In October 2019 I received a notification from YouTube that I had earned an award for passing 100,000 subscribers. I’m not a material guy, so at first I thought I’d say no-thanks to the award. But then I realized I could share it with one of the people who follow my channel, the reason the award exists in the first place! I wanted to give the award to someone who would find it really meaningful.
I decided to produce a video and ask people to comment with how my life and my YouTube channel had positively impacted them. I would chose one person from the comments to receive the award.
A couple hundred people commented and reading their messages brought me close to tears. Here is the message I wrote to them:
“You are the reason that I do what I do and this was a deep reminder of that. I am so grateful to know that my life and my work has been of true service to so many of you. I promise I will keep going for decades to come and I will do my best to not let you down.I love you all so much even though I have not met most of you. I really want you to be happy and healthy and to share your light with the people around you. I am so happy that so many of you are making simple changes to live in a manner that is beneficial to the earth, your community and yourself.It was incredibly hard to chose just one person to send this award to. I wish I could share a moment with everyone one of you! I have chosen Ana Lopez and I will also be purchasing five fruit trees for her to plant in her community. I’m copying her message below.”
Here is Ana’s message: “Hello Rob, I have been suffering from depression for quite a while now. I am a mother of two toddlers. My depression is mild now and your videos have been a great contribution to that. You have brought hope into my life, hope for the future, hope for planet earth and hope for humanity. My goal is to become self sufficient one day. I am involved with a church and just this past weekend I planted the seed on some of the members of the church to start a garden, that’s thanks to the video you posted about that church that planted the trees, and the community trees, and now we are just waiting to receive a response of approval. I love watching and reading about all the crazy things you do, I first found out about you back in 2014, you had posted a photo with a quote that read “When the Earth is your home, you will never be homeless” that really stuck with me. I remember reposting a photo on my IG of when you were sitting in the snow butt naked. I thought that was pretty cool, never thought it was possible, but you did it. I have learned so much from you. And I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are a true inspiration and your legacy will live on forever. Thank you Rob Greenfield! I am excited to watch your upcoming videos every week, and still waiting for that video about your retirement plan. With Much Love, Ana Lopez”
Here is Ana with the award:
And we even got to meet in person when I visited San Diego in December 2019.
Here are some of the other stories that I have chosen to highlight. You can read more in the comments of the YouTube video.
fdlseeker I’ve been working on a small garden in my apartment, canning food so there is no wasting, and l learned a lot about foraging for food too. Each year I expand on what I’ve done the year before. I’m always trying to do more than I did the year before. I would be over the moon if I won the play button. I look up to you and you have taught me a lot.
Geneviève St-Martin You are my hero I like to talk about you and what you do and inspire others. I grow a lot of food and help people around me to do the same and it’s wonderful. I’ve met a lot of good persons doing that. Sorry for my English I speak french and do my best. I will cry if you pick me and I will be so proud to show this gift to everyone. I hope it will be me. Thank you Rob
Tonia Fisher Thank you for all that you do, it has shown me, inspired, educated and helped me to eat well, I am no longer a diabetic, I was over 300 pounds, way over more like 400, now down to 230 and counting, and feeling good, I grow all my veggies, my meat days are gone, living a healthy life and showing others how it can be done, thanks again
Dillon Walters Your lifestyle has been a huge inspiration for me because I believe that a minimalistic lifestyle will help the earth. I loved what you said in your last video, about why we live in a world of convenience. It is because the problem is somewhere else, someone else has to deal with our problems. Every time I think about bringing something new to my home, I ask myself if I really need it.. Funny enough, I actually say, “Would Rob Greenfield use this on a daily basis?” I genuinely appreciate your selfless goal of sharing your gift to the world. I have learned so many “tricks” about gardening and personal health, and I would have never gained that knowledge without your presence. I hope your voice expands farther and upon your journey. Thank you for your time. Thank you for being you. May the wind be always at your back 🙂 – Dillon W.
Happy Healthy and Free The 1st video I saw of yours was your Orlando tiny home and I was hooked from there. I have changed too many things to list that are more sustainable because of you! Loved reading Dude Making a Difference! You’re such an inspiration, I share you to anyone and everyone!! Keep up the amazing work and Congratulations!
