Tackling Food and Economic Insecurity Through Urban Agriculture with Jesse Herrera: PYP 330

Jesse Herrera is founder and chief visionary of Urban Theory, which I'd categorize as a "think tank" and an "act tank" for social and economic and environmental justice. Jesse is a former gang member, as well as a recovering architect. An urban planner. A visionary realist. We met at the World Healthcare Congress this past May, and immediately bonded by nerding out over sustainable small-plot agricultural tools and strategies, such as 2-wheel Italian tractors and compost tea. And discovered that our missions aligned. I work with individuals and organizations, while Jesse targets cities and communities. His passionate vision and clear-headed appraisal of obstacles and opportunities makes for an inspiring conversation. Read more »

Charles Eisenstein on Climate Reductionism and True Planetary Healing: PYP 309

Charles Eisenstein has been challenging my thinking for about 15 years now, but never more so than with his latest book, Climate: A New Story. Basically, Eisenstein argues that focusing all our environmental activism on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat global warming is a bad idea. As a card-carrying member of the enlightened, scientifically-literate, progressive wing of the American populace, of course I know that human-created climate change is the single greatest threat to our civilization, and that the biggest thing we can do to combat it is to reduce our carbon footprint, individually and collectively. Read more »

Neal Barnard, MD, on Not Eating, Testing, or Exploiting Animals in Pursuit of Health: PYP 291

Neal Barnard, MD, is the president and founder of the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) - an organization far too large and influential to still be called a "committee," but who among us hasn't outgrown our childhood name? - and the founder of the Barnard Medical Center in the DC area. He's also the author of a crazy number of books, including the recent The Cheese Trap - which you should give to all your vegetarian dairy-loving friends just to gross them out and blow their minds. Read more »

Crazy Adventures and Looking at the World Differently with Jeff Seal: PYP 286

Jeff Seal is a comedian, documentarian, adventurer, and undercover clown operating out of New York City. One of my son Elan's favorite YouTube artists, Jeff points out the hilarity, absurdity, and injustices of life through art and comedy. When Elan shared Jeff's work with me, I was particularly struck by his videos on dumpster diving and train-hopping. Both shared a common theme: finding freedom by questioning assumptions about what is and isn't "OK" to do in a consumer society where our supposed freedoms are undermined by unthinking obedience. Read more »

Sharing Music and Making This Place Our Home with Micah Hendler: PYP 283

Micah Hendler is the founder and director of the YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus, and one of Forbes' magazine's "30 under 30" (global leaders and change-makers under the age of 30). He founded the chorus to promote connection and peace between the teen communities of East and West Jerusalem; that is, inaccurately but roughly speaking, Palestinians and Israelis.  We met at a concert for peace in New York City in May, and Micah graciously agreed to be on the podcast. I wasn't sure exactly how I was going to "shoehorn" this theme into Plant Yourself, but the wiser part of me whispered, "Who gives a shit? Just have an inspiring and wonderful conversation!"  So I did. And while it's not about antioxidants or inflammation or TMAO, I think you'll agree that the themes of music, peace, discovery, curiosity, and compassion are all related to human health and wellbeing. And that the plant-based community can look for models of engagement and progress outside of our own kraal.  Read more »

Rob Greenfield on Wearing Trash, Opting Out of Capitalism, and Waking Up to the Effects of Our Actions: PYP 234

Rob Greenfield has put the fun and friendly into environmental activism. Known for his eye-catching and media-worthy campaigns and adventures to wake people up to the destruction we're causing to our planet, Rob brings a positivity and sense of humor and humility to what is too often a dreary scold-fest. Rob was originally on track to live an opulent American dream, complete with nice stuff, fast car, big house, and enough money to do whatever he wanted. A life in which he never had to think about the downstream consequences of his actions, choices, and consumption. Read more »

Damien Mander on Becoming an Anti-Poaching Warrior and Rediscovering His Heart: PYP 225

Damien Mander's entire identity centered around war: as a 19-year-old who joined the Australian Royal Navy and trained as a clearance diver; as a spec-ops sniper; as a member of an elite Tactical Assault Group; and as a special operations soldier in Iraq for three years. After leaving Iraq in 2008 after 12 tours of duty, Damien was burned out, dispirited, and ill-equipped to manage in civilian society. Still addicted to adventure and thrill, he found his way to Southern Africa, where he started working with the rangers and organizations dedicated to protecting the big animals of Africa from poachers. Read more »

Radically Self-Reliant Veganic Gardening with Will Bonsall: PYP 224

Will Bonsall is my new hero, and I say that without exaggeration. Check out the short video clip at the top of the Links section below to see half of the reason why. The other half of the reason take a bit longer to explain - hence this full-length podcast episode. Will is the visionary gardener whose half-century of experimentation and iconoclasm can help us save human civilization from collapse. His method, which he refers to as "gardening without borders," takes into account all the inputs and outputs of a garden or farm, in contrast to the usual methods of conventional, organic, and permaculture production. Read more »

Brian Kateman on Reducing Animal Consumption by Building a Big Tent: PYP 204

Brian Kateman is cofounder of the burgeoning Reducetarian movement, and one of the bright young stars in the fight to save humanity, animals, and planet earth from spiraling into an unredeemable mess. Brian reached out to me about a year ago, sharing a modest vision for an edited book designed not to turn ordinary people into vegetarians or vegans, but simply to encourage and empower them to eat less meat. Read more »