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Ellen Kanner is an award-winning food writer and author of Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith and What to Eat for Dinner. She is also Huffington Post‘s Meatless Monday blogger and the syndicated columnist Edgy Veggie, is published in Bon Appetit, Eating Well, Vegetarian Times, Every Day with Rachael Ray and Culinate as well as in other online and print publications. She’s an ardent advocate sustainable, accessible food, serving on the Miami boards of Slow Food and Common Threads.

When she’s not teaching underserved students to cook and speaking about what we’re hungry for, Ellen takes time to tend her tiny organic vegetable garden, hike in the Everglades, make friends with cows and make dinner with friends. She believes in close community, strong coffee, organic food and red lipstick. A fourth-generation Floridian, she lives la vida vegan in Miami with her husband. Learn more about Ellen at www.ellen-ink.com.

Your book’s title, Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith and What to Eat for Dinner, is quite a mouthful (pun intended). What is it about?

It’s about great food – but it’s also about all the things we’re hungry for, including meaning, healing, connection and unconditional love.

To discuss food without discussing our relationship to it – how it’s grown, our ties to a recipe, the culture or time it comes from, or even the pleasure of food itself – is to miss the bigger picture. Saffron, tarragon, cardamom and cumin make food taste better. Culture, connection and faith do the same thing for our lives. They make it delicious. They feed us.

What did you grow up eating? Why did you give up meat?

I grew up eating a lot of processed and fast food. There wasn’t a lot of fresh produce at home. My father never cared for vegetables, still doesn’t. He eats them grudgingly.

I gave up meat at 13 because I love cows and I wanted to piss of my parents. That was my long-range goal. I didn’t swear I’d stick by it forever, I wanted to try to go meatless for 2 weeks to see how I felt. Two weeks seemed reasonable, it had a limit in sight. Within a day or two, I immediately felt better, more energetic, more focused. At the end of two weeks, I didn’t miss meat. At all. I didn’t see a reason to go back. I never have. My love affair with fresh produce has lasted decades and it’s still a thrill. Even after all this time, I’m still discovering new and different things to love about it.

How did you get interested in cooking?

I was a bookish little kid who read everything. Books, but also street signs, cereal boxes and ultimately my mother’s cookbooks. I read them like storybooks. The ingredients were the characters, and the preparation was the plot. It was a total, page-turning thrill. I got so involved in the reading, I had to see for myself, how could this work? I took to the kitchen to find out.

What would you say to people who say they don’t have the time to cook?

You don’t have to do it all in your own lonely kitchen. I encourage people to eat together, cook together. Get your whole family in the kitchen, fathers, kids, we all can take a greater part in our food choices. Have a weekly potluck with your friends. A homecooked meal doesn’t need to be a 9-course Food Network banquet. Have everyone bring one dish. Divide and conquer. It makes cooking and eating a pleasure and preparing our own food puts us in charge.

 

Ellen’s new book, Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith and What to Eat for Dinner, is filled with amazing recipes. Here is one of them:

Pink Grapefruit and Fennel Salad

Serves 4 to 6.

1 pink grapefruit
1 fennel bulb
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup walnut oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
4 cups arugula
Freshly ground pepper

Peel the grapefruit and cut the sections into bite-size pieces. Remove and discard the seeds and trim away bitter membranes and pith. Place the grapefruit pieces in a large bowl.

Halve the fennel bulb and slice it very thinly. Add it to the grape-fruit.

Preheat the oven to 350. Coarsely chop the walnuts and pour into a shallow baking pan. Bake until they’re golden brown and have a wonderful buttery smell, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the walnut oil, mustard, mirin, agave nectar and fennel seeds. Pour the mixture over the grapefruit and fennel, toss gently and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours.

Gently toss the arugula with the grapefruit and fennel. Top with the chopped walnuts and a grind or two of pepper.

 

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Lisa Kivirist is a farmer, author, women in sustainable agriculture advocate, innkeeper, parent, passionate food preserver and zucchini enthusiast.  Lisa thrives on wearing multiple hats under the sustainable agriculture umbrella, deeply rooted and based on her family’s farm in southwestern Wisconsin.

