I’m not running for office. But I am your public servant.

Robin Greenfield smiling inside his cabin, with
A Fresh PerspectiveActivismForget Money / Demonetize LifeIntentional LivingLiving in Service and VolunteeringPersonalRobin’s Financials and CommitmentsSimple Living

I am not running for office. I don’t work for the government. But I do consider myself a public servant. I have designed my life to be of service to the people of my nation and the people of the world. As an American citizen, I am dedicated to utilizing my life to improve the lives of those around me. I’ve watched our “public servants” over the last couple of decades, and I’ve learned a lot. From some, I have learned who I want to be. From others, I have learned who not to be.

I have put countless hours of thought into how I can mold myself to be of best service to my country and the world. And I have put far more hours into tangible action, becoming the human I want to be, and leading by a positive example to be of genuine service.

I feel today, just before midterm elections 2018, is a timely moment to share my personal commitments as a public servant to my nation and the world.

When I look at our current political system, I see many deeply rooted flaws. We call our system a democracy, but basic research shows that we do not have a true democracy. Many of the roots of our flawed democracy relate to money. Politicians are bought by corporations and lobbyists. Elections are swayed by the desires of private interests. And when those candidates who ran with the financial support of corporations are elected, these new politicians have favors to pay back. They say money makes the world go around. I don’t believe this. I’m certain the world would keep going around without the existence of money. But in our current society, it is undoubtedly the center of a vast portion of our lives. Because of this, I have made deep commitments as to how money is a part of my life.

Since 2015, I have committed to earning no more than the federal poverty guideline annually. In 2018, that is approximately $12,000 for an individual. In 2018, I have earned $8,000. In 2017, I earned $5,000. By drastically limiting the amount of money that I can earn, I drastically limit the ability for anyone or any company to purchase my decision making, my audience, my influence, or to sway my personal morals and ethics. I have freed myself to make decisions based on what serves others rather than what serves my own financial status. Read more on this commitment here.

I commit to maintaining a very small net worth. My financial net worth will remain below my yearly maximum earnings mentioned above. Currently this is less than about $12,000. The net worth of my physical possessions will not exceed that same guideline. At the time of writing, my net worth is around $6,000. I have about $1,200 cash and my possessions are financially valued at less than $5,000. I have no investment accounts or bank account. My opinions can’t be swayed by the temptation of expensive items such as cars or property. I update my net worth here.

I have committed for life to donating 100% of my media earnings to environmental nonprofits. Potential media earnings are the primary way that money enters my life. I have no desire to become financially wealthy through any level of fame or celebrity that I gain. Since first making my vows in April of 2015, donations of $43,000 have been made to nonprofits that are working for the betterment of our society. This includes the two TV shows I’ve done and my first book. $43,000 is not an incredible amount of money, but I have focused my life around not generating money, so given that, it is a meaningful amount to me. I direct these funds into grassroots nonprofits who use the money wisely and can make meaningful differences in their communities with small amounts of money. I document my donations here.

I commit to adhering to a set of ethics when I do work with companies. I will not accept money from companies in exchange for something that does not conform to my standards of integrity. I don’t have exact guidelines for this commitment, as each potential collaboration holds different circumstances. However, I practice complete transparency, so that I can’t hide anything. For example, I was offered a substantial sum of money to do a campaign with Ford, a car company. I believed I could have had utilized those funds very effectively through having it donated to grassroots organizations. However, I decided not to work with Ford as they are not in alignment with my mission and I could not promote them in good conscience. I turn down a large majority of financial opportunities because they must be aligned for me to accept them, and a majority are not. The opportunities I do take with companies will be taken only if it can be done in a way that serves the greater interest of people and does not compromise my ethics. Here I disclose my relationship with all companies I work with.

My independent and honest voice is worth more than money can buy.

I commit to practicing financial transparency. There will be no hiding of what I do with my money. You’ll know where it comes from and who I support. I am always open to questions about my involvement with money and will answer those questions.

