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 became a #1 BC Bestseller.
With the world in crisis I decided to upgrade my skills beyond just writing about the environment to also reshaping it. I earned a Masters degree in Landscape Architecture and started my own company, EcoUrbanist, to provide ecological site design, environmental consultation and project management for clients from individuals to municipalities.
I believe environmental health and social justice are part of the same struggle. Both involve politics, and because politics is a numbers game, only through community can we (meaning the planet) win. So I helped found Tree City, a non-profit environmental group “helping people and trees grow together.” Several years ago 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 am keen on life-long learning, which is why I also teach. As with writing, it’s a great way to figure out what I know. I have taught part-time for Simon Fraser University’s Continuing Studies program for seven years, and more recently joined Gaia College to help it change the way public and private landscape staff and managers use living green infrastructure to redesign cities.
Volunteers are my favourite people, and at times I’ve been fortunate to become one 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.