35. Plants, Sustainable Living & Being Multi-Passionate with Jonathan Drori CBE

Jonathan Drori

Plants & Science

A taste for plants…

Jonathan Drori is multi-passionate in the fullest sense of the word. His interests and expertise span everything from engineering to science and education, documentary filmmaking and writing books to being on the boards of Raspberry Pi and the Eden Project. He’s also an ambassador for the Woodland Trust and WWF. You’ll hear how plants gave Jon a literal taste for history (hint, hint) as we chat about his latest book Around the World in 80 Plants.

Jon’s Links


  • The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna. “It’s ironic and it’s optimistic and it has a kind of wonderful philosophy of life in it, but it is laugh out loud funny. It is absolutely delightful. And I can’t recommend it highly enough”.

Get Environmentally Active

As an active environmentalist, Jon has several suggestions:

Join an Environmental Organisation
  • “It’s not about the money, though the money is helpful. It’s actually about lending your voice, and an organisation that has hundreds of thousands or millions of followers and members will be much more powerful in terms of lobbying governments than an organisation with tens of thousands”.
Move Towards a Plant-Based Diet

Make sure you have lots of plant-based meals and make them social.

  • “More than three-quarters of the soy and more than three-quarters of the maze that we grow is fed to animals. And that’s a terribly inefficient way of feeding ourselves. It uses up an enormous amount of land, which was once forest and once was biodiverse and once was storing carbon. So, moving towards a plant-based diet is one of the things that we can absolutely do”.
Avoid Fossil Fuels
    1. Switch your energy supplier to a renewable one.
    2. Don’t keep buying things that you don’t need.
    3. Fly less.

Jon’s TED Talks

Exploring plants and science, in all their wonder and strangeness…

Explore Multiple Careers

If you have access to health care, enough food to eat and a roof over your head, what’s next? You’re in a privileged position to be able to dare to dream.

Listen to the full episode to hear how Jon has explored multiple career paths.

Be open to the opportunities that life gives you.

Jonathan Drori

Packing for an Expedition

You’ll need…

  1. Separate containers for things, properly labelled.
  2. More plastic bags than you think you’ll ever needβ€”yes, and reuse them! They keep out moisture and dust (perfect for camera & recording equipment).
  3. Tins & Tupperware boxes “but Tupperware that have corners rather than the rounded sort, because they are not an efficient use of space”.

When you’re going somewhere that is maybe a desert or a jungle, or somewhere that’s very different, and you need to be working in that place, it’s really worthwhile spending the time packing wellβ€”to pack properly.

Jonathan Drori

Style Notes

After chatting with Jon, I have newfound respect for breast pockets.

“If you’re going to a hot place, I really like shirts that have chest pockets that shut so that you can carry your passport and valuables somewhere they’re not going to get lost or stolen. I mean, they do slightly give you man boobs but, you know, my PΓ‘ramo shirt that is unrippable and indestructible with its fantastic breast pocketsβ€”I wouldn’t be without it”.Β