266: Jonathan Pereira on What is Beyond Sustainable.

Creating a cooperative circular economy business model for mutual benefit.

Jonathan holds a BS in Geology and a Masters in Science Education, and has worked as an informal science educator for over 15 years before joining the non-profit organization Plant Chicago.   He has developed numerous innovative programs including Greencorps Youth Program in Chicago, and Greentrack at Manhattan Comprehensive Night-and-Day High School in New York.   In 2012, he was nominated with his students from Global High School for the Zayed Future Energy Prize.

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As Executive Director, Jonathan is working to bring the circular economy to life inside Plant Chicago and outward to the neighborhood. He sees a future where businesses work together to ensure both the economy and the environment are thriving.

In This Podcast:

Cooperating businesses that work together to succeed as they reduce the waste stream at the same time. While this might sound unrealistic, this concept is succeeding through a project in Chicago, and Jonathan Pereira tells us more about how it came about.  Plant Chicago is working to help bring the concept of circular economy into practice anywhere they can through education and inspiration. 


Listen in and learn about:

  • Two tracks of his life – environmental education and life performance
  • The Plant – a building and a project with 15 for-profit food business
  • Plant Chicago – a nonprofit, co-located with those business in The Plant, with a mission to develop circular economies
  • Working to eliminate the path to the landfill by tackling material use path and creating regenerative paths
  • Understanding terms like sustainability, regenerative, and circular economy
  • The socioeconomic consideration to this project
  • ‘Co-opertition’ his word for working together while still competing
  • Why helping the competition can be a form of self-help?
  • Farmers Markets and steps to overcome struggles and become a strong community resource
  • The story behind and the people of The Plant
  • The infrastructure of the Plant, including Plant Chicago
  • Examining the waste flow with an example of the Pleasant House Bakery
  • Food waste cycle to the animals
  • Working to incentivize and measure the economic impact of the circular system
  • Understanding the concept of ‘Closed loop, open source’
  • The three program areas of Plant Chicago
  • Why recycling is the last sustainability concept they attempt

As well as:

  • His failure – Trying to get a solar array built on the roof a public school and running into too many hurdles
  • His success – His family and his children especially watching them develop their curiosity for the natural world
  • His drive – Having fun, and appreciating the natural world
  • His advice – Keep having fun, and keep thinking about how you can make a difference, find business that you can support

Jonathan’s Book recommendations:       

Childhood’s End by Arthur C Clarke

How to reach Jonathan:     

 Website: PlantChicago.org


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