Crazy Farmgirl Rob you have inspired me in many ways I am even going to try and eat raw and out of my garden for the year of 2020. I am trying to prepare my garden so I can succeed. I have a mixed thumb. I truly had wanted that to be my end goal but you inspired me to make it happen sooner. There is so much I wish I could talk to you and learn from you. I have watched and rewatched your videos to learn and inspire me no matter what. I am hopeful you will read my post and know how much you have meant to me and my family. Please if you ever get a chance I would love the gift of your knowledge on how to keep things alive. I live in Texas which can be tricky at times. Thank you for everything truly.
Sapphire Garcia Hey Rob, congrats on your award! I am not even sure how I came across you, I believe it started on a different social media account. But once I started reading/watching what you were doing, it woke up a part of me that I did not know existed. Every day I tell myself to continue to make small steps to be a better human for myself and the earth. I have great conversations with my wife about how we can be better. So thank you for being open with your journey, it has really changed me. My sister recently said to me during a relevant conversation, “Sapphire, I didn’t know you were so passionate about this.”… neither did I until I started following your journey! Keep it up!
Mars 192004 I’m glad that I could help you pass 100k. What you help me changed my life and my family is by letting me have hope to make my own food if people think that the manufacturers could do it better. I’m not the greenish person you will meet but I am slowly getting there by making my own soap, washcloths, and make my own tea/ essential oils as well. I would understand that you wouldn’t pick me, but I just hope that this message could make your day. Ps. My cat hit my phone in the making of this message, so that’s why it says edited on it. Christina I remember watching the video of you wearing the bags of garbage and I thought wow this is me, my house! I went from recycling very little, milk jugs, newspaper, odds and ends to now I recycle/ reuse almost everything that comes into my house. We went from having a huge garbage can full every week to one 15 gallon bag once a month. (It would be less if we could give up our Cheeto habit!) I have also gotten other people interested in learning how to recycle and reduce the amount of trash they make. I have also started a worm farm so I can not only compost my food, but make some amazing vermicompost for my garden. Thank you to all you do! Heather D Im so excited that you will be doing more videos! I was a bit worried that they were going to stop. I have been watching you on YouTube for a few years. Everything you say and do in your videos make so much sense to me. You are such an inspiration. I have learned so many things. I learned that composting isn’t as complicated as I thought it was. I have reduced my garbage significantly. I run a home daycare and we are embracing nature and are doing more of a forest school in town lol. They love learning about nature and composting, etc. I live in Canada and am actually looking for our equivalent to your toilet paper plant. Can’t wait for more videos. ️ Alyson Halbreich My positive change: Dear Rob, I have been thankful for your videos. You helped me see little trees can be such a big thing. You made my gardening skills way better. Because I have anxiety these calming videos help me A LOT, thanks for always posting, and thank you once more! I love your videos and think you are a really good person. You’ve inspired me since I found your channel and I love how much you give back to the community even though I am only 12, you are one of my fav. YouTubers out there! Scott Tripp So I think this is an amazing thing you are doing Rob. I couldn’t imagine hitting such a milestone and giving it away to one of your loyal fans. I am for one definitely one, my first video I ever watched was actually when your bamboo bike was stolen, and how you didn’t get upset. Your attitude toward the whole situation and your ability to deal with the adversity and search the streets was amazing. When you found the people who took it you just showed how caring you truly were. For that I appreciate you. It helped me change my mindset to people who are less fortunate. I am actually working on learning how to forage myself in my area in Alberta Canada. I didn’t realize the amount of wild plants and mushrooms around us. Now I know I have a lot more research to do but I look forward to it when we go through the death of the old into new being winter. I would love your plaque to hang in my house in a place of honor and most of all my 8 year old son I am sure would admire it even more. He has his own youtube channel on gaming. But I hope to change his mindset to something of yours, because it seems sometimes technology gets in the way of living life. -Scott Allan N. Oakley Hi Rob: I’ve been watching you since almost day one in Orlando. What i was lacking was a happy and healthy life as I cluttered it with nonsense. Today, I grow 1/3 of what I eat, have almost eliminated meat products and lost close to 60 pounds. Selling my great big house and going 50% smaller as I try and lead a simpler life. I’m at my ideal weight today. My only worry is what happens after “Rob Greenfield” leaves town? I’ve made every excuse in not trying to drive up and meet you but that’s OK. A video a week will have to do towards inspiring me. David Deming You have shown me that well placed humor attracts a crowd. Like standing on your head with a sign saying el loco gringo. Or riding the NYC subway with a month’s worth of trash attached to you. Food security is a dumpster visit away. Praise be for taking on the harder topics like humanure. I ride a bike for transportation