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Put planet before profit

June 21, 2022

Growing up, co-founder of My Green Pod Jarvis Smith found an escape from his difficult home life in the green outdoors. Spending much time outside deepened his attachment and sensitivity to nature. In adulthood, this was reinforced through shamanic teachings, which came into play in an epiphanic moment he had while featuring on a Channel 4 reality TV show, ‘Dumped’.

For the show, Jarvis had to spend three weeks living on a landfill site. He described how contestants on the programme had to syphon through piles of waste, separating what could be recycled from what could not. Starting to feel queasy, he decided to lie on the ground and ask the earth to cleanse him, something he’d learnt from studying shamanism.

“All of a sudden I got this feeling like a bolt of lightning had hit me, and I heard these words: ‘How you are feeling now is what you are doing to me. I need your help to tell the world that humanity is part of the problem.’ It was a massive awakening for me and I committed then and there, on camera, that I’d dedicate my life’s work to the environment."

Jarvis went on to launch GREEN, a sustainable lifestyle magazine published with The National Geographic, which moved to The Guardian in 2010 before evolving into My Green Pod magazine.

Working with his partner and journalist Katie Hill, Jarvis developed My Green Pod further, taking it online. This spring the pair will collaborate with Jo Wood for the My Green Podcast, interviewing celebrities like Fearne Cotton about their ethical endeavours.

Responding to a demand from their readers, they added an eco-conscious store to the platform, where customers can switch to more ethical and environmentally-friendly products.

“As I see it, we’ve got this green rush, like the gold rush, but this time it's for all things eco.”

Advice for budding eco-entrepreneurs

For all those environmentally-minded entrepreneurs out there, Jarvis has this advice: “If you’re trying to become a green entrepreneur and you’re not starting with nature as your CEO then you’ve already failed. Every single thing we use, eat and wear comes from nature so we need to respect it.”

From his experience, he recommends trying to embed restoration into every aspect of your business, be it through planting trees or through supporting your local community.

He also offers a more sustainable list of business priorities: “We put things in this order: planet, people, purpose, profit,” he explained. “But we’ve started spelling profit as ‘prophet’ and that means that if you’re making a profit just for profit’s sake then you’ve got everything wrong. We’ve put a spin on it so that profit becomes a prophecy rather than playing into a dysfunctional system of destruction to the planet.”