The EcoGrrl Interview: Chris



Chris is a friend as well as a software engineer, urban homesteader, husband to the awesome Bethany, and new dad!  I met him originally when I hired him at my last company, and soon learned they live right in my neighborhood.  Remember my blog post on duck sitting?  Yep, that’s them!  Great people I look forward to more meetups with at the pub in 2013!

What or who inspires you most? Dennis Kucinich.

What do you turn to when you need strength?   Beer 🙂

How can women best support and/or empower other women?

I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer this?

What do you love to grow? What would you like to try growing someday? Flour corn and winter squash—they are super easy and provide tons of food that is very simple to store over the winter.  I really want to successfully grow Brussels Sprouts some day… we keep trying and failing.

What are your creative outlets?  Is there anything you’ve always wanted to try but you haven’t? Programming and working on software / web sites is always a fulfilling creative outlet for me.  Trying to design my garden is another.  I’ve always wanted to try bike camping or doing a long multi-day bike tour, but haven’t made time for it yet.

In what environment(s) do you feel most in your element?   Hiking in the mountains!

Who are your top nonprofits you support and/or volunteer with and why?

  1. Friends of Trees – great cause, super local, see the results of your efforts in your own community

  2. NE Portland Tool Library – same as above.

What recent “green” change have you made in your own life?  What’s next? We got some pet ducks to help improve the fertility of our soil without needing to rely on fertilizers, to help us with pest control, and to provide us with fresh eggs.  Next up is an energy audit of our home.

Where in the world do you consider a sanctuary?  Why? Hiking in the Alps in Switzerland.  It’s so easy to get around without relying on automobiles, and it’s so pristine there.  If you want to, you can hike for days, lodging exclusively at the hiking huts and completely immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the landscape without coming into any contact with roads or cars or other artifacts of city life.

What advice would you give to your younger self? Learn about where your food comes from.  Doing so will inspire you to be more involved in choosing it, growing it, and appreciating it, and will open the door to exploring a fascinating and important science that our current culture and educational systems do not give us enough exposure to.

How can we as a society be more radical in supporting a healthy planet? Taxing goods and services based on their environmental impact, rather than only based on economic factors.  The easiest first step would be to stop subsidizing the production of fossil fuels and potentially taxing them based on their carbon emissions.  This would help to quickly awaken people to the previously hidden environmental costs of their actions, which would promote real change rather than the mainstream green-washing that we are seeing so much of today.

What sparked your interest in environmental issues?   What’s the first “eco” thing you ever did? Someone sent me a news article about “Peak Oil”, and the potentially disastrous social, economic, and environmental consequences of our dependence on non-renewable, polluting energy sources.  This inspired me to start riding my bike more and driving less.  Eventually, learning about the relationship between the fossil fuel industry and our commercial agricultural system inspired me to become more connected to my food and start learning about gardening.

How do you live simply? Try to stay out of the car as much as possible!  This results in minimizing trips both in terms of quantity and distance.

Could you leave us with a favorite quote of yours? “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” ~ Bill Mollison


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