Breaking down how sustainability applies to everything (interview with Jay Siegel of Sustainability Defined and Ground Up Impact)

Green Dreamer - Podcast on Environmental Sustainability and Regeneration
We encourage our listeners to really understand these topics critically—to understand where these negative impacts are coming from to best be able to address solutions to fix them.

This is a conversation on Green Dreamer with Kamea Chayne, a podcast exploring environmental regeneration and intersectional sustainability from ideas to life. The preview highlighted has been edited for clarity. Subscribe to Green Dreamer on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or any podcast app to stay informed and updated on our latest episodes.


Jay Siegel (@heyjaysiegel) is the founder of Ground Up Impact and the creator of Sustainability Defined (@sustainabilitydefined), the award-winning podcast that defines sustainability "one topic (and one bad joke) at a time."

On this podcast episode, Jay sheds light on why sustainability can't be defined by a standard dictionary; the root causes driving environmental degradation no matter what industry we're speaking of; what it takes to reach the general public with our messages beyond the niche of people who already care; and more.

To start, get a glimpse below into the conversation between Jay and Green Dreamer Podcast's host, Kamea Chayne.

On translating complex ideas into simple language:

"Our entire economy is based on this natural system that we've been taking for granted at least since the industrial revolution. And the idea that that needed to be explained in a way that could actually mobilize folks was one that really energized us.”

On digging for the root causes of our issues:

"For me (and this is what we encourage our listeners to do on Sustainability Defined), [I try to] really understand these topics critically—to understand where these negative impacts are coming from to best be able to address solutions to fix them."

On the negative externalities created by many of our current systems and tools:

"So many of the impacts we have on the environment are what are called ‘negative externalities,’ meaning we're not taking into account the detrimental effects that we have on nature in the way we've structured our entire economy.

We see that in green aviation and big data, for example: The negative externality that comes as a result of using these services (e.g., taking flights and searching on Google) is the carbon that's emitted in that process and even further up the supply chain, the waste created as we built these airplanes and data centers in the first place.”

Jay’s final words of wisdom:

"You have to stay positive because the alternative not only just sucks more on a daily basis, but also, we just have to!

Keep pushing that positivity because it's what keeps optimistic folks in a challenging field going every day."


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