1. What drives your environmental work and activism?
My environmental interests were shaped by growing up in North Carolina, where nature was very accessible, and being involved in the Quaker community, which generally places great value on the natural world. Plus, science was really the only subject in school that could keep my attention. I do not really consider myself an activist, but rather more of a pragmatist. Our economy is not constructed in a way that values the natural world, and I would like to help change that.
2. What was one of your most exciting and rewarding achievements?
Riding a bicycle without training wheels.
3. Who is your hero (or someone you admire greatly)?
As I child my heroes were always my summer camp counselors. I think that’s still a pretty good answer.
4. What are your favorite and frequently visited websites, and why?
The LA Times, to keep up with the news, local and otherwise, and Engadget, to keep up with nerdy stuff. For my really local news, I go to the Daily Breeze. And, of course, https://thereserve2.apx.com/, to stay informed on domestic carbon offset projects.
5. What was your most recent “That oughta be a law!” thought?
Lawmakers should have to simplify or remove an existing law for every new law that they want to introduce. There should also be term limits on all politicians; it should not be a lifelong career option.
6. What is a tip you’d like to share for leading a more sustainable life?
Small, personal changes are helpful, but so are big shifts. As a customer/client/constituent/investor/etc., use your voice to push for companies and lawmakers to adopt changes that can make a significant difference. We need activists on the outside with signs and slogans, but we also need activists on the inside who can create a culture of sustainability.
7. Please share a personal story that ties in with one of the Reserve’s protocol sectors.
Our first forest project outside of California is on the Alligator River in NC. When I was about 13, my family was on a weekend sailing trip down the NC coast, and ended up marooned in the middle of the Alligator River for four to six hours until someone could come free the boat and tow us to a marina. As far as I know, there are not actually any alligators there, but it’s still not a pleasant place to be stuck at night.
8. If you could spend one week in a natural area in the U.S., where would it be?
Rock climbing in Joshua Tree National Park (in the fall).
9. What is an environmental book that you think should be required reading in schools?
An ecology text book.
10. What is your favorite meal?
Every time I go back to NC, I have to get a pulled pork sandwich and hush puppies, as soon as possible. Nobody in CA can make decent NC pulled pork.
11. What is something about you that your professional peers would be surprised to learn?
Prior to my time at the Reserve (4 years now), my longest stretch of professional experience was 3 years selling fancy olive oils and other Mediterranean goodies when I first moved to Los Angeles.