Be designing a life that is largely removed from the monetary system, I have freed myself to live in the service of others. I have simplified my life to my basic needs, and I know how to meet those needs, which frees up my time to be in the service of others. I remain an independent voice with integrity at the center of all of my words and interactions. I prevent myself from being swayed in ways that I know are not in high integrity. The trickle down of living a non-monetized way of life is not fully explainable in a short post, but I share this often in my writing and speaking. The wholistic impacts of truthful, dignified, and integral living are countless and not even always known or understood.

My intention is to adhere to these commitments for my entire life. However, too often I see people make lifetime commitments and all too often I see these “lifetime” commitments last for only a fraction of their life. Because of that, I am making my vows for four-year periods. I chose four years – the length of a presidential term in the United States – because I wanted to feel how long that is, so I can understand how many of these politicians break their promises in that period of time.

These vows are a renewal of my original vows from April 8th, 2015 that were committed to until April 8th, 2019. These updated vows are in effect from today (November 3rd, 2018) until November 3rd, 2020, at which time my vows will fall into four-year time periods, beginning on election days. I will renew my vows, with changes if needed, every four years. My most updated vows can be viewed here.

At this point, I am not running for any governmental positions. I feel I am best in service as an independent person doing what I’m doing. It is possible that I will hold a government position in the future.

If I do, I would not accept a salary and 100% of the funds would be used to serve the people I was elected to serve.

If I do, I would not accept any money from businesses that could sway my decision. I would not accept campaign contributions from corporations or Super PACs. If running for a smaller office, I would even like to run with no fundraising being used on my election, and instead all funds raised being used to improve the community while I am running.

If I do, I will do it not as a job, but as a passion and for the sake of the people I am elected to serve. It will not be a career. Benefit packages will play no important roll. It will truly be a matter of service to the people.

These personal commitments I have made guarantee that I will never be part of the 1% or represent the 1%. I will always be part of the 99% and represent the 99%.

This writing is largely focused on money because I see money as one of the central ways in which our current government is so corrupted. Over the last seven years, I have worked diligently to live in high integrity with little focus on money.

As my voice grows, I want to grow as a leader who has a positive influence on our representatives. At this point, I don’t feel that I need to be in the system in order to positively influence the system. I am confident that I can have this influence by showing our public servants what is possible simply as a fellow human being.

Currently, I will continue my public service through programs that I’ve created to benefit my fellow humanity. This year, I started Gardens for Single Moms and have built gardens for five single-parent families to help them grow their own healthful food. I have helped to plant hundreds of Community Fruit Trees around the nation. I have helped thousands of people grow their own healthful food through the Free Seed Project.

I will continue my public speaking, most of which I do without requirement of financial compensation, or is used as an avenue to raise money for environmental projects.
I will continue to bring a voice to people who are bettering our world. I do this through creating videos, writing, interviews, and financial support.
I will continue my activism, spreading the truth about issues that matter.
I will continue to live a life that is in alignment with environmental sustainability and justice.
I will continue to acknowledge the hardships of others and change my life to make sure I am not contributing to their hardship, and instead live in a way that is helpful.
I will continue to act through a place of compassion, kindness and understanding and not from a place of fear, hatred or jealousy.
I will continue to speak and act truthfully. I will not lie.
I will continue to educate myself to be of better service.
I will continue to work on myself, to be a person and leader with integrity.
I will continue to live simply, so that others may simply live.

This I will continue, to be of service to Earth, humanity and our plant and animal relatives. As your public servant.

There are a few important things I would like to make sure do not go unsaid.
My intention is not to simulate poverty through my financial commitments. My needs are met and I am very grateful for this. My commitment to living simply with minimal money is a means to affect positive change in the best way that I know how.

I acknowledge my privilege in being able to live this way. I understand there are many people who cannot live as I choose to. I aim to always acknowledge the privilege that I do have and to use it to empower and uplift others. I aim to use my privilege to create a more equitable and just world where we live in harmony with Earth. I aim to make sure that I don’t use my privilege in a way that is harmful and unfair to others.

My life is centered around affecting positive change. I don’t put these commitments on myself to limit my ability to affect change. Rather, these commitments are designed to increase my ability to affect positive change. In changing times, it’s likely that I will change my methods as well, but I will always adhere to a core of honesty, transparency, integrity and actions that are truly in alignment with what I have laid out above.

Cover photo by Sierra Ford Photography

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