My parents told me I’d be better off going to a liberal arts college than to journalism school. They were right; all those courses in neuroscience, biology, cognitive psychology, philosophy and sociology prepared me far better for a career in communications than J school could.
But I did eventually get my Masters in science & environmental reporting from NYU, and that was also a very smart decision (though I’m not quite done paying off those loans…). That second degree, combined with all those science courses, jump-started my career in environmental journalism in Washington DC. Lucky me, living in the age of the internet – if you Google me, you’ll find quite a few of those bylined articles still floating around the interwebs.
But journalism requires a level of remove, a refusal to take sides, that I ultimately couldn’t maintain. A year after G.W. Bush was reelected, it was time to jump ship and become an advocate. Eight years working inside the environmental movement – first at Earthjustice, then at Defenders of Wildlife – taught me more than I wanted to know about how our federal government
works screws up, how hard it is to get people to vote in their own best interest, and how much hope and opportunity there is in building community, innovation and keeping an eye on the long game.
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico changed a lot for me. I was still working in DC, for a national environmental group, and even though we sent staff to the Gulf and worked crazy hours, there seemed so little we could do in the face of true, implacable ecological disaster. I started to look for other ways to make a difference.
The results include three novels that explore ways to find hope in the face of darkness, and a new day job breaking down the silos between human rights and sustainability. You’ll hear me blather about all of this on the pages of this website.
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