The EcoGrrl Interview: Michelle I.



Michelle is like a sister to me. I adore her.  Along with being an amazing friend, she is an incredible mom to three great girls and a rockstar HR gal for a local chain of green grocery stores.  She’s lived everywhere from a small Oregon town to New York City to the Alaskan wilderness to right here in Portland.  Michelle is smart, interesting, funny, and strong – a force to be reckoned with.  She’s also a blast to share cocktails with and I usually snort with laughter when I’m around her. Yay!  Oh – and happy almost birthday!

What or who inspires you most? My children. They all have had different challenges in their lives and I admire their resilience.

What do you turn to when you need strength? A hot bath, a glass of wine and a book to redirect my mind. It rejuvenates my spirit.

How can women best support and/or empower other women? Listen, encourage, inspire.

What do you love to grow? What would you like to try growing someday? Cherry tomatoes.  I love to pick them when they are warm and taste like sunshine.   I’d love to try growing fruit trees.

What are your creative outlets?  Is there anything you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t? House projects. I’ve taught myself basic plumbing and minor electrical skills.  I love playing games (board and athletic) – I guess I’m a little competitive.  Always wanted to try scuba diving.

In what environment(s) do you feel most in your element? Cooler climates.- Surrounded by nature.   I love the mountains as well as the ocean.

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

  1. Little League – I coached all 3 of my girls in softball. I think playing team sports can be empowering, teaches critical thinking skills, physicality, and sportsmanship.

  2. Red Cross – I love how they mobilize during disaster. I appreciate the efforts in maintaining a blood supply- you never know when you might need it.

  3. Alaska Geographic – they help support national forests and sanctuaries in Alaska.  They offer classes to educate and get people out into our National Forests. When people quit caring, corporations will invade.  I’ve been to Kenai Fjords, Denali, Wrangel-St.Elias. Breathtaking!

What recent “green” change have you made in your own life? I bought my daughter nail polish that has no formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, and are Camphor free and wheat & gluten free.  Who knows what life will bring next!

Where in the world do you consider a sanctuary?  Why? The Kenai Peninsula –  I feel spiritual there- the natural beauty and majesty puts life into perspective.

What advice would you give to your younger self? Use sunscreen.  Believe in yourself and your dreams.

How can we as a society be more radical in supporting a healthy planet? Get rid of political fundraising and lobbyists so there isn’t an “I owe you” mentality.  I believe so many things could change if our government were ran differently.

What sparked your interest in environmental issues?   What’s the first “eco” thing you ever did? I read Silent Snow, the Slow Poisoning of the Arctic.  There were studies done in communities above the Arctic Circle whose diet was primarily fish, whale etc.. The mercury poisoning in these people was incredibly high.  I guess it seemed to me that they are the canary in the coal mine and we need to clean up our earth.

Hmmm… I lived for one year in a cabin in the woods of Alaska with no running water or electricity.  It was pretty Eco. 🙂

How do you live simply? I spend time with family and friends, read books, play games and rarely watch television.

Could you leave us with a favorite quote of yours?Well behaved women rarely make history.” ~ Laurel Thatcher Ulrich


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