sustainability

The murky meaning of "No Diet Day"

Today, May 6, is "No Diet Day." Like so many such events, it makes a point we should value every day, but don't, so we give it a "day" so that we'll make the point at least once a year.

But this one is different: Unlike, say, Mothers Day (it's Sunday, don't forget!) or Fathers Day, there is confusion about just what "No Diet Day" is recognizing.


"I know my greatest impact is still ahead" ~ Kristi Marsh

Welcome to another episode of “10 Words or Less,” in which I ask brief questions of interesting people and ask brief answers in return. I met today’s guest when I attended her session at a green expo years ago, and she's come into my view often enough that I knew we should talk, so here we are. She’s an author, an advocate for personal eco-consciousness and action, and recognized speaker. Remember, “10 Words” is an ethic, not a limit, so to those of you at home, please, no counting. If you think it’s so easy, let’s see you do it, especially on the fly.

[This is an edited version of this interview, conducted on video March 10.]

Kristi Marsh, speaker, author and household ecoconsciousness advocateName Kristi Marsh
Born when, where  Portland, Oregon, in 1970. Soon after, I moved to California, where I was raised in Sacramento. Spent some time back up in the state of Washington, and then I've spent the last 20 years here south of Boston.
Family circumstance  "I am raising a family. From 2 to midnight, I’m a stay-at-home mom, raising three teenagers. My husband is in retail."
Occupation  "I’m an educator of mainstream women who are curious and want to learn more about this whole movement about how the products we bring into our homes can have an impact on our health."
What did you want to be when you grew up?  "A Rockette. That didn’t work out. An animal trainer at an amusement park. That didn’t work out. By the time I was a teen, I realized I had a connection toward training. In college I studied human resources, and went into the world of retail as a trainer at Target and a beauty-industry store in malls. That’s where I found this connection to be working with women and bringing them along in a process.
An early influence outside your immediate family  The outdoors. From camping, to being raised as a preteen having a horse as my sense of independence."
A hero today, also outside your immediate family  "I spent most of my life knowing the name Rachel Carson, but it wasn’t until my late 30s that I learned more about who Rachel Carson was, as an author, as a scientist, as an advocate for women. I read ‘Silent Spring' and I know that it is an impactful book on my generation, but being raised in my generation, I had no idea what it was about. Once I read it and learned more about Rachel Carson’s legacy, i think it influences me greatly. I have deep admiration and respect for the change she created, not only in the 1960s, but the ripples it created throughