Ronnie Das wanted people and businesses to embrace the green lifestyle as he has, but needed a way to spread the word more effectively. So he came up with a local TV show he hosts and produces called How Can I Help?, which showcases San Diego businesses, industries, farms, and non-profit groups making a difference by educating, implementing, or currently using green and sustainable practices. He’s found that by inspiring youth to consider emerging environmental industries to find successful careers, they can become leaders in sustainability.
Q: What was your favorite subject outside of your major at UC San Diego?
I began college thinking of being a doctor because I enjoyed biology,
but in actuality really just enjoyed trivia. If evolution is slow and
all the answers are relatively the same, stating an answer in the form
of a question was pretty much what I thought a doctor had to do.
Unfortunately, they also had to do organic chemistry which is not my
I graduated with a B.A. in environmental systems/environmental policy
because I liked the idea of working outside. At one point was also
considering sociology because talking to people is a lot fun, but
couldn't figure out how to get paid for having that degree. So I guess
somewhere in those three subjects was my favorite subject outside my
Q: What course or faculty made the biggest impression on you?
If you didn't read the course description, HISC104 Western Environmental
History sounded like it would be about the politics of Western Europe
and the United States, but “San Diego has a unique coastal sage scrub
Eco TV Producer and Host
He has planted over 1 million seeds, plants, and trees in San Diego
chaparral ecosystem with an integration from the North Sonoma Desert
which stretches from Mexico and allows for us to have the Cholla Cactus
in the East County” is probably not the first sentence you would hear if
that were the case. It was a rough start, but Professor Hineline was
memorable, made the information entertaining and kept me informed and
wanting to learn more. Also, the next day I had an interview with the
City of San Diego Environmental Services Department at the Miramar
Native Plant Nursery for my first boss, Burton Ewert, whose first
question was “What do you know about the diverse habitats in San Diego?”
It was a class and a career in a field I may not have considered.
Q: What was your favorite place to hang out?
UCSD is like no other place on the planet so take time to walk around
and really enjoy the architecture and environment. The ecological
reserves (thank you Paul Dayton and David Holway), amazing ocean views
and freshman year in 708 at Sixth College was one of the best
experiences of my life (thanks Olga and Marina). I think the open
courtyard just makes it the best college on campus regardless of who
wins the shoe. Of course I always enjoyed hanging out at Porter’s Pub as
Q: What book did you last read (or are currently reading) and who is your favorite author?
“The President's Brain is Missing” by John Scalzi is 30 pages and I got
it on an application from my phone. It takes a seemingly bizarre idea
and really puts in the pieces to make it plausible, then offers a great
twist at the end. It really reminds me of something by Chuck Palahniuk
who is probably one of my favorite authors.
I like when assumptions must be changed quickly and any good planning
starts relying on instincts or ideas you can think of on the spot. It’s
important to always be prepared but it’s exciting to find a new angle.
When I was younger, Roald Dahl had so much rhythm and sound with his
writing that when you relax it seems like you can hear how Oompa Loompas
would sing, but other times you just have to skip past the song and say
so long to Violet. Enjoying reading, just like life, it takes patience.
It is great to know UCSD is Dr. Seuss approved because as a kid he was
by far one of the great foundations for my imagination and an
inspiration in education. Even while working in restoration it was a
strange realization to see how clearly some of his creations in
illustrations had elements of the local environment. Dr. Seuss is
probably one of the best examples of loving your environment and
Q: What is your “X Factor” – the key trait or quality that has helped you to succeed in your career and/or life?
Keep a practical imagination because success begins where your ego ends.
Follow your strengths, but acknowledge your weaknesses and take the
time to improve.
Q: What do you know now, that you wish you knew then?
Trying my best means listening instead of waiting for my turn to speak,
managing my life closely and enjoying time with family and friends.
On the same planet people can lead nations and armies while others do
not have time for a shower. Develop priorities and be punctual.
Everyone has the right to speak and by listening you can find common ground and enjoy more out of conversations.
Procrastinating is selfish and makes it seem impossible to accomplish anything.
Q: Do you give back to UC San Diego? If so, how and why (time, talent or treasure)?
I was the keynote speaker for the 2012 Environmental Systems Symposium
and Alumni Reunion. In addition to guest lecture opportunities, it is
always a pleasure to share resources, provide student internships in
most undergraduate fields throughout the campus and spend time with
students, professors, alumni, faculty and community members. By building
a better relationship through a stronger network we can develop a forum
to discuss new ideas, innovations and policies that help everyone.
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