I’m a writer, designer and community ecologist based in Vancouver, Canada. I work with people, organizations, corporations and government agencies. Anyone who wants a better world, basically, or agrees that it’s vital for more people to connect with nature.
I started my working life and still self-identify as a journalist. Reporting as a foreign correspondent provided me with skills I still use every day. Critical analysis, crisis management, intercultural communication — it all works whether for project management or community development or creative design. Although still in journalism I spend more time writing books. You can read more here about my novels and non-fiction work, including my latest called Vancouver Tree Book which is a #1 BC Bestseller!
With the world so clearly in crisis I decided to upgrade my skills by going from writing about the environment to also reshaping it. I went back to school to learn Landscape Architecture, earning a Masters degree from UBC, then started my own company called EcoUrbanist to provide ecological site design, environmental consultation and project management for clients from individuals to municipalities.
I see the campaigns for environmental health and social justice as the same battle. Both involve politics, and because politics is a numbers game, only through community can we (meaning the planet) win. I helped found Tree City, a non-profit environmental group “helping people and trees grow together.” We teamed with the Environmental Youth Alliance to create the TreeKeepers program which helped residents plant almost 9,000 trees as part of Vancouver’s Greenest City efforts.
I support life-long learning, which is why I also teach. As with writing, it’s a great way to figure out what I know. I started teaching part-time for Simon Fraser University’s Continuing Studies program in 2012, and more recently have joined Gaia College to help its campaign to change the way professional landscape workers and government officials use living green infrastructure to redesign cities.
Volunteers are my favourite people, and at times I’ve been fortunate to be able to volunteer myself. I served as an elected member of the Vancouver Food Policy Council for four years, and represented Vancouver on the Metro Vancouver Agricultural Advisory Committee for three years. I also completed a three-year term on the Board of Directors for Heifer International, a community-building non-profit working to “end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth” in more than 50 countries.