We live in a time of accelerating injustice and inequality. The top 1% of the richest people on earth have more financial wealth than the entire rest of the world. That’s right — 1% have as much as the other 99%. Celebrities, politicians and CEOs and everyday people have two, three, or more houses while millions of Americans are homeless. People are eating $1,000 dinners while 50 million Americans are food insecure, many of whom are women and children. To put it simply there are far too many people around the world who don’t have their basic human needs met, while others are living unacceptably lavish lives. This isn’t just a matter of individuals. This is systemic, engrained deeply into our government, our financial systems and our megacorporate-run society, and many of us are complicit to this.
I have committed to Gandhi’s philosophy to “live simply so that others may simply live.” And I’ve expanded upon that by diligently sharing and spreading my resources to help create more equitable systems and communities — to take down injustice and inequality and contribute to justice and equality. More and more I am focusing on recognizing my privilege, and making sure that not only am I not taking advantage of it for my own convenience and comfort, but that I am utilizing it as a tool to uplift and empower underrepresented communities of fellow humanity.
I can not rationalize having so much while others have so little. I can not prioritize stocking up wealth when others need safety, shelter, food, education, clean water and air and all basic resources to live a healthy and happy lives. The time to act is now. I am not certain of the future of the world and I am not going to invest in my own uncertain future disproportionately when I can invest in equally deserving lives that are here now.
I commit to donating 100% of my media earnings to nonprofits as well as activists and grassroots efforts that are working for sustainability, equity and justice. I began this in 2014 and have committed to this for life. This includes any media that I am paid to do such as TV shows, documentaries, books, TV appearances, product endorsements, etc. To date I have raised approximately $47,000.
I have committed to deep transparency with my financial involvements and on this page I document all transactions. Below you will find the financial information, what it was generated from and where it was donated to. I have also created this PDF with clickable links to where the funds came from and the organizations they were donated to.
I have committed to reducing injustice and inequality in all of my daily actions and thus have committed to not paying federal income taxes, since 2015 and for life. Donating 100% of my media income is a self-imposed tax system that does not pay for war, police brutality, the prison industrial complex and other injustices and inequality that United States tax funds are disproportionately used for, but rather distributes funds to organizations that really represent and serve the people, especially underserved populations that are not equitably receiving federal income taxes. No money from media is ever paid to me — my work is done for free and a donation is made directly to the organizations instead of paying me. I legally do not pay federal income taxes, by earning less than the federal poverty threshold, which is about $10,000 for an individual.
The money I do personally earn is from public speaking and I donate a portion of that as well. I am transparent with my personal financials here.
My example is certainly extreme. I’ll be the first to say that this is not an example that most people can duplicate. However, we can do much more. I am not calling on those who do not have enough resources to feel like they must give. I am calling on people who have enough and who can share their resources.
If you are wealthy, I encourage you to give a lot and give a lot now. If you need help distributing your funds please contact me and I will help. Here are some nonprofits that I highly recommend. Many of us don’t feel very wealthy, but if we took the time to look deeper we’d realize that we are in the top percentage of the wealthiest people in the world. That would apply to a very large number of the people reading this right now (perhaps you). I encourage you not to compare yourself to the richest people on Earth, or to your neighbors, and use that as a measure of how wealthy and able you are to give, but rather to focus on how little many of the unseen and unheard people have and how much you could be of service to them. At the very least one can commit to giving 1% of their yearly revenue. A great way to do this is by joining One Percent for the Planet, which is a network of a few thousand member nonprofits that one can donate to and be certified as a One Percent for the Planet member and donor.
Businesses can also become One Percent for the Planet members and I encourage businesses to also become certified B Corporations.
I hope that my example provides you with the inspiration and the motivation to help create the change that you wish to see in the world.
See this PDF with clickable links to where the funds came from and the organizations it was donated to.
I’ve also come up with a means to deliver more money through my involvement in the media. You’ll see this under “Media Donations for Expenses” on the spreadsheet. A lot of money is spent by media outlets for things like travel, hotels, and food. They tend to opt for more luxurious means than I would. I’ve decided to get by on less than they offer me, and in doing so I ask them to donate the money I save them to a nonprofit. For example, when I went to London to promote the first Discovery show I did I saved them $2,000 by flying economy instead of a bigger seat, staying with a friend rather than at the $600/night hotel, and taking public transportation rather than being picked up. We donated that to FeedBack who used it to rescue food that would have gone to waste and get it to people in need instead.
-Photo by Danielle Werner – Live Wonderful – January 2020, San Diego, California