005: Talking Sustainability with Sal Lavallo whom have visited every single country

Our guest today has travelled to every single country in the world. 15 of those he has lived in for more than two months and more than 50 of those he has visited twice or more and this all before the age of 27. He also studied economic development and identity.

Crazy birds, without any further ado, I would like to welcome, Sal Lavallo.

Episode Highlights

[01:46] The journey to every country happened very organically and it was really a love for the world than a love for travel.

[03:38] I have been to every continent over twenty or more times except for like Australia Oceania where I have only been five separate times.

[04:01] My last four countries were on four different continents.

[04:31] I think that in terms of technology, I think it is a double-edged sword. It is great because people have a lot more access to information, they are able to learn more and are connected with others.

[06:12] I have a very unique experience that I own a farm in Tanzania, I go there every year. It’s a very rural village, often is without electricity and that is kind of giving me an intimate understanding of that other side of this specific problem.

[07:50] What cool is now with communication a lot of the times what happens or at least in my village in Africa, in Tanzania, is that when the electricity does go out we get an SMS, like a text message from the electricity company saying when it will come back.

[09:37] So a lot of the times you are offered water that isn’t drinkable and so being very aware of that and sometimes it can feel a little bit like distancing to say oh no I can’t have your water, but you have to stay alive you know.

[10:10] It is also a little bit of a fallacy getting used to the food and the water because they are still getting cholera. It is not that they are used to like these communicable diseases, it is that they do not have an option.

[10:48] Where have you had your best tap water?

[12:20] Any Island it is so difficult to have an efficient and sustainable waste management regime.

[13:12] Some of these islands in the Pacific have the highest like per capita population density in the world.

[16:37] Rwanda recently like outlawed plastic bags. Rwanda is the cleanest countries in Africa, it is one of the most incredible development stories of the past 20-25 year stories, considering where they were at in 1994.

[18:55] There is always more that can be done.

[19:30] One thing I think is really misunderstood is the evolution of germ theory and how dirty the world was and in some ways still is.

[20:17] There is always, always more to learn, always more ways to push yourself, but it has to be done within a balance of what can you do, what makes you happy, what doesn’t get in the way of your life.

[20:40] Do what you can, reduce your waste a little bit or turn off the faucet or like only use the like smaller flush.

[23:23] People then learn to adapt.

[24:10] I think I am like passively aware and coz I have lived a lot in places that do not have a lot of water. I have lived in places like deserts in New Mexico where we had to be very aware of our water usage.

[26:27] I guess there is a decision like to be aware but not feel too quality. I think that is a very important balance that I think a lot of people are afraid of that if they even start on a journey that they need to be more sustainable that they are going to feel bad about not being more sustainable.

Final Five

1.What is one social media platform that you follow?

Kealy Siryj

Alvaro Rojas  

Jessica Nabongo 

Drew Binsky

2.What is your hope for mama earth going forward?

 I think that soon that food would be the next gold in a way, I mean it already is such a huge part of the economy but I want there to be more interesting agribusiness and that being the cool thing to get into. Like business people wanting to own like agricultural companies and like farms and cool innovations in agriculture.

3.What advise can you give our crazy birds this week to help out mama earth?

 Turn the faucet off.

Don’t buy too much stuff in like plastic.

Say no to the single-use plastic bag and utensils.

4.What is one sustainability fact that you like to use in a room with people not yet on a sustainability journey?

 I don’t think that people know or realize how many people around the world are smallholder farmers and it is something like a quarter of the population, 2 billion people around the world are smallholder farmers and almost an equal amount rely on smallholder farmers for their livelihood and their daily food and that is just an incredible thing to think about. Because you know in America less than 2% of people are farmers and of those, I think most of them are not smallholder farmers or almost any of them.

5.Where can people find you?





Trail of Seeds 

Key Take Away

“There is always, always more to learn, always more ways to push yourself, but it has to be done within a balance of what can you do, what makes you happy, what doesn’t get in the way of your life.”

Even for Sal that has travelled to every single country in the world, there is always more that one can learn and always more that one can do. Crazy Birds living a more sustainable life is a journey and not a race. Accept where you are today in your journey and strive your best to improve little by little. You are more likely to live a more sustainable life if your journey is sustainable too.

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About the author, Mariska

Hi and welcome! My name is Mariska. I am originally from South Africa, but now call the world my home. I am an artist, designer, environmentalist, podcast host and speaker.

I started the Mama Earth Talk podcast in 2018 to share some of the things that I learned about just how easy it can be to reduce your impact on the environment. This then quickly grew into a forum that showcases the amazing things that many people are doing to make the planet better, and further into a source of hope and inspiration for many. A few of the amazing guests include Zero Waste Queen, Bea Johnson, Claude Silver, Kathryn Kellogg and zero waste chef Max La Manna.

If you do not already I urge you to follow me and my journey on social media (@designbymariska), and to refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot your own waste using the handy tips I post!

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