Be the change

UW-La Crosse Alumnus Rob Greenfield, ’09, presented “Be the Change in A Messed Up World” on Tuesday, Sept. 24.

Alumnus who embarks on fierce challenges surrounding environmental, social issues addressed packed UWL auditorium

Alumnus Rob Greenfield, ’09, has dived into thousands of dumpsters to raise awareness about the broken food system, wore all of the trash he generated for a month to show how much garbage the average Westerner creates, and lived off the grid in a tiny house to demonstrate sustainable living systems.

UWL’s Graff Main Hall auditorium was packed as Greenfield returned to campus to share his stories of extreme adventures and activism during the university’s 2nd Annual Prairie Springs Distinguished Environmental Sciences Lecture Series. Greenfield presented “Be the Change in A Messed Up World” Sept. 24.

Greenfield embarks on extreme adventures and activism campaigns to bring attention to important global issues and inspire change. He has been featured in thousands of media outlets, including: National Geographic, BBC, Discovery Channel, L.A. Times and The Guardian.

Greenfield, of Ashland, Wisconsin, is now amid a yearlong project to grow and forage 100% of his food.

He hasn’t always been this environmentally conscious. As a UWL student, he spent most of his free time on Third Street, shining his car and acquiring material possessions. Greenfield says watching documentaries and reading books made him more conscious of social and environmental issues. He decided he wanted to be part of the solution instead of the problem. He started with small steps from shopping local and moved on to bigger steps like ditching his car for a bike.

Hear more of his story in this TEDx video.

Greenfield majored in biology with a concentration in aquatic science and a minor in chemistry. He credits his former UWL biology professor, Roger Haro, now associate dean for the College of Science and Health, for getting him interested in science. Awareness of the Earth and everything living on it is an important first step to living an environmentally-conscious life, he says.

About the lecture series

The Prairie Springs Distinguished Environmental Sciences Lecture Series was created as part of the $2 million endowment from the Prairie Springs: The Paul Fleckenstein Trust given to UW-La Crosse in 2018. This gift also named the university’s new science labs building — the Prairie Springs Science Center — along with establishing an endowment that supports environmental studies and education; wildlife and wildlife habitat protection; conservation; and ecological technology.

Other sponsors of the lecture series include: College of Science and Health, School of Education, River Studies Center, Environmental Studies, Department of Biology, and the Department of Recreational Management & Therapeutic Recreation.