Sustainability Spotlight: Brian Bailey

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 Brian?

“I am a Chicago-based educator, researcher, writer, artist, social entrepreneur, business development executive, and community organizer. I am also a stand up paddle boarder, hiker, avid NY Yankees fan and love to make homemade ice cream. My best flavor to date is banana bourbon toffee crunch.


I grew up in Troy, NY, graduated from Troy High School (1988), earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University (1992), a master's degree from Nazareth College in Educational Technology (2000) and received a Ph.D. in Teaching and Curriculum at the University of Rochester's Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development. I served as an Associate Professor of Education and Director of the Center for Service Learning at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY where I taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the School of Education. Prior to Nazareth College, I held faculty appointments at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY and Yale University in New Haven, CT.

I have presented my research throughout the United States and Internationally in India (Nagaland University), Pakistan (University of Karachi, Jinnah University for Women, Indus Valley College), Oman (Sultan Qaboos University), Hungary (Eötvös Loránd University), Sri Lanka (Red Dot Art Gallery), and United Arab Emirates (UAE University in Al Ain). I have published articles in blogs, journals and books including: the Huffington Post, the Journal of Digital Culture & Education, Lights! Camera! Action and the Brain: The Use of Film in Education. In 2015, I co-authored and received a MacArthur Digital Learning Lab grant in collaboration with the Rochester Public Library. I have also had the opportunity to give two TED talks at TEDxRochester and TEDxFlour City.

My entrepreneurial work includes: business development strategist and corporate social responsibility director for a Rochester-based company (Diamond Packaging), part owner of and national consultant for a zero waste company (Impact Earth), co-founder of a socially conscious, zero waste Indie Folk music series (honest folk), as well as co-founder of two youth-based events (Rochester Teen Film Festival; ROC Teen Summit) and co-founder of an International Film Festival in Nagaland, India (GLOCAL).

My artistic life includes creating contemporary public art and social intervention projects in local and international contexts. Along with my partner and spouse, Heather Layton, we started Common Sense Art Collective which uses Socially Engaged Art (SEA) as a form of community engagement and international cultural diplomacy. For this work, Heather and I were named Citizen Diplomats in 2012 by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.”

His Background with Zero Waste Living…

“I have always been passionate about sustainable/zero waste living. I love being in natural settings and see sustainable/zero waste living as a logical way of taking care of our planet and each other. Heather and I try to minimize our food waste and compost all of our organics. I also co-founded honest folk which is my first experience planning, sorting, and measuring waste. Our goal with honest folk was to divert 98% or more of our waste from landfills. More importantly, our overarching mission, from a waste perspective, was to serve as a model of what a zero waste event looks like for the Rochester community.”

His Motivation to Live Sustainably…

“I believe that making an effort to reduce waste and measuring progress on living a zero waste life is a way of addressing multiple problems in our community and planet. I am concerned about climate change and see it as a monumental opportunity and imperative to change the direction of how we live. I am particularly concerned about the impending climate-change driven refugee crisis and loss of life that will come with climate change.”

What He Likes about Living Sustainably…

“It feels good not to waste and I see an opportunity to build a circular economy. I think it always feels good to do the right thing which is how I try to live my life. I constantly think about and try to act on social injustice issues including income inequality, racism, misogyny, disability rights, and sexuality discrimination. Sustainability/zero waste fits with my way of thinking about how we can create a more just and humane planet.”

(PS: Brian’s favorite green spaces in Rochester are Corbett’s Glen and High Falls)

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