As the founder of World Centric, a producer of compostable food service and tableware products, Aseem Das has the future in mind, just as he did when working on artificial intelligence for NASA before founding his Petaluma-based company. But social and environmental issues are a calling for Das, a native on India. World Centric started as a nonprofit in 2004 and initially began producing plant-based food service items to be self-sufficient, but sales grew as others shared Das’ vision for shifting to zero-waste products. Today, World Centric is a certified B corporation, and the company donates at least 25 percent of its profits to grassroots social and environmental organizations. Das lives in Petaluma with his wife of 22 years, Sylvia Dolce, and likes to hike, read and meditate when he has the time.
What books are you reading these days? What books on your shelf are begging to be read?
These days: History of the World in Seven Cheap Things by Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore, Grit by Angela Duckworth
On the shelf: Who Rules the World by Noam Chomsky, Resilient by Rick Hanson and Becoming Supernatural by Joe Espinoza.
What is the benefit from meditation?
Being more present—not getting caught up in day-to-day tribulations, having more focus, connecting more to your intuition and being more appreciative of life.
Who is the first person you tell when something good happens to you?
What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own/owned?
In general, I like clothing that is comfortable, non-synthetic and can last for a while.
If you could eat one food in any quantity for the rest of your life with no ill affects whatsoever, what food would you choose?
What scares you about the future?
That we are not scared enough of what the future may hold for us. Ecologically, we are not addressing issues of global warming, species extinction, forest loss, soil erosion and many other failing ecosystems. Over time, these will impact us and change the way we live, work, and the resources we take for granted. These environmental changes will contribute to and support the growing inequalities between rich and poor, increasing potential for civil unrest, strife, marginalization, displacement of societies and authoritarian power structures.
What’s your favorite beverage?
Would you describe yourself generally as laid back or intense? Why?
Laid back, as its my personality and makes me and others happier this way.
What’s your favorite season of the year and why?
Spring, as it brings warmer weather, flowers, new growth and greenery.
Of all the tools and gadgets you own, which one do you most enjoy using?
I’m not a tool or gadget person. I would have to say my laptop, as I do spend a lot of time on it and do like all that I can do on it.
George Carlin once said, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.” When have you had such a moment?
Life is such a gift, and every breath is the opportunity to appreciate the richness of life around us. There may be special moments in life, but I think they are not necessarily the measure of life—it is the everyday that we live and bringing the appreciation/specialness into the everyday that counts.
What do you think is the greatest problem of the human race?
Selfishness and greed—we tend to focus on ourselves, our comfort, and our needs to the exclusion of others and accumulate much more than what we need.
What is the best way to earn another person’s respect?
If you are respectful, kind, appreciative and loving to the person.
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