From a young age Theo was asking the big questions, like “Why can’t we all live more sustainably?” As an adult, this evolved into, “Why can’t businesses be good for people and the planet?” And after Theo’s recent move to DC to launch Cambium Carbon, his business which saves fallen city trees from landfills and turns them into usable wood, he’s answering these questions himself. He and his CO-founders started the business amid the pandemic in May 2020, starting much of the business virtually. We sat down with this cerebral go-getter to learn more about what he thinks of his new city, how he connects with his Jewishness, and why he likes to look at the world upside down.
Thanks! I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico and went to college in Colorado. I’ve been here since May this year, and I’ve loved exploring the city and meeting new people!
Theo: I think I’d wake up early to get more in. I recently joined a handstand gym, so the day would start with one of their classes. Then I’d get a yummy breakfast somewhere, although I’m still looking for my “go-to breakfast place” (open to suggestions!). Then I’d bike down to The Mall on the Rock Creek Trail, and then do a few exhibits in various museums, like the Natural History, Air & Space, and Native American Museums. Then I’d grab lunch at the food trucks and take an art in the park class. I’d spend the rest of the afternoon meandering neighborhoods and just absorbing all that was going on.
Theo: I’m a big board game fan! Getting a group of friends together with good food to play games is fun. I also love to get outside. It’s hard for me to sit still so I make a point to take a walk outside everyday to get some fresh air and slow down. I love a long run, particularly through Rock Creek Park. And a good stretch with calming music is a great way to slow down.
Theo: Yes! One of my favorite things I did this year was train and then run an ultra-marathon.
Theo: Well, when it comes to Jewish food, you can’t go wrong with a warm bowl of matzah ball soup or a freshly-baked challah!
Theo: Yes, for sure. One of my favorite holidays is Passover. Growing up we would have big gatherings with food, family, and friends—we would even act out the story of Moses! Over the past few years, it has turned into a way to bring friends (Jews and non-Jews) together. I’ve connected to my Jewishness largely through my family. I grew up Jewish, but have become more culturally Jewish than religiously over the years. But I am looking to expand what my definition of Jewish community looks like.
Theo: I’m not sure if this fits the role model category, but I’m a fan of Viktor Frankel’s Man’s Search for Meaning and his account of surviving the Holocaust. Talking about life, pain, suffering, and what we’re all doing here.
Theo: Fun question! I’d say Miriam, Jesus, and Mohammed. I think it would be a really interesting conversation. Maybe invite Buddha to get another perspective. I love the idea of getting people together to discuss this crazy life and how we make sense of it all. Especially folks from different backgrounds!
Theo: A fact I like to share is that I have farmed on every continent in the world except for Antarctica.
Theo: I’m not sure about “best describes me,” but I’m a big fan of Lyra Belacqua from His Dark Materials series. She’s curious, adventurous, courageous, and has a bias toward action. She doesn’t wait for people to give her approval, she makes it happen on her own. I’d say those are all qualities I aim to integrate into my life.
Theo: Ha! I don’t know what happens when Jews of DC gather yet! But I’m excited to find out!