Rob Greenfield in 2013
|Born||August 28, 1986|
Ashland, Wisconsin, USA
|Occupation||Adventurer, environmental activist, entrepreneur|
Rob Greenfield (born August 28, 1986) is an American adventurer, environmental activist, and entrepreneur. He has "made it his life's purpose to inspire a healthy Earth, often with attention-grabbing tactics".
Greenfield is also a writer and speaker, world traveler, ambassador to One Percent for the Planet, and founder of The Greenfield Group.
Greenfield was born and raised in Ashland, Wisconsin where he was raised by a single mother, along with his three siblings. At the age of 18 he became an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouts.
After graduating from Ashland High School in northern Wisconsin, Greenfield attended the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree. He traveled to six continents throughout his time in university and upon graduation.
In 2011 Greenfield relocated to San Diego, California, where he founded The Greenfield Group, an environmentally active marketing company.
Through his adventures Greenfield aims to inspire people to start living a happier, healthier lifestyle and to promote giving back to others and simple earth-friendly living.
In 2013, Greenfield cycled 4,700 miles (7,600 km) across America on a bicycle made of bamboo to inspire Americans to live more sustainably. On this 104-day ride he used 160 US gallons (610 l) of water, created two pounds (0.9 kg) of trash, traveled via his own power except for one mile (1.6 km) on a ferry into New York City, plugged into five electrical outlets, and never turned on a light switch.
On the journey he carried out multiple campaigns to "inspire individuals to wake up and take action". To raise awareness about water waste he lived off a leaky fire hydrant for five days in New York City. Later he cycled from New York City to Boston during a heat wave living solely on leaky faucets in a campaign called Drip by Drip. About 70 percent of his diet came from dumpsters—he ate more than 280 pounds (130 kg) of food from grocery store dumpsters to bring attention to food waste.
From April 2013 to April 2014 Greenfield spent a year bathing only in natural water sources such as rivers, lakes, waterfalls and in the rain. The average resident of San Diego consumes around 100 US gallons (380 l; 83 imp gal) of water per day. During the first four months of the campaign Greenfield used an average of two US gallons (7.6 l; 1.7 imp gal) a day, and when he returned to his home he managed to use just ten to twenty US gallons (38 to 76 l; 8.3 to 16.7 imp gal) per day.
The purpose of the campaign was to inspire people to start paying attention to their surroundings and to be conscious of how their simple actions affect the world around them. He was quoted as saying, "We have to be aware of the origin of the things we consume every day, such as water, food, and energy. In this case I wanted to show how valuable water is and inspire people to conserve and protect it."
Greenfield cycled across the USA for the second time in the summer of 2014. In the first half of the ride he volunteered at nonprofits, planted wildflowers and vegetables along his path, and promoted a happy, healthy, carefree and waste-free existence. He left home with $2,000 in cash, no credit cards, and upon arrival in Madison, Wisconsin donated his last $421 to a non-profit. He then vowed to travel without money the rest of the way to New York City and eat solely by dumpster diving at grocery stores and convenience stores to draw attention to and find solutions for food waste.
In major cities he held Food Waste Fiascos in which the edible food he found in dumpsters was displayed in one spot to show how much of it there is. Greenfield said,
The stats are enormous—$165 billion worth of food thrown out each year, or about half of all the food we produce—but it's hard for people to wrap their head around numbers. Seeing a beautiful display of a couple thousand dollars' worth of perfectly good food pulled from dumpsters near them does the trick, though.
The purpose of the campaign was to get grocery stores to donate the food they would otherwise throw away. The primary reason corporations have given for not donating their excess food is the fear of liability if someone gets sick from eating it. The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act shields food donors from liability and a 2013 study by the University of Arkansas School of Law shows there has not been a single case that involved food donation-related liability for a grocery store.
In October 2016, Greenfield spent a month walking around New York City wearing on his body all the trash he produced during the month by storing the trash in a suit of clear plastic sheeting, designed by trashion designer Nancy Judd, which hung on his torso and limbs. It was another attempt "to inspire people to think about how our little daily actions affect the world around us".
From November 2018 to November 2019, Greenfield lived in Orlando, Florida and ate only food that he could grow and forage. He grew over 100 different foods in gardens and foraged more than 200 foods from the wild, using skills he learned from local teachers. At the same time he lived in a tiny house (his second—his first was in San Diego) that he built from recycled materials.
In 2020 Greenfield toured Europe as part of his "World Solutions Tour".
Greenfield has converted to a vegetarian lifestyle and focuses on sustainable living. He travels barefoot, and mostly by bicycle. He doesn't have credit cards or a retirement account, doesn't own a car and hasn't used a shower since April 2013. What allowed him to live in this manner is giving up the desire to be wealthy.
He aims to live a life that is beneficial to the Earth, to the community and self and aims to "lead by example and live it out loud".
He got a vasectomy at 25 because he doesn't support the pharmaceutical industry and doesn't want women subjected to the hormones of birth control. Greenfield was quoted as saying, "Goodness is my currency. When you live a life in the service of others, then others have a desire to serve you as well."