Jo King is Positive Earth’s Head of Operations and all-round multi-disciplined ninja! She is a skilled business environmentalist and digital media entrepreneur who describes her happy place as “innovating in the nexus where environment, finance, marketing and tech meet”. Jo has extensive experience in media, NPO, SME and startups and is motivated to bring her passion for the planet to the table and inspire the growth of sustainable businesses.
When Jo is not heading up the ops at Positive Earth, she is creating avenues and platforms for sharing African stories through a project called The Journal of African Youth Literature (JAY Lit) of which she is a Founding Director. JAY Lit seeks to preserve African youth identities by seeking out those without access to academic playing fields and providing them with the tools and skills to share their hearts and minds with each other and the world. The journal is a grassroots Pan-African, anti-xenophobic cultural exchange project with a mission to ensure that the African heritage of campfire story-sharing will not be denied its rightful place in the global cannon.
Jo is also absolutely mad about flowers and dogs, and has a very special talent for concocting magical healing tea blends in her spare time!
You are a self-professed biophiliac. What is your earliest memory of being astonished by the natural world?
Hiking in the Drakensberg mountains with my father as a small child; he would put me in his backpack and off we’d go. I had the best seat for plant and animal watching on those hikes and I still have very clear memories of sheer AWE as he climbed up steeper inclines while I marveled at the landscape below!
Why do you believe it is important for humans to have a connection to nature in order to thrive?
All other earth beings thrive because of their pure connection to nature and an innate understanding of their place within their specific ecosystem, and it should not be any different for us humans. Our disconnection to nature equals disaster. For us, and the other creatures we share this cool space rock with. Connecting to nature is life-affirming and should be as habitual for us as drinking coffee.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Whatever you believe, everyone can agree that our planet is literally paradise. If we can just leave the space we each occupy on this planet better than we found it, then we will achieve sustainability.
Sustainability is becoming increasingly important for all companies, across all industries. What does the future of business look like to you?
Two things. Firstly, the end of the age of combustion! Fossil fuel companies and industrial dinosaurs collapse, cleantech takes over and rectifies multiple climate change, environmental and socio-economic problems! Secondly, women and diversity in top leadership roles become the majority and business becomes a safer, more ethical space for everyone.
If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Ignore the naysayers, your aptitude test said “gardener” for a reason.
If you could host a dinner party and invite three guests – dead or alive – who would they be and why?
Environmental activist Greta Thunberg, revolutionary political leader/philanthropist Nelson Mandela, and indigenous land protector/climate justice warrior Quannah ChasingHorse – they each share the kind of braveness that can change the world.