Although many UNH students are familiar with Young’s Restaurant and Coffee Shop, they might not know as much about owner Ken Young and the work he does to benefit environmental causes.
“I’m a big advocate of nature and taking care of what we can control. And I think most of the things that hurt the world can be controlled by our own being, and I think that a lot of it is just awareness and education that helps,” Young said.
Young and his wife Kathy have owned and operated Young’s Restaurant since 1990. Prior to that point, he worked under his father’s management at the restaurant. His concern for the environment carries over into his business practices.
“First of all, a lot of things we can control ourselves. So for me that means, how can I best help society and also the environment? So I have a 35 by 34 [feet] garden that we source organic practices and food for the restaurant. I don’t use any pesticides, so we make our own veggie burgers from the roasted veggies that I have. And in here, we’ve had sustainability efforts,” Young said. “All our rafters have got closed-cell insulation, and I’ve brought my [carbon dioxide] emissions down.”
Young’s dedication to environmental causes goes beyond just his restaurant. On June 4, he will be participating in Climb for Conservation for the first time by trekking Macchu Picchu.
“Well the Climb for Conservation, they’re a group that works on creating awareness for species all around the world that are struggling. All species are struggling,” Young said. “In our case, we are climbing for the awareness of the Andean spectacled bear, the only bear remaining in South America. It’s a beautiful, beautiful bear, and so I’m very excited.”
Young will be climbing Macchu Picchu within the Inca trails for seven days with a group of 10 other hikers. He said he sees it as both a great cause and a way to see more of the world.
“What I do is I mountain climb. I’ve climbed four of the seven summits, and each time I travel I try to see another part of the world, other cultures, and how other people live,” Young said. “My feeling and belief is that Americans live in a bubble. We don’t know anything that’s going on around us except for what we care about.”
Young said he is also a firm believer in the ability of private businesses to bring about positive environmental and social change, and he disagrees with the notion that all private businesses are harmful to the environment.
“There’s a conception out there that businesses are mean and not good,” Young said. “And it very much upsets me. There are a lot of good business people out there, and you never even hear about it. Yes, there are businesses that go over the edge, there’s no question about it. But I think we also over-bash what good businessmen are doing.”
Young said that UNH students could get involved with supporting him in his journey in multiple ways.
“They can follow me or like me on Facebook, if they want to make a donation. I’m going to be raising a plea next week for all my friends on Facebook,” he said. “If they all donated $10, I could raise over $40,000 for this cause.”
Students can also make donations either by dropping them off inside the restaurant, or by going on Young’s GoFundMe page.
Young does not plan to stop his mountain climbing after this expedition.
“After this seven-day trip, I’m going to the Cordillera Blanca area for 15 days to climb the tallest peak in Peru, which is over 22,000 feet,” he said.
“I’ve climbed over 500 peaks in the White Mountains,” Young said in regards to his love for mountain climbing. “This is a great way to tie in my passion for nature and hiking to do something good.”