Hi there, Jamie here.
I am the Director of Sustainability & Corporate Affairs at Soylent which means I have the honor of overseeing all of the Social Impact (#SoylentForGood) work we do. I wear a few other hats at the company including working with the press, creating communication strategies, and being the cheerleader for the internal team.
I joined the Soylent team nearly two years ago after spending nearly 15 years in the non-profit sector where I led various non-profit organizations that were focused on food insecurity, basic needs, and education. So, that is the lens through which I do all of my work at Soylent—I think about ways to create large scale impact through partnerships, collaborations, and policy change.
Every year on Earth Day, we are encouraged to think about our impact on the planet and what we can do to reduce it. We are pushed to think about ways we can take action to save the planet for future generations.
Earth Day is very different this year. I am writing this from my home in Downtown Los Angeles, not in our office. Quickly, I am realizing how much humans can control in order to save our planet and the people who live on it.
Over the past couple of months, we have been forced to change our behaviors in order to literally save the world. We have shown that we can do it. Despite much suffering and loss, there is hope. We know behavior is hard to change, but in the face of crisis we can do it, we have done it. This gives me hope.
As we sit in our isolated bubbles, we have proven to ourselves and to each other that we can change the way we work, eat, live, and interact.
We have stopped driving and the air has cleared.
We have started eating differently and thinking about what is good for us and our families, and what can be sent directly to our doors.
We have found creative ways to hang out with friends and family, and we have done a great job of checking in on folks who we hadn’t thought about in a while.
This gives me hope.
We have realized that a few people can’t change the future of the world, it takes everyone, in every state and every country around the world to work together to impact our collective future. We also showed this was possible.
This gives me hope.
So, how do we use this lesson of change and hope to help us preserve the planet? I am not a scientist, or a chemist, or even a nutritionist–I am, and always have been, an optimistic activist.
So, this is what I am committing to in the post quarantine world:
Remain committed to sourcing my food from ethical and sustainable companies.
Choosing to consume food from sources who are committed to lessening their “foodprint” and giving back. I am lucky enough to have options for my food and I want to make sure that I put my money where my mouth is and continue to be intentional about the companies I support.
Obviously, I am biased to Soylent, but I also adore many other mission-focused direct to consumer food companies that deliver fresh food and produce to my apartment. Some of my favorites use food that is ugly or undesirable, but that is still perfectly good. Others have created sustainable meal kits that my partner and I use for dinners, and some others even prepare meals through job training programs and deliver prepared meals to my house weekly. I also prioritize companies who have a give back component.
There are lots of amazing food companies out there doing great work and it doesn’t take a lot of research to find the ones that are putting focus on impact, the environment, and their communities.
Because I work at Soylent, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t showcase our Life Cycle Analysis. We developed this tool so you can see that we really do give a shit (I wouldn’t work here if we didn’t). We have also done a lot to update our packaging, improve our supply chain, and source ingredients from the US to minimize shipping costs.
Commit to driving less.
I am going to bike, walk, or take public transit to work at least two days per week. During the crisis, one thing I have noticed is that the air is so much cleaner—smog is nearly gone in LA! It gives me hope that we can figure out ways to stay off the road in the future.
Recommitting to being mostly plant-based.
I have dabbled with Veganism for decades now and am mostly vegan at home, but during this time of being more intentional about my food, I have been able to focus on a more plant-based diet. This is the one thing we can ALL do to change the future of the world.
Did you know that going vegan for ⅔ of your meals could cut carbon emissions by 60%? I know this isn’t for everyone, but this isn’t an all or nothing idea. So, try to reduce your meat consumption, even if only for one or two days a week. This really does matter, probably more than anything else.
This is a very hard time for all of us, and I am in no way wanting to make light of that. Our word has experienced immense loss and suffering and we do not yet have an end in sight. We all have friends and family who have lost jobs or have reduced hours. It is such a hard time. However, I have seen first hand that there is hope. Hope for our communities, our families, and for our world.
During this trying time, we all need to do what makes us happy, healthy, and comfortable with our own situations—that is first and foremost. However we have to acknowledge that our actions and reactions change the world around us, so I hope you get some optimism from this message.
I am not doing anything extreme and I have plenty of bad habits, just like everyone else, but I am hopeful. If we all continue to make small changes in our lives it will impact our planet for the better. So I ask you to join me and the entire team at Soylent —what will you be doing to recommit to a hopeful future for us and the world? Email me at Jamie@Soylent.com and let me know what you are committing to.
Stay well and do good!
Director, Sustainability + Corporate Affairs