Recently, Eco-Youth had the amazing opportunity to have an email interview with Will Sheppard, founder of Sustainabro. We are so honored to work with a new and growing brand. It’s down to Earth podcast gives the latest news in sustainability and follows the stories of experts and people willing to make a positive change in the field.
Briefly introduce yourself to the audience and tell us about your journey – where do you live, study, work, and what are you doing at the moment?
My name is Will Sheppard. I am originally from Manchester, NH where I grew up hiking and skiing in the White Mountains as well as building forts in the woods behind my house. These experiences really helped me to grow a strong affinity to nature and a curiosity for how things worked. With that, I eventually set my sights on engineering schools when I ultimately chose to apply for colleges. Currently I am a grad student at the Rochester Institute of Technology studying mechanical engineering and run the Sustainabro Life podcast.
In your own words, define sustainability. What got you interested in sustainability and what is your relation to the topic? How do you believe climate change and sustainability go hand in hand?
I would say that I probably would define sustainability as the ability for the human race to continue raising standards of living for everyone on the planet while also maintaining the world for generations to come. What really drove my interest in sustainability was my connection with nature combined with coursework and reading in college. Most specifically, my sophomore year of college I read a book called Cradle to Cradle which highlighted aspects of sustainable design and systems thinking. From that point I haven’t been able to look back.
What is Sustainabro? How was it founded? What issues does it address and what do you want to achieve with it?
Sustainabro is a podcast that brings on researchers, entrepreneurs, and policymakers to have conversations about sustainability in a down to Earth setting. It was founded as a passion project while I had the time to work on something during quarantine and COVID. Basically, the whole concept behind Sustainabro Life is to attract people like me to sustainability. Typically the stereotype of people operating in the sustainability sector are that they are tree-huggers and unrelatable, but I am setting out to set the precedence that sustainability is an issue we should all care about and work to achieve.
What action do you believe everyone could/should be involved in to create a positive change and impact towards climate change and the environment? What do you think are the problems we need to address on a global scale?
I think there are definitely a lot of different ways to have an impact from a sustainability perspective, but I would say two of the biggest pieces to remember are that every purchase you make is a vote and we are all born with different skillsets and abilities to make a positive impact. To break that down a little more, any time you choose to purchase gas instead of riding a bike or choose to buy groceries in plastic instead of the farmers market, that is a vote for those companies to continue producing those products. On the second point, I think it is important to know yourself, your passions and what you are good at to choose where you can make the largest impact on sustainability. Someone who has good business acumen who is looking to do good in the world isn’t going to have the same path as someone who is an amazing coder, but they can have an equally amazing impact on the world.
What kind of technological advancements and innovations do you believe can drive a change and bring the world towards a sustainable future? What is your vision of a sustainable future and are you most excited about?
There are quite a few technologies that I am excited about in the future, but I do think proper environmental policy is going to be needed to get them to the point of economic feasibility. Either way, I think some of my personal favorite technologies that are up and coming will be direct air carbon capture, electric/hydrogen powered vehicles, and the continual development of renewable energy sources like photovoltaics. I like to imagine a future where we as humans can help prop up industrializing nations with renewable power sources and have high standards of living for everyone on the planet without diminishing the quality of life for those in the future.
Do you have any advice to people who want to help the environment, particularly fight climate change, but don’t know where to start? What advice can you give for newer organizations, like Eco-Youth, that will help grow their platform and gain a bigger audience?
There a lot of ways people can start working towards a more sustainable life without even putting in a lot of effort. Some of the actionable steps I can think of the top of my head might be:
- Be conscious about the purchases you make (don’t buy stupid stuff).
- Purchase necessities from socially and environmentally responsible companies (think Allbirds, Patagonia, etc).
- Look to buy local foods with minimal packaging.
- Covert your home over to operating on renewable energy (Depending on the state you live in this may be cheaper).
- Air dry clothes (dryers probably use more electricity than any other appliance in your home).
- Start composting.
- Bike when you can instead of driving.
- Divest from fossil fuels.
In terms of advice for growing platforms, I think the most important thing for growth is consistency. 1 new follower a day is 365 followers a year and I think it is always good to put that into perspective. Additionally, I would say continue partnering with other organizations with goals that align with yours and don’t be afraid to reach out to them!
What great things does Sustainabro plan to do next? What is its future beyond the blogs and podcasts?
Beyond the blogs and the podcast, we eventually have our eyes set on educational Youtube videos on green technology and entrepreneurship.
Where can people learn more about you and Sustainabro?