The EcoGrrl Interview: Jessamyn



Jessamyn works for Femme-o-Nomics in Toronto, Ontario, after spending some time here in Portland.  Not simply identified as a software developer, she is also a great writer, and has written some great posts including one on Software & Race and another on Women in Male-Dominated Careers.  Awesome stuff, y’all.

What or who inspires you most? The women who broke down barriers and won the vote, entered science, wrote books.

What do you turn to when you need strength? My friends, my journal, a walk with my dog.

How can women best support and/or empower other women? Don’t fall into the trap of believing “there can be only one” — there can be many successful women, even in male-dominated fields. Do you best to avoid judging women more harshly than men.

What do you love to grow? What would you like to try growing someday? I really enjoy growing my vegetable garden (and a few flowers). I’d like to have a cherry tree.

What are your creative outlets? Is there anything you’ve always wanted to try but you haven’t? I don’t really think of anything as a creative outlet, though I suppose there elements of creativity in my gardening, home renovations, writing, and coding. I’d like to try teaching a college course.

In what environment(s) do you feel most in your element? Geeky social gatherings

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

  1. Plan Canada – I am a girl campaign – sponsoring a young girl in Africa

  2. Doctors without Borders

  3. Engineers without Borders

In all three cases, I donate money because as far as I can tell they are doing reasonably good work for less fortunate people, without too much cultural imperialism.

What recent “green” change have you made in your own life? What’s next? I have always lived a pretty minimalist life. I recently signed up with an initiative for greening of our natural gas supply. I’d like to get solar panels on my house, and possibly a greywater system.

Where in the world do you consider a sanctuary? Why? High Park, Toronto — I love to go walking there. Out in the middle of the park, you can almost forget you are in a city.

What advice would you give your younger self? Life isn’t as hard as it seems.

How can we as a society be more radical in supporting a healthy planet? Stop driving everywhere.

What sparked your interest in environmental issues? What’s the first “eco” thing you ever did? Hard to say. I was always thoughtful and sensitive, and I grew up in a very environmentally conscious place in BC. I drew a picture when I was 5 of my ideal world, and I had my mother write down my description, and already at that point I included things like there were lots of trees and wildlife, and everyone rode bicycles and there were no cars.

How do you live simply? 

– try to avoid packaged and commercial food

– weekly delivery of fruit & vegetables (as local as possible)

– grow a garden

– ride a bicycle (occasionally take transit, don’t own a car)

– buy as little as possible, and try to avoid the worst of the packaging

– minimize energy usage in the home

– avoid disposable items as much as possible

Probably a lot more things I can’t think of right now. I try to be minimalist and thoughtful in all areas of my life. 🙂

Could you leave us with a favorite quote of yours? “No one is free while others are oppressed.” ~ Author Unknown


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