Lisa is co-author, with her husband, John Ivanko, of the new cookbook, Farmstead Chef, transforming traditional farmstead cooking skills for the modern kitchen gardener, urban homesteader and homestead cook in all of us.  The duo also authored the award-winning book ECOpreneuring, a fresh approach to entrepreneurial thinking that blends protecting the planet with small business pragmatics and Rural Renaissance, capturing the American dream of farm living for contemporary times.

A leading national advocate for championing the inspiring story of women farmers, Lisa’s fellowship work led to founding and directing the Rural Women’s Project, a venture of the Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) providing outreach and resources for women farmers and food-based business owners.  Lisa writes a column spotlighting national policy issues for the Women, Food & Agriculture Network (WFAN) and is a lead writer for Renewing the Countryside, a non-profit organization showcasing rural entrepreneurial and agricultural success stories.  She also regularly writes for publications ranging from Hobby Farm Home to Edible Madison, showcasing stories and resources for sustainable living and rural revitalization.

A pioneer in green travel, Lisa and her family run the award-winning Inn Serendipity Bed and Breakfast in southwest Wisconsin, considered among the “Top Ten Eco-Destinations in North America,” and featured in USA Today, MSNBC, ABC news, Newsweek and numerous other media. Powered by 100 percent renewable energy, the Inn was the recipient of the Energy Star Small Business Network Award from the EPA and is an example of a “carbon negative” business, sequestering more carbon dioxide annually than emitted from its carbon-free operations. She and her family raise diversified produce for local sale with a specialty in leeks and garlic.

Lisa shares her farm with her husband, their young son, a 10kw wind turbine and a flock of ladybugs.

How do you make your day-to-day life a little greener?

The nice consequence of striving day-to-day to live greener: things start to become part of your everyday routine and are simply part of the daily flow. From that morning coffee (Fair Trade & organic and composting the used grounds) to the evening supper (with food grown in the garden), these daily actions quickly add up to low-impact living. Some things we do when we’re out and about and away from home is our family always has what we affectionately call our “mess kit” in the car: a lightweight set of plastic dishware and utensils so we always have an option available instead of using disposables. A big part of the “greening” of our lives is sharing things in community, from the tours we do of our renewable energy systems for our B&B (http://www.innserendipity.com) to potlucks on the farm, the more we can share with others how simple steps make a green difference, the more our world can transform.

You are such a busy “eco-preneur.” You’ve co-authored a number of books as well as writing for numerous publications, you run the award-winning Inn Serendipity Bed & Breakfast, you’re the Director of the Rural Women’s Project and a distinguished W.K Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Fellow. What does a typical day look like for you?

“Typical” might be a nice change of pace! Seriously, a big part of our lifestyle and approach to sustainability is modeling Mother Nature and striving for diversity in our days. I love having different things, various projects, going on simultaneously and experiencing creative “cross-pollination” between these varying elements. A day could range from cooking up breakfast for B&B guests in the morning to harvesting and preserving tomatoes in the afternoon to finishing up a blog post in the evening. An important element to all of this; however, is the seasonality of schedules. Summer can get a bit crazy with the peak of the B&B business and garden harvest, but I know things will indeed slow down come winter — a good time for catching up and letting new creative projects germinate around the woodstove.

One of the latest books you co-authored with your husband, John Ivanko, is Farmstead Chef. What motivated you to write this book? And, could you share a favorite recipe?

Food can be a fundamental entry point for change: we all eat multiple times a day and can begin by making greener, more sustainable choices for what’s on our family’s plate. It can sometimes be overwhelming with all the serious and monumental environmental problems going on in our world — but food is something we can each individually control and make greener decisions. Farmstead Chef celebrates the empowerment in cooking from home, focusing on seasonal and local ingredients. You don’t need to be trained “chef” to make our recipes and it is very satisfying for us to help folks reconnect with their food sources and home kitchen. In addition to our Farmstead Chef cookbook, we post new recipes and homespun cooking ideas on our blog.

You are an inspiration to anyone who is trying to do their part to make their lives more sustainable. I love the quote from your site, “Lisa Kivirist embodies the growing ‘ecopreneuring’ movement: innovative entrepreneurs who successfully blend business with making the world a better place”. Do you have any advice for people who are trying to make their lives a little greener?

Thanks for the kind words. My life fundamentally transformed when I left a corporate job (i.e., the “expected” career and life path) and traded that for our five acres in rural Wisconsin. While my husband, John Ivanko, and I had no farming experience at the time, we felt a strong desire to create something of our own, a lifestyle we felt connected to and passionate about. While not everyone needs to quit jobs tomorrow and head into the entrepreneurial wilderness or rural backroads, I do think it is important to look at living a greener lifestyle from the big picture: What’s your bigger mission in life? How do you want to change and leave things? What truly gets you going? Big questions to think about, I realize, but important ones to contemplate. Hopefully our Rural Renaissance and ECOpreneuring books can be helpful resources for folks looking to make a bigger lifestyle change.

Creamy Apple Pie

This pie is affectionately nicknamed “Joy Pie” in our house, because the recipe came from Joy Rohde. The Rhode family farmed this land we now live on for over a hundred years. It’s the kind of pie that makes you happy, joyful. It’s one of our favorites because the filling is so simple to make and comes out perfectly creamy; no ice cream needed. Let this pie cool to room temperature before cutting since the filling will tend to slip out.

Ingredients:

• 1 unbaked single crust pie shell (9-inch)

• 8 c. apples, peeled and sliced

• 1 c. sugar

• ¼ c. flour

• 1 ½ t. vanilla extract

• 1/3 c. milk

• ½ t. salt

• ½ t. cinnamon

• ¼ c. butter (1/2 stick)

Directions:

Lay apples in the pie crust.

Make a “syrup” (no cooking needed) by mixing the sugar, flour and vanilla. Add the milk and salt, then stir well. Sprinkle apples with cinnamon and dot with butter.

Pour syrup mixture over apples and bake one hour at 350 degrees or until apples are tender.

Yield: 8 servings.

Grandma Sue’s Pie Crust

John’s mom, Sue, reigns as champion pie baker in the family. “I just love pie,” says Sue. While you’ll encounter many variations on pie baking from various families, we’re loyal to ours.

Single Pie Ingredients (one 9 or 10-inch):

• 1 ½ c. flour

• ½ t. salt

• ½ c. butter (1 stick)

• 4 to 5 T. cold water

Double Crust Pie Ingredients (one 9 or 10-inch):

• 2 c. flour

• 1 t. salt

• 2/3 c. butter (about 1 ¼ sticks)

• 5 to 7 T. cold water

Directions:

Mix together flour and salt.

Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two butter knives until pieces are the size of small peas. To make pastry extra tender and flaky, divide shortening in half. Cut in first half until mixture looks like corn meal. Then cut in remaining half until like small peas.

Sprinkle 1 T. of the water over part of the flour-shortening mixture. Gently toss with fork; push to one side of bowl. Sprinkle next tablespoon of water over dry part; mix lightly. Mix gently until all is moistened.

Gather up with fingers; form into a ball. For two-crust pie, divide dough for upper and lower crust. Form each in ball.

On lightly floured surface, flatten ball slightly and roll to 1/8 inch thick. If edges split, pinch together. Always roll spoke-fashion, going from center to edge of dough. Use light strokes.

To bake single pie crust:

Transfer pastry to pie plate. Fit loosely onto bottom and sides. Trim ½ to 1 inch beyond edge. Fold under and flute.

If baked pie shell is needed, prick bottom and sides well with fork—to prevent puffing as shell bakes. Bake in 450 degree oven until pastry is golden, 10 to 20 minutes.

If filling and crust are to be baked together, do not prick pastry. Pour in filling; bake as directed in the pie recipe.

 

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Beth Aldrichby Wendy Gabriel

Beth Aldrich is a Healthy Lifestyle-Green Living Expert, writer, media personality and mother of three. She is Certified Health Counselor, and former PBS TV series producer/host. Having qualified and run the Boston Marathon with a personal best time, Beth knows how to run after her three sons and two Tibetan Terriers, Karma and Bonsai. As a “break her own rules” treat, you can find Beth eating chocolate cream pie, at least once a year.

