Community Leaders Spotlight #2: Zachary Marino

Community Leaders Spotlights feature individuals in our community and yours that practice sustainable, active lifestyles and are models for positive change. Zach leads by example by proving that plants make excellent fuel and is a model for positive change. He is strong, dedicated, and inspiring. 

Introduce yourself: What's your name? Where are you from? What do you do?

My name is Zachary Marino. I grew up in Ottawa, ON and I currently live in Kingston, ON. I work in the field of healthcare. I also enjoy training in (and when the weather is nice, out of) the gym.

What is something you look forward to every day?

Oatmeal and training.

What is one of your biggest goals? How do you plan to achieve it?

I actually recently accomplished a long time goal of mine to qualify for a large CrossFit competition called Wodapalooza in Miami. It’s an annual competition that I had failed to qualify for the previous two years, missing out by only a couple of spots in 2019. I put in a lot of hard work and time in the gym. I experienced a lot of frustration with myself. Pretty typical stuff. 


Right now I’m trying to reorient myself in the grander scheme of life. I’m about to finish my BHSc program through Queen’s University and I’m trying to decide what I want to take as my next step in terms of career progression. I guess once I’ve figured out what that direction is, that will be my next big goal. The hardest part will probably be choosing that direction, working on getting there will be straightforward; put in the work.

Why is being plant-based important to you?  How did you come to practice this lifestyle?

About 3 years ago I had a conversation with a friend about the impact of beef consumption on the environment. That led to cutting beef out of my diet. About a year after that, so 2 years ago, I read more about diets and their environmental impact and decided to cut out all animal products from my diet in order to stop contributing to animal agriculture. Shortly after that decision, “Dominion” came out, which I watched and it further cemented the idea that I was doing the right thing. With how environmentally destructive and resource-intensive animal agriculture is I see it almost as a civic duty and proper stewardship to help reduce the impact we have on the planet. An aspect I think is often overlooked is the heavy antibiotic use in animal agriculture and its contribution to antibiotic resistance.

Working in healthcare was another big selling point for me. I also couldn’t turn a blind eye to how many athletes are plant-based once I looked into that as well. I realized that the myth that you need meat to be healthy was one of the biggest lies I was sold. I can enjoy my food, be healthy and contribute to a better tomorrow. It’s a no brainer in my mind. I’m sure there are lots of things I still do wrong outside of the realm of my diet and I’m learning more as I go, but keeping animal products off my plate was an easy step in what I believe to be the right direction.

If you could post a message seen daily to everyone around the world, what would that message be?

Oh, that’s tough, maybe something like “Run, walk, crawl. Just don’t give up.”

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