Sustainability Spotlight: Evan Zachary

About This Series

Sustainability Spotlight is a blog series sponsored by Impact Earth that allows readers to discover the best zero waste practices in Rochester. We totally support our nominees that are living their best #zerowaste lives and hope that you do too! If you would like to nominate yourself or another local for our Sustainability Spotlight series, just let us know!


Who is Evan?

“Evan is the Director of Flower City Pickers and Community Engagement Coordinator at Genesee Land Trust through the AmeriCorps VISTA Rochester Youth Year program. He graduated from RIT in 2018 with a BS in Environmental Sustainability; Health and Safety. While at RIT he acted as Director of RIT's Goodbye Goodbuy! program, Coordinator of the RIT FoodShare Center, and Founder and Chair of the RIT Student Government Sustainability Committee which led the passage of a resolution advocating for the establishment of a Socially Responsible Investment Advisory Committee to the RIT Board of Trustees Endowment Committee. Evan has also formerly worked for PLAN: The Post-Landfill Action Network and GE Aviation.”

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Evan’s Background with Sustainability and Zero Waste…

“While sustainable and zero waste living make intuitive sense, Evan was introduced to the idea that there was a community of people rallied around the idea during The Post-Landfill Action Network's first ever Students for Zero Waste Conference in 2014. Prior to this, zero-waste living was, and to a certain extent still is, sisyphean at best under current systems of production and consumption. Connecting with an organized community allowed him to move past this notion.”

His Motivation to Live Sustainably…

“Recognizing the limitations of individual actions doesn't dissuade Evan from understanding their importance. By setting an example through our own actions and demonstrating cost-savings potential or social equity benefit, we may encourage others to do the same. An organized and sustainable citizenry may have the collective capacity to exert influence over the companies, policies, and individuals that present unsustainable and disposable living as a unhealthy normalcy. Under the paradigm of "waste is just resources in the wrong place" living sustainably/zero waste actually becomes a bit of a treasure hunt for new strategies and perspectives on how to wield abundance equitably.”

Evan’s Favorite Zero Waste Products…

“Similar to the type of material processed by Flower City Pickers, Evan's favorite zero waste products are those that do not create additional demand for extraction or re-manufacturing. His favorite zero waste products are those he can source from existing waste streams and add value to. Gleaned or recovered food, seasoned with the knowledge that it has mitigated demand for new product, always tastes better. A stout backpack and the knowledge to repair it is another must, lugging zero waste gear around is made easier this way.”

What He Likes about Living Sustainably...

“That it can, if only for a moment, keep at bay or push back against the sense that multi-national oil and gas companies and their associated clients and investors are ultimately the individuals responsible for curbing climate change and creating a cyclical and thriving environment. It makes me feel, justified or not, that I have a role to play with my everyday actions.”

Evan’s Favorite Green Spaces in Rochester…

Conkey Corner Park, at the corner of Conkey and Clifford in Rochester's El Camino neighborhood is not only a pleasant space with a lovely park for kids but it is an applied example of how a community planning process and the strategic implementation of urban green space can yield positive impacts on a community. Ten years ago, prior to the construction of the park, the corner played host to an open-air drug market. Today, it hosts events like an annual 5k walk, and youth-oriented events like Harvest Fest and Winter Wonderland. Find out more about what's going on in and around the park at www.myelcamino.org


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