What Happened When I Talked Sustainability with Two Coaches

Nancy Colasurdo
6 min readJan 31, 2022

Josh Spodek has unplugged his refrigerator because he doesn’t need it anymore. I’m going to start there.

It’s where his journey in being more environmentally conscious led him and frankly that bit of information has the power to scare me right off the whole effort.

You know what else puts the fear of God in me? Talking to an astrophysicist about sustainability.

But nonetheless, this is how I started my year. There were a few times during our interview where I felt like I was in my own little version of Don’t Look Up, a naïve Tyler Perry/Cate Blanchett combo trying to put an important story into a Good Morning America-esque happy package.

I’m not kidding. After watching three TED talks featuring Spodek, I became fascinated by his decision to avoid packaged food as much as possible.



My Italian-American mind went right here: Hmmmm, if I don’t buy packaged pasta I’ll have to make it myself. How would I do that? Wouldn’t all the ingredients come in packages?

This seems like a good time to tell you a bit more about New York-based Spodek with a paragraph directly from his online bio:

He holds a PhD in astrophysics and an MBA from Columbia, where he studied under a Nobel Laureate, having emerged from a childhood including years in some of Philadelphia’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods. He helped build an X-ray observational satellite with the European Space Agency and NASA.

This is just some of what’s notable about Spodek. Eye-popping credentials aside, he was perfectly willing to have a conversation about his acclaimed vegetable stew and how changing one habit led him to another and another and, before he knew it, he was shopping farmers’ markets and producing roughly one bag of garbage in two years. Yes, you read that right.

While coaching, speaking, blogging, and podcasting about sustainability are now his focus, it’s still a bit surreal to talk to Spodek about daily habits when his vision on this topic is so vast and his passion so deep. As much as I tried to keep it to the philosophy captured by his tagline — “Systemic change through personal change” — the…

Nancy Colasurdo

Activist Journalist, Opinion Writer, Author, Life Coach in Greater NYC area. Occasional guest columnist at NJ.com. Six-word bio: Zen chick with a Jersey edge.