How do you make your day-to-day life a little greener?

I make my day-to-day life a little greener by living consciously. Every step I take, every action I make and all of the food I eat, I think, “How am I impacting the planet by this decision.” I think of how much I love my sons and how much I want their children to live in a clean, healthy planet, every time I purchase organic food or turn off a light. If every mother made conscious steps every day, we’d be on our way to a “cooler” place to live. Global warming is real and when we live “green” we do our own small part for the bigger whole; and that is what my upcoming book is really all about.

As a Certified Holistic Health and Nutritional Counselor what are your thoughts about the H1N1 vaccine and the overwhelming push to have everyone vaccinated?

Like politics and religion, you can’t infringe your beliefs on someone else unless they’re paying you to do it or ask for your help. With that said, I will tell you that as a member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, I have taken a vow to live drug free. Now, that can be tricky at times, but to err on the side of caution, we believe in prevention. My son actually contracted H1N1 and I did everything the doctors told us to do, and then some. I have a full artillery of nutritional supplements that seem to do the trick. We use UMCKA cold and flu remedy, a homeopathic liquid that truly works at lessening the affects of illness, when my kids get sick.We take also take probiotics and Omega 3 fish oil as well as a high quality multivitamin. All of these, combined with Vitamin L (LOVE), attention and hand washing, seem to keep the Aldrich’s healthy.

You recently blogged about Seeing Green in 2010 at THE GREEN MOM Blog with Beth Aldrich. A wonderful piece, and in it you mentioned that you have a lot of energy and are always looking for the next learning adventure. You have a husband, three children and a very busy and diverse career. What’s your secret for having a lot of energy?

I LOVE when people ask me that!! First off, good genes; everyone in my family is high energy. I have never had a cup of coffee in my life and yet I get so hyped up sometimes, especially when I’m on my “path”. If I am writing or working on a media project, I get so excited with butterflies in my stomach–it’s kind of funny. I can feel the energy brimming up inside of me, putting me in an excellent mood…then I get so much done–it’s crazy! I can remember in college, my roommates would “down” coffee to stay awake at night and I would just drink a huge glass of water. I love clean, fresh water. I should be a spokesperson for water because I believe in the healing powers of it, so much! My other secret is “greens”. I make a green smoothie every day and I truly believe when you include the pure enzymes from living (uncooked) greens, you acquire so much energy and vibrancy. I also think the more you move, the more you gain energy. It’s kind of like when you charge a battery, it stores extra energy in it somehow!

You are also the founder of Restoring Essence, a nutrition company. The stated mission is to guide you to personally discovering what nourishes and feeds you and ultimately what makes your life remarkable. I know that every client is different but generally how is this goal accomplished?

The secret to this is to listen. When you truly unearth what is going on personally in your life, not what a diet book tells you, but in your own “real” world, the answers just manifest. It’s really interesting to make gentle, specific changes and then watch. As you, for example, cut out caffeine, things start to happen. Sure, it’s hard, but once you get through the “ring of fire”, it’s so much nicer on the other side. So often I see people who are trying to lose weight and then they order a diet soda with their salad at lunch. I sit there quietly–because remember, food is like politics and religion. It is sacred to them and to make drastic changes or unsolicited suggestions would equate to disaster. Instead, individuals have to come to “that point” in their lives where they’re sick of being “overweight” or tired all of the time and WANT to make the changes. That is when the person seeks out support (like a health counselor) and starts to “discover” what nourishes and feeds them…and ultimately, the changes take place and their life becomes so remarkable…they start to get butterflies when they discover what “charges their batteries”.

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by Wendy Gabriel

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanates from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

A view from the farm

I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.
~Robert Frost, Birch Trees

Birch tree

Some of my favorite photos and photo blogs:
Twilight Earth’s Photo Sunday
Mother Nature Sunday Gallery: Beaming Flowers from Love Earth Always
Photo Terri

Sam Can Shoot

Twin Cities Photo Blog

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by Wendy Gabriel

Alicia Voorhies is an RN who left the work force to spend some time Alicia Voorhiesrecharging. She worked as Director of Nursing for a non-profit organization caring for people with developmental disabilities in a home-based setting. Alicia found herself feeling a bit burned out, decided to take a nice long sabbatical and ended up never going back.

