Sustainable Living Influencer Ashley Renne, Food Waste–What a Fiasco! Steward—Helping Crowdfund Regenerative Farming, Gyapa Stoves Fight Climate Change in Ghana

by | Feb 3, 2022 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Sustainable living Influencer Ashley Renne, plus food waste–what a fiasco! Steward—helping crowdfund regenerative farming, and Gyapa Stoves fighting climate change In Ghana for 20 years!



Ashley Renne was a travel influencer visiting Bali one year when she encountered huge piles of trash on the beach. “I was never the same after that,” she recalls. That experience started her newfound passion for environmentalism. So, in 2019, Renne left her glamorous travel influencer career to educate people about sustainable living. 

Sustainable living aims to reduce personal and societal environmental impact by making positive changes which counteract climate change and other negative environmental concerns. An intended, additional benefit of that has been a reduction in her carbon footprint.

Renne built a platform to inspire us to bridge individual action with systemic change to fight climate change. Renne uses her platform to show how sustainability is an easily achievable lifestyle for average Janes and Joes. Her areas of influence include ending animal exploitation, protection of biodiversity, and healthy bodies through sustainable, plant-based lifestyle changes. 

Why does Ashley Rene matter to us? Because she’s authentic. Her first attempt to write about environmental degradation that she’d witnessed didn’t go well. She got called out for her lack of knowledge. Of it she said,  “I decided to completely alter my lifestyle so I could not only talk the talk but walk the walk.”

DEEPER DIVE: Shout Out Atlanta, SHG Living, Emerald Insight



Rob Greenfield is a dumpster diver and sustainability activist on a mission to effect positive change on Earth.  At the age of 24 he started to become aware of environmental and social issues. So, In 2014 at the age of 28, Greenfield created The Food Waste Fiasco – a campaign aimed at ending food waste and hunger in the U.S. How does he bring awareness to the issue? Dumpster diving.

For several years, Greenfield drove across the US and dove into more than 2,000 dumpsters to demonstrate how nearly half of all food in the U.S. is wasted while 50 million (1 in 7) Americans are food insecure. He would drive to a city, get support for the dives through social media, go dumpster diving and then the next day set up his find in a public park. People were always shocked and angry by how much food was wasted.

Why does the Food Waste Fiasco campaign matter to us?  According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reports that 30 percent of food is wasted globally across the supply chain, contributing 8 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions. If food waste were a country, it would come in third after the United States and China in terms of impact on global warming.

It turns out reducing food waste is one of the most important things we can do to reverse global warming. In fact, cutting down on food waste could have nearly the same impact on reducing emissions over the next three decades as onshore wind turbines.

More than 70 billion tons of greenhouse gases could be prevented from being released into the atmosphere. Reducing food waste represents one of the greatest possibilities for individuals, companies and communities to contribute to reversing global warming and at the same time feed more people, increase economic benefits and preserve threatened ecosystems.

DEEPER DIVE:  Rob Greenfield, The Huffington Post, Feeding America 



Regenerative farming is one of many things: it’s the way of the future; it’s the key to re-sequestering massive amounts of carbon in soil-which is a key component to fighting climate change; and it’s a sustainable way to bring local farming back to locales. What it’s not right now, is cost-efficient.

That’s why a company like Steward exists. Steward is an innovative financial partner for regenerative agriculture. It enables small and mid-sized farmers to raise capital from responsible agricultural lenders to grow their businesses. The company’s catchphrase is “Stewarding the Future of Farming.”

Dan Miller launched Steward in 2017. Prior to Steward, he co-founded Fundrise, touted as the world’s first US real estate crowdfunding platform. Fundrise raised almost a half billion dollars. While Miller will wax nostalgically about his east coast roots and his days spent crabbing on the Chesapeake Bay with his father, what became his “big why” was a conversation he had with a well-known Washington, DC chef.

The chef, a fan of local, farm-to-table fare lamented how the farmers who supplied his restaurants were hard pressed to get bank loans because the farmers were highly specialized. Miller set out to find a way to crowdfund sustainable, regenerative farmers, arguing that those the crowds funding had the most to gain from the success of these farmers.

Steward works by funding specific agro projects or campaigns. According to its website Steward has successfully funded 59 loans and 9 regenerative capital projects since 2017 totaling about $10M.

If you’re interested in getting in on the action, there are two campaigns open on the website: a Steward Regenerative Capital campaign. Its goal is to raise $6M by March 31, 2022 to fund short term bridge loans to a diverse collection of farmers. The other is a crowdfunding loan campaign to raise $1.4M for Studio Hill Farm in Shaftsbury, VT.

Check out to learn more, or check out the Deeper Dive section of this story at




2022 marks the 20th anniversary of the Gyapa Improved Cook Stove in Ghana. EnterpriseWorks Ghana launched the ‘Gyapa’ with funding from USAID and the Shell Foundation.The stove was designed to address the problem of carbon emissions and deforestation.

40% of the world cooks over open flames, producing an estimated 2-5% of annual global CO2e emissions. More than 80 percent of Ghana’s population of 29.6 million people depend on solid fuels such as wood and charcoal for cooking. As a result, Ghana has one of the fastest rates of rainforest deforestation in the world. 

The Gyapa stove uses 50 percent less fuel than other stoves used in that region. The reduction of carbon emissions is made possible because of the ceramic liner which more efficiently absorbs and retains heat.The Gyapa stoves are handmade locally. The metal casings are also sourced from recycled scrap metal. 

Why does the Gyapa stove matter to us? The latest numbers indicate that the 1.5 million stoves sold have helped avoid the release of over 4.4 million tons of CO2. That’s equivalent to removing almost 53-thousand tanker trucks of gasoline, or the amount of coal filling over 22-thousand rail cars burned.

The Gyapa stove also recently won a UN Global Climate Action award.

DEEPER DIVE:  Climate Care, Relief International, Gyapa, EPA Calculator