Member Interview – Tomer Shapira, 07/13

I am the Zero Waste Projects Manager for the San Francisco Conservation Corps. The SFCC offers young people opportunities to develop themselves, their academic abilities and marketable job skills while addressing community needs through service work. Corpsmembers are young adults aged 18-26 who join our job training and education program and work in teams on landscaping, recycling, playground renovation and community education projects that enhance the environment of San Francisco. I have been working with the SFCC since February of 2010.

I manage the Zero Waste Pojects program for the SFCC. This includes an environmental literacy program, doing waste audits for schools and businesses, community presentations and trainings on compliance with the City of San Francisco’s 2020 Zero Waste goals. In addition, we run a business enterprise offering Zero Waste education and services for special events and venues throughout San Francisco. You will find SFCC Zero Waste crews working events almost every weekend of the year – we are a society of consumption, and waste does not stop accumulating – and so our job is never finished. As some of the crew like to say; “Trash doesn’t sleep, so neither can we.” The SFCC works events as small as a few hundred people to as large as 100,000. We work music festivals, concerts, sporting events food, wine and beer tasting events, trade shows, marathons, run/walk fundraisers, art shows, you name it.

I graduated from UC Santa Cruz as a double major in Environmental Studies and Community Studies, with a focus on sustainable development and social justice. After interning with Global Exchange in 2006, I was hired on to help manage the volunteer greening program for the San Francisco Green Festival, which led to me providing the same role nationally for all Green Festivals in the U.S. From there, I began to do contract work at large-scale events and music festivals around the country, helping design and implement volunteer greening & Zero Waste programs for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, and festivals like Rothbury Music Festival, Bonnaroo, and Outside Lands in San Francisco.

Believe it or not, I even enjoy working in Zero Waste when I am off the clock on weekends. I still like to help out my friends and colleagues with their projects. Its almost difficult for me to attend a music festival without being involved with the Zero Waste effort – I don’t know what to do with myself! Aside from that, I am an avid reader and enjoy being outdoors as much as possible.

I am inspired by creativity and the opportunity for growth. I am inspired by the natural processes of life, taking the good with the bad, and making the most of one’s situation. I also really like situations where you have to think on your feet on put out ‘fires’ on the spot. I feel like I am at my most inspired in those circumstances.

I’ve been a DJ since high school (only slowing down in the past few years as I’ve been busy with my career), and had a successful weekly radio program for 2 years during college. Also, English is my second language.

I am in love with SE Asia and really like tropical weather, beach time during the winter, and scuba diving – so I’ll go with Thailand and Indonesia for as long as possible.

Book: The Lord Of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien and Ecotopia, by Ernest Callenbach.
Meal And/Or Restaurant: Good sushi – I want to plug my favorite place, it’s called Ariake and its on Geary and 14th in San Francisco – best fish in town.
Person: Is it cheesy to say my Grandmother? She’s passed on, but still my favorite.
Recycled Product: Probably the sock monster I made out of one of my old, ill-fitting socks, when I learned how to sew.
Song, Movie Or Show: Song: Anything by Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding or Curtis Mayfield. Movie: The original Star Wars Trilogy, anything involving Ray Harryhausen, and like Jessica, I really like The Fountain. Show: Currently, Game Of Thrones and Mad Men.

Technology: The internet. Never has the ability to learn and exchange knowledge across the globe been this available and immediate to the widest population of people. I believe that encouraging computer literacy in diverse populations is an important world-wide social movement.

Time Management Technique: I start every day by creating a list of 5 things I want to accomplish on that given day. I’ve found that setting goals that are tangible is an important way for me to make sure it gets done, and builds momentum. For bigger long term projects, I try to set sub-goals that will allow me to tackle things piece by piece and still feel like I am making progress.