This week on Impact Everywhere, we wish to first acknowledge those rising up in opposition of police brutality. While this weeks’ podcast does not address the issue of racial injustice, Casson and our host Von Wong both stand in solidarity with the courageous activists speaking truth to power in city streets across the United States. Black Lives Matter.

With that being said, today we present to you Casson Trenor, one of the most diverse ocean activists we have ever encountered. He’s a children’s author of the book Umijoo, founder of the sustainable sushi restaurant Shizen, and valiant whale defender. He explores what it’s like to have a ‘why’ without knowing how, and his input is not limited to ocean activism. Please consider his words in the context of your own lives, and especially how they are applicable to different approaches for how we can dismantle the systemic racism built in the United States and around the world.

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Key Lessons from this Episode:

What to do if you have a “why” but not a “how”

There are many causes I’m sure we all care about. But it can often be difficult to comprehend how we can make a difference. Follow the “why” down the different paths it takes you, and don’t be afraid if you don’t find the right way immediately. Also important is to have faith in your medium.

Casson cares deeply about the ocean, but it was only after having a near-death experience while participating in anti-whaling activities that he realized this wasn’t the right way for him. So, he changed course and found a multitude of new strategies to protect and advocate for the ocean and its inhabitants.

The importance of Design in books and food

Words have the power to change even the stubbornest minds. But given to children they can totally shape how a child grows up viewing the world. Colors, textures, and illustrations are as important to conveying a message as the words themselves. Just the same, the intricacies of taste and presentation can make people reconsider how they have always thought about food and where it comes from. Check out the podcast if you want to hear how Casson designed his book, Umijoo, and what went into his sustainable sushi restaurant, Shizen.

How to measure impact and when it becomes enough

Sometimes sales as a metric for Impact can be disheartening, so looking for proof of inspiration as a result of your action is vital. For Casson, this proof came in the form of messages of support and seeing that a stingray had been named after his book, Umijoo. Seeing the inspiration sparked by his book is important because we change people and their actions through inspiration, not force.

What to do if you’re feeling stuck in these difficult times

When things get tougher we get stronger. We have been given the opportunity as humans globally to check ourselves and re-evaluate our paths in life. Follow what you believe in and find something that you’re proud of.

How to transform a negative into a positive

Casson loves to find ways to re-frame a problem. In this time of COVID-19, Casson sees the opportunity to re-frame the narrative around single-use plastic as a tool exclusively for life-saving situations like PPE. How might you re-frame the challenges that you face?

Get yourself a copy of his children’s book, Umijoo! Now is the perfect time to share it with your family.


“Yeah we are selling books, but we are also inspiring people.” — @CassonTrenor[0:05:38]

“It just became more and more clear, little by little that I needed to be able to connect everything that I did every day to something that I believed in.” — @CassonTrenor[0:08:51]

“There is nothing that is impossible when you have the right team.” — @CassonTrenor[0:13:45]

“There is nothing like feeding somebody and watching their eyes light up.” — @CassonTrenor[0:15:28]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Benjamin Von Wong
Impact Everywhere
Casson Trenor on Twitter
Ocean Plastics Leadership Summit
Umijoo Website
Caia Koopman
David Epstein
Photographers Without Borders
Danielle Da Silva

Coming Up Next:

Next week, tune in for a conversation with Danielle Da Silva. Danielle founded Photographers Without Borders and will be discussing managing ethics, de-colonization, and impact diversity and inclusion. Make sure to subscribe to the podcast here so you don’t miss it.