Alicia founded The Soft Landing in April of 2007. The website is dedicated to educate busy parents about the most prevalent environmental toxins harming our children today.

How do you make your day-to-day life a little greener?

I’ll admit that I’m not the greenest girl in town, but I’m learning to make one change at a time little by little. I’m very aware of environmental toxins and their affect on my family’s health, so I work hard to decrease our exposure to lead, endocrine disrupotors and other major offenders in our daily life. I also focus on reusing everything we possibly can to lower the amount of waste we create.
 

As a huge fan of The Soft Landing, I love the story of how your site was conceived. Can you share your journey from RN to founder of The Soft Landing?

Fast forward to December 2006, when I was first introduced to Bisphenol-a (BPA)… It all started when my sister moved with her family from our Midwest town to the East Coast. She called me one morning after taking her son to their new doctor, where she was promptly told to immediately throw out the clear, hard plastic baby bottle she was using in his office. She was seriously concerned that she was dealing with a doctor who was off his rocker, so she turned to me, the medical research geek for help. I set out that day to prove him wrong. Instead, hundreds of medical studies would only prove him right. The more research I poured over, the more I began to see a pattern of chemicals leaching from plastic to disrupt the delicate endocrine system – especially in children. I knew we needed safer options right away and began searching for a non-polycarbonate baby bottle. I quickly realized how limited the information was and how few options were available. At that time, there were only two brands being marketed as BPA-free. Beyond that, I was left swimming in an endless sea of unlabeled plastic! My mission became clear and we opened the doors to The Soft Landing in April of 2007.
 

It’s so wonderful that you’ve gathered your research about toxic plastic into a Guide for feeding your baby safely. It should be read by anyone who has, or will have, a baby in their life. What is some of the information we can find in your Guide?

You’ll learn about the most common chemicals that have been linked to endocrine-disrupting health damage, clues to identifying them in household products and tips to help you avoid them with ease.

What would you say to a parent who asks your advice about buying safe toys for the upcoming holidays?

It’s shocking to comprehend the vast amount of untested, unsafe chemicals that are used in our children’s toys. I would recommend steering clear of BPA in any teether or toy made to be mouthed. I would also suggest avoiding all PVC toys, as it’s a well-known hiding place for phthalates, lead and other volatile organic compounds (VOC’s).

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by Wendy Gabriel

I was thrilled when Bethe Almeras, The Grass Stain Guru herself, asked flowersto turn the tables and ask me Four Questions. The Grass Stain Guru is one of my favorite sites and Bethe is one of my favorite people and an awesome writer, so how could I resist? So, if you have a moment, would love for you to run, jump, skip or cartwheel on over and read: Chatting With Eco Writer & Mom, Wendy Gabriel

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by Wendy Gabriel

A look back at some of the women of Four Questions.
 

Four Questions with Katherine Center
Katherine Center is an author, wife and mother. Her second novel, Everyone Is Beautiful, was featured in Redbook and got glowing reviews from People…
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Four questions with Bethe Almeras
Bethe Almeras
is an award-winning author, web producer, and eLearning designer. A gifted speaker and trainer, Bethe prides herself on being a kid at…
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Four questions with Janelle Sorensen
Janelle Sorensen is the Senior Editor and Outreach Strategist for Healthy Child Healthy World. She also freelances and volunteers for others trying to…
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Four questions with Marghanita Hughes
Marghanita Hughes is a children’s book author, illustrator and the creator of the award winning Little Humbugs. It was while observing her…
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by Wendy Gabriel

Editors Note: I was thrilled to first interview Adam Shake in March of 2009. I felt it Adam Shakewould be great to catch up with him again since there have been a lot of exciting changes going on in his world.

