Degrees Episode 02: Chris Castro

Climate intrapreneurship: Think big, start small, scale fast!

Chris on a Fleet Farm “Swarm”

Chris Castro joined the City of Orlando as the Director of Sustainability and Resilience in 2016, but his title doesn’t even begin to capture Chris’s drive to fight climate change and environmental injustice. In just a few years, he’s helped start solar co-ops. He’s increased electric vehicle adoption. And he’s helped low-income residents invest in clean energy.

Chris believes that greening a city doesn’t just help fight climate change. It also helps communities and families prosper. One of his most exciting initiatives reduces the massive carbon footprint of the food we eat– and also helps feed families. It’s called fleet farming, and it turns front lawns into working farms.

Fair warning: Chris is going to completely upend the way that you think about city government forever.

Show notes

  • 03:52 – Chris talks about the origins of “fleet farming” and mindset for starting anything: “Think big, start small, scale fast”.
  • 06:19 – Chris describes “swarms” as an strategy for community engagement in fleet farming.
  • 07:44 – Details of commercial food production today, how it impacts climate change, and the solutions Chris is implementing.
  • 10:57 – How planting 5,000 palm trees nurtured Chris’ work ethic.
  • 12:22 – Yesh brings up “Ideas for Us”, the global nonprofit Chris started, and Chris describes its University of Central Florida origins.
  • 15:17 – Chris talks about the concept of “intrapreneurship”
  • 16:06 – Chris’ perspectives on the upsides – and downsides – of having a mission-driven career.
  • 20:19 – Yesh asks what Chris’ advice for young people coming up (spoiler alert: as much hands-on, experiential learning as possible).
  • 22:10 – Chris goes into detail about green initiatives he’s bringing to Orlando.

Dig deeper

Chris’ daughter, Coraline, in the garden

Want to learn more about some of the initiatives that Chris spoke about? Follow these links:

Follow Chris

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About Degrees

Produced by Environmental Defense Fund and hosted by Yesh Pavlik Slenk, Degrees is part club, part roadmap, part therapy session, Degrees is where you can hear in-depth, up-close conversations with changemakers who are actively using their careers to make a meaningful impact.

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