believe that community lies at the heart of all true solutions for humanity. And that includes our community of plant and animal relatives. I also believe that diversity is at the heart of the solution to all of our societal problems. Embracing and celebrating diversity is one of the key components to our liberation as a species. Every ecosystem and bio-region on Earth is unique and has formed unique communities and cultures of humanity based on the food, water, plants, animals and climate that the humans had access to and shared their space with. It is only through embracing these localized forms of community and culture that I believe we have the best chance to return to a state of harmony with Earth and see the continuation of humanity for the long term.

With this embrace of diversity comes the embrace of biodiversity. We are who we are because of the millions of species of plants, animals, fungi and bacteria that we share this home with. In fact, each of us as individuals are composed of more bacteria cells than we are human cells and there are thousands of species of bacteria that live on us and help us to survive. That is biodiversity, very close to home! The entire world functions this way, based on the trillions upon trillions of daily interactions between millions of species. This is why I believe in embracing biodiversity, because I believe in living in truth. That is why I embrace the importance of the plants and animals we share this home with and see them as equally important as humanity. As a whole, they are far more important than humanity. We are just one species among millions.

To Return to Earth – Perhaps My Greatest Goal

Every moment, countless lives are ending and beginning. There is nothing inherently wrong with all these deaths. In fact, death is what allows for the creation of new life – one life no more important than another.

With this, perhaps my final greatest purpose in life will be to return to Earth. To fully come to terms with my own impermanence may be one of the most universal truths that I could pursue. To accept my temporary state may be the highest integrity that I could exhibit. Death is certainly part of living in this experiment with truth. To grasp a hold on my life would not be living in truth. Instead it would be contributing to what is playing out in the Western world. As we cling to the end days of our own lives, we are exhausting our resources as humanity. It’s reported that a vastly disproportionate amount of health care resources go into the last two years of human life. Our Western health care system is one of the most extractive systems that modern humanity has created. This clinging to our final days of life contributes to our risks of extinction. We are doing it because we value life. We say that we are doing it because life is precious. But what if we end all life because of this? If that happens, I’d say we were not living in alignment with the values we profess to adhere to.

That is why I look forward to my death. I truly do. I am elated to live as part of the natural life cycle and there is nothing that is more natural than completing the cycle of life and returning to the earth. There is nothing that is more transcendent of individualism than to embrace my decomposition into soil and elements. So, as much as I am living for the present and living in service, I am also living ready for death.

If there’s one thing I am most attached to, it is dying in integrity. That is why I am striving to bring my life into integrity now, so that it will end with integrity whenever the time comes. I am wearing my natural fiber, naturally-dyed clothing so that hopefully when the time is right, I can return to the earth and complete my life cycle, without littering Earth.