Adam Shake is a Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Simple Earth Media and founded Twilight Earth and Eco Tech Daily. He is an environmental writer, advocate, entrepreneur, speaker and Washington DC based activist. In addition to many of his accomplishments, he is most proud of having risked arrest at dirty coal powered power plants and the work he has done to raise money for homeless kitchens and environmental non-profits. He spent over a decade in the U.S. Army and has worked with Homeland Security and the Defense Industry. When not working on Pennsylvania Avenue, he can be found in the woods with his Wife and Rhodesian Ridgeback, kayaking, sailing or on the Appalachian Trail. Adam is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and is an active participant in a number of environmental and social media clubs and organizations.

You can find Adam on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, and Digg.

There have been a lot of exciting changes for you during the past few months including the creation of the online media company, Simple Earth Media. What makes Simple Earth Media different from other environmental blog networks?

That’s a great question. I think it’s important to let people know the differences between a website and a network. There are some really great environmental websites out there like Mother Nature Network, Treehugger and Planet Green. These are single sites that put out a huge amount of original content on a day to day basis. Then there are Environmental “Networks.” Networks have a number of websites under one company.” Simple Earth Media is one of those.

I think the biggest (and best) difference between us and other networks is that each one of our websites started out as a strong and popular site, with its own loyal readers, community members and social media followers, before joining the network. Put simply, we didn’t just create a bunch of new websites, or take some start-up sites and put them together. We also didn’t take a huge infusion of cash and start this company up from scratch. Simple Earth Media, and all of its sites were created organically.

Where other websites have one social media identity, we have 6 facebook pages, 6 twitter accounts, a podcast site that interviews everyone from environmental writers, CEO’s of sustainably conscious companies and environmental hero’s like the Cousteau’s and Ed Begley Jr.. and a social media presence that spans the globe. This means that as a group we are reaching out to hundreds of thousands of people across the Internet. That’s why our tagline is “New Media Making a Difference.”

You are very passionate about the Climate Change debate especially as it relates to coal energy. What would you tell people who still believe Clean Coal is a possibility?

It’s important to understand that “Clean Coal” is not a thing, it’s a concept. It’s not something that you can hold in your hand. What it really is, is a marketing ploy paid for by Big Coal. Back in the 1940’s and 50’s, there were people who went on record saying that everything from Asbestos to Cigarettes were actually good for you. These people were paid by the Asbestos and Cigarette lobbies. We’ve come a long way since then, but “Clean Coal” is only more of the same.

What the term Clean Coal really means, is that Big Coal wants to take the CO2 that comes out the top of the power plant stacks, and bury it in the ground instead. This sounds good in theory, until you realize what it takes to do that. First, it takes 3 times as much coal to make this happen, for the same amount of electricity. You see, it’s coal that would power this process. This means that Big Coal orders would go up 300 percent.

Not only does this mean that the average consumer could end up having their utility bills possibly triple, but there would be three times the environmental devastation. The fact is, all the easy coal has been taken. I mean, we wouldn’t be ripping the tops off of mountains and dumping the fill in valley streams and rivers, if there were easy and available seems of coal running near the surface like there were 40 years ago.

Clean Coal is a sham, and does nothing but hurt the consumer, hurt the environment, and make coal companies even richer.

Sean Daily recently did a wonderful interview with you on Green Talk Radio. During the interview you mentioned that you were a people hugger not a treehugger. Can you explain that a little?

I recently heard a parent say “My kids keep telling me that I should do more to save the environment. I tell them that when they are working, they can save the environment.” My response to him was “Instead of doing the right thing for the environment, how about doing the right thing for your kids?”

We did a disservice to ourselves until about a decade ago. For a long time, environmentalism was more about saving animals and plants than it was about saving people. The common consensus was that “Those treehuggers care more about the spotted owl than they do about people.” It hit its head about 10 years ago when “Treehuggers” chained themselves to trees to keep the loggers from chopping them down and ruining the habitat of the owls.”

Since then though, more and more of us are saying that environmentalism is about saving ourselves more than it is about saving the environment. We need clean air, water and soil to survive. By protecting those things, we protect ourselves.

When you look ahead at where we are headed, especially in the area of Climate Change, what gives you the most hope for our future?

David Suzuki, the famous Canadian environmentalist recently berated himself, saying “I’m a complete failure. I’ve been fighting the fight for over 30 years, I’ve started a foundation, I’ve been on the radio and television for over 30 years, and we are in worse shape now than when I started.”

