The EcoGrrl Interview: Eve

Eve


eveoakley

Eve is a writer and a connector, doing her own thing here in Portland.  Along with the cool work she gets paid for, she also blogs.  She was introduced to me recently by a coaching client who said something to the effect of, hey, you’re both great connectors, you should know each other.  While I haven’t had the chance to meet her in person yet, she seems incredible and I look forward to that day!

What or who inspires you most? People who are smart, creative, and achieve the amazing with what’s around them. There are so many ways to get inspired! Recently, the design world and people at related PDX events have pushed my project limits, shaping the way I problem solve and view the (professional) world in which I find myself. That’s been a particular fresh brand of fun, especially as I connect to a new group of creatives. Just talking to new people with great ideas and varied, positive approaches is inspiring to me.

One of my clients and pals provides the ultimate inspiration for recycling, reusing, repurposing, the focus is on using salvage for home renovation and decoration.For some immediate inspiration, see: http://www.replaceinpdx.com/.


What do you turn to when you need strength? Digging in the dirt really grounds me (no pun intended – it DOES.)  If I am not working in the garden or cultivating my worm ranching skills, I usually go for a run to get the endorphins cranking. That clears my head – as does organizing my kitchen/bedroom drawers, or the basement boxes – and then I get down to business! A tidy personal space allows for my control freak mind to settle and then I can better think of how to string big, pretty words together. When really low or anxious, I’m not above asking for a pep talk from one of my dear ones.


How can women best support and/or empower other women? First, by listening to and sharing their stories – empathic listening is key. (Empathic listening is key, here, too, as is asking good questions to draw out the gems.) Sharing stories and ideas for creative solutions/endeavors gives value to what we’re all doing in our own ways.  It’s as inspiring and important to tell your own story – to get your story straight for your own personal or professional narrative – as it is to hear what others got cookin’ and learn from their recipes for success.


What do you love to grow? What would you like to try growing someday? Think: kale. My vegetable garden, nay, my garden, period, is one of my favoritecreations. I like to grow new varieties of veggies each season, and express my creativity in garden design by mixing and mingling edibles and annuals and natives – like kale and artichokes alongside the tulips, strawberries near the peonies and dahlias, sword ferns next to hops and hollyhock. There’s a fantastic seed library in my hood, and I plan to swap out seeds from seasons past with some new heirloom varieties for the coming summer (yes, it’s on its way!). You never know what seeds will be there, which is half the fun of the hunt, of course. The discovery of something new, and the challenge of creating a vibrant environment in which new beings can thrive and be on display – and then be eaten or enjoyed in other ways. I’ve recently redesigned parts of my front yard, amending the soil, adding more natives that attract pollinators, and rethinking water retention and run off.


What are your creative outlets?  Is there anything you’ve always wanted to try but you haven’t? My creative outlets span garden, home, and floral design, writing, photography, singing. After spending years (years!) completely remodeling very inch of my house, I’d like to learn some new skills related to destruction / construction. I’m a hack tiler, for instance, but I’m planning a mosaic fireplace landing pad and mantel for the next creative phase at home. We’ll see how it turns out. (Tips and resources for inspiration welcome!)


In what environment(s) do you feel most in your element? At the beach. In or near water. In the forest. In nature or in a library (personal or public, old college campus, especially). I love to hike, backpack, and swim, swim, swim. And read. And, read in nature.

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

  1. Art on Alberta (board member)

  2. Creative Advocacy Network (board member) – the CAN Action Fund passed ballot measure 26-146 to support arts and music experiences in Portland schools and community. Woot!

  3. Surfrider Foundation I have also volunteered for them and various other nonprofits.

What recent “green” change have you made in your own life?  What’s next? There isn’t any “green” practice that I’ve adopted lately. I’d like some suggestions. I’ve always composted, recycled, used, reused, repurposed, repackaged…


Where in the world do you consider a sanctuary?  Why? My fave beach, fave rave hike, fave camping spot. (Shhh. All secret spots.) I’d like my garden to become a sanctuary for my friends to enjoy a summer evening with fun, food, libations, music, and lots of color, texture, and bees.

What advice would you give to your younger self? Do anything for an hour. That was my mantra when I moved to Portland 8 years ago and I wish I had that moxie when I was a (pre)teen. Don’t be shy. Get out there. Don’t worry about what others think. Observe. Experience. Connect. That approach took some cultivating, and I’m glad I finally got there.


How can we as a society be more radical in supporting a healthy planet? Make it matter. Make it personal. People don’t do anything because they don’t see how their actions are connected to the bigger whole so many simple “green” practices seem overwhelming or not important. People have to see and feel their connection to be motivated to act.


What sparked your interest in environmental issues?   What’s the first “eco” thing you ever did? In elementary school in the 70s, we had a newspaper drive, maybe quarterly. We would save all our newspapers and then drag them in the station wagon to the school parking lot to a giant truck that would take them to be recycled. Depending on the inches / feet of newspapers turned in, you would get a cool patch to sew on your backpack or jacket. I still have some of those patches. (I still have some of everything. In the basement.)


How do you live simply? I walk or ride my bike anywhere and everywhere I can. Grow my own food. Share a CSA with the neighbors. I don’t buy what I don’t need, but reuse, recycle, repurpose whatever is possible. I make good use of the resale shop and Goodwill. Use the library. I greatly enjoy cooking and dining with my pals most nights and love indoor/outdoor living and dining (thank you, summer!). These aren’t sacrifices, or really conscious efforts. My family has always approached the world this way. It’s just what one does. But, most importantly, I don’t take anything too seriously. Living simply means living in balance – and with a healthy dose of humor about it all.


Latest inspiration (from a creative/design article): You have to try new things. You have to experiment, and not care about whether the new things actually make sense.


Could you leave us with a favorite quote of yours? “If you’re doing what I think you’re doing, then you better not be.”

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