and pee into my compost heap but I’ve been doing that before your duck beer guzzling daze. You have shown us by example that oceans, lakes, rivers and rain are ways to get clean. Living without electricity from the grid is possible. Mostly you’ve alerted us to think differently about the assumptions we all make about what we really need, in regards to food, space, comfort, money, lifestyle. Give the award to the first person to get the entire populace of a town to swim themselves clean in the local lake. The Flying Vegan Hi Rob! Congrats on the channel milestone! When I first found your channel I had been vegan for several years and thought that having changed my diet meant that I was doing ‘enough’ for the planet. Boy, was I wrong! Having witnessed your example through watching so many of your videos, I’ve been inspired to make more changes to my lifestyle to live as sustainable as possible, and creating as little impact in the process. I’ve got reusable cutlery and a straw I bring with me everywhere, and even bought a basket for my bicycle so I could use it for functional transportation more often. Now I’m trying to educate people through my own YouTube channel, and am continually inspired by every video you release to do more for the planet, and like you, try to live as a dude making a difference. From Canada, thanks for all you do crustycrowley I have been following your blog and videos for a while now. Last year I resigned from my engineering job to volunteer on organic farms and learn about food production and the current health of our environment. You have been one of my greatest mentors throughout this year. You are an inspiration to the younger generation and I can’t wait for there to be more people like you in this world. Love what you’re doing. Prettyangeltear I’m never one to share my story, but I’m taking this as a sign from God. Well. I’m not going to get into too much detail because it is a lot. So I really changed on a spiritual level, I’m not depressed anymore. I don’t even talk about it because I am a changed person. But a few of months back, almost a year ago, I had to leave the state because I was like really suicidal. I really didn’t have any other choice. So one night I chose to get help. I had a week to say by to whoever I wanted to, pack my stuff and leave. I got on a plane and flew across the U.S. all alone on Christmas Day. I flew all the way to Seattle. I was getting some help there. I was going to therapy which I really hated. I got a job that I actually loved. But I hated working because I was always so tired because my depression was just killing me. All I wanted to do was sleep. And I also used to never sleep at night. Most nights I’d sleep 3 hours. But anyway I gave therapy a try. I did not give up on that even though I hated it so much. And to this day I can still tell you that none of the sessions has ever helped me. It made me feel worse because it brought up stuff I did not want to think about or talk about. I’m the type of person that I don’t need to be venting my problems out to a stranger to feel better, it doesn’t work for me. I need to put an action to my problems and grow from what I’ve been through. I was getting very irritated for a long time because everybody kept telling me that I was living this perfect life and that they were jealous. But it was really everything but perfect. I mean yeah Seattle is beautiful, but I was actually staying about an hour away from Seattle. I was living in a beautiful area. The people are amazing and I love everything about Washington. But it was not my time to be there only for real spiritual level. After a couple of months of being there, I had to leave. Things got really bad. Which I’m just going to keep to myself because I’m afraid to put too much. But therapy just was not working. So, I booked my ticket home. I called my job and told them I wouldn’t be coming to work tomorrow. And I flew home that night. But when I came home, I had the biggest spiritual awakening I have ever had in my entire life. I felt so much closer to god than I had ever been. And you know what I did? I started a garden. Of course after watching your YouTube Channel. This sounds pretty insane, but I fought to come home in May to start a garden just in time. I looked at the seeds not sure if I’d ever be able to grow anything by myself. I didn’t think I was capable of doing it. But I did it anyway. And all summer long, everyday I came outside. I sat with my plants. I talked to them. I pruned them. I used the skills I had learned from you. And I grew a beautiful garden. The best part was I grew it for other people. I harvested my vegetables and I gave them away. I’d share them with my neighbors and family. I grew turnips and kale for my bunny. I remember holding the seeds in my hand and thinking “I just feel like these won’t grow. If I water these little seeds and plant them in the ground, I’m going to get real food in just a few months?” (I know that’s how we get food, but I was so depressed that I didn’t think I was capable of doing it). But I learned that I was like a seed. If I’m not taking action on my life, I will forever be a seed. But if I give myself some time, some nutrition, and let myself grow, I’ll be able to do anything I ever wanted. That sounds cheesy, but that is really what Gardening taught me. And it changed my life. I don’t see plants the way I used to anymore. I feel them living. I feel so close to God when I Garden. My plants become my therapist. The sun kept me warm. And I felt God. I will be forever thankful for you and what you have taught me. I will continue to use what I know from you for the rest of my life. I love the happiness I spread when I give out the food I have grown. It’s a beautiful feeling. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. It helps us gardeners “grow”.