I watched David say this during an interview, and I was torn between getting choked up and wanting to scream at him “We may be worse off now than 30 years ago, but how much MORE worse off would we be if you had not done what you did?!”

I look at history and I see people like Rachel Carson, Edward Abbey, John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt, each of them by themselves didn’t solve our problems of environment desecration and over consumption, but together, they started the movement. Now we have people like Cousteau’s, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCapro, Ed Bagely Jr, and Mariel Hemingway all using their star power to further sustainability. There are thousands of people just like my business partner Sean and I. There are writers (just like you), journalists, owners of businesses and people who make it their life’s work to protect their children and children’s children. There are billions of people who are starting to realize that it’s not about the name on the outside of your shopping bag or purse, but about whats in it. It’s not about the size of your car, but about how far it can get you on the least amount of gas. This is what gives me hope. Billions of us working together, to bring positive change to a planet in peril.

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A look back at some of the men of Four Questions.Adam Shake

Four questions with Chris Baskind
Chris Baskind is a writer and the publisher of several websites, including the green living journal Lighter Footstep. He recently launched More…
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Four questions with Glenn Fay
Glenn Fay
is an educator, active outdoor-lover and crusader for the common good of humans and nature. He is founder of OakleighVermont.com. More…
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Four questions with Dr. Alan Greene: part I
Dr. Alan Greene is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine, an Attending Pediatrician at Packard Children’s…
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Four (more) questions with Dr. Alan Greene: part II
Four (more) questions with Dr. Alan Greene: part III

Four questions with Adam Shake
Adam Shake is an environmental writer, a noted global warming activist and the CEO of Twilight Earth. How do you make your day-to-day life a little…
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by Wendy Gabriel

Melissa Hincha-Ownby is a lifelong writer. Her writing career started at 13 Melissa Hincha-Ownbywhen she wrote a weekly column in her small town’s newspaper. For the past three years, Melissa has focused on blogging and other online writing venues. She is the Business Blogger at the Mother Nature Network and the owner of Raising Them Green, a blog dedicated to providing parents information to help them raise eco-conscious children.

How do you make your day-to-day life a little greener?

Making my day-to-day life a little greener all comes down to planning. When going out to run errands, I plan the trip so that I can get all of my errands done in a single trip. If I know that I have an appointment coming up later in the week, I’ll plan my errands for that day. Unfortunately I live in a sprawling metropolis with no mass transit options within 20 miles of my home. So, I have to rely on personal transportation. In order to minimize the amount of driving I do, I simply plan my trips. This is just one of the ways that planning helps me reduce my impact on the environment.

You created the wonderful website Raising Them Green to help parents raise eco-conscious children. Why do you feel this is important?

I hope that what is a thought-out process for me and other parents my age will be instinctual for our children. In other words, I have to think about what type of products to buy, I have to think about what effect a choice I make now will have later on, etc. As parents, if we lead by example, these choices will be inherent for our children. They will have grown up with the natural ability to think about the environmental impact of their day-to-day choices.

In addition to Raising Them Green, you also blog about green business at Mother Nature Network. How has the business community changed during the last couple of years in regards to embracing a more sustainable business model?

I think that the business community, as a whole, has embraced the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Today, you see companies publishing their carbon footprints online, publicizing the environmental impact of their products, and focusing on energy efficiency in their buildings (among other things). Although businesses, in general, have come a long way in the past several years they still have a long road ahead of them. If we, as consumers, continue to push for the CSR focus then companies will have no choice but to respond.

You are an eco-friendly vehicle expert. And, as the lead writer at The Green Motorist, you are on the cutting edge of all the new technology coming out. What would be your dream eco-vehicle (and why)?

My dream eco vehicle is the Tesla Model S. Although I am a sports car girl at heart, the Tesla Roadster two-seater is not the best “mom” car. Thankfully, the brilliant minds at Tesla have the Model S slated for release in 2011. The vehicle seats seven, has a 300 mile range, has a large cargo area, and it can go 0-60 mph in under six seconds. This is the perfect mix of family size vehicle, sports car-like speed, and an eco-friendly electric engine.

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