Clover graduated from Green School in 2016. She presented her Green Stone talk on the greatest threat facing humanity. We sat down to talk to Clover about her ecophobia and her upcoming internship with the Impossible Foods team, who are bringing the first meatless burger that bleeds to the world.
Can you tell us what your Green Stone is about?
From day one, the goal of my Green Stone was to answer one simple question: what is the greatest threat facing humanity? At the beginning of my journey, I considered the obvious issues, like ‘climate change’ and ‘overpopulation’. But through my research, and much contemplation, it quickly became apparent that the greatest threat is in fact something much simpler– something inherent to our species. That threat is ecophobia.
What some may refer to as ‘apathy’ or ‘frustration’, ecophobia is the crushing sense of powerlessness to prevent environmental catastrophe. We are on the brink of climate collapse, and entering the 6th mass extinction, where we, the perpetrators, will be the architects of our own demise. We could not imagine a more dire outcome, yet we sit here doing close to nothing. And our lack of response to the problem has become more threatening than the problem itself.
As someone who has suffered from this sense of apathy, the idea of ecophobia fascinated me, and thus wanted to understand the psychological hurdles preventing us from change. When presentation day finally rolled around, I shared my findings with the audience, explained how I personally overcame my own sense of ecophobia and, more importantly, illustrated how they could too.
How did you come up with this idea for your Green Stone?
At many times in my life, I have been subject to the unfortunate illness of ‘caring too much’; have felt utterly powerless to prevent the issues that tug on my heartstrings. Ecophobia fractures our society because it instills a chronic state of frustration, which leads to anxiety, depression, and the nihilistic thinking we have no control over our lives. Ecophobia is a very real and prevalent threat. And yet, ecophobia is all in our heads—it isn’t an asteroid hurtling from space, nor is it a zombie apocalypse on our doorstep. We are all capable of overcoming ecophobia through mind over matter.
If we wish to win our fight for the environment, then this message must prevail. The topic for my Green Stone was chosen because I wished to dissect ecophobia, exposing the monster, and re-empower others so they could see the change being made when they took action.
Tell us more about the company that you are interning for now you’ve graduated from high school.
Impossible Foods is the first company in the world to create a plant-based hamburger that looks, tastes, feels and bleeds just like real beef. Patrick Brown and his team of scientists have replicated the real thing by isolating and extracting specific plant proteins, fats and nutrients— something that had never before been achieved. Against a regular beef burger, an Impossible Burger uses 95% less land, 74% less water, and produces 87% less greenhouse gas emissions. It’s healthier, and tastes just as great!
I really love this company and everything that it stands for. Impossible Foods is the epitome of overcoming ecophobia because it provides a fantastic alternative to the meat industry, or what has proven to be the worst environmental plague in recent history.
What will you be doing in this internship?
I will be interning under the company’s CEO, Patrick Brown. During my time at Impossible Foods, I hope to expand market penetration through my skill set in persuasive communication, and increase the reach of the product as someone who is tapped into their peer culture. I also hope to advance the development of my app, NOM. NOM encourages users to take one or more of the meatless challenges, and then determines how much land, water and energy they have saved by no longer eating those meats (and potentially replacing them with Impossible Foods’ alternatives). Eventually, the app will also calculate how much carbon dioxide and methane they have prevented from being emitted, among other features.
What is your plan after this internship is completed?
I would love to continue with Impossible Foods, because it’s one of the few companies out there that I truly believe in. One way or another, I will continue down the path of environmental activism.
Other cool things regarding your internship that you would like us to know?
Well, Impossible Foods HQ is located in the Silicon Valley, which is home to myriad high-tech corporations and startup companies. Being such an epicenter for growth, I can’t imagine a better place to work, and am really looking forward to collaborating with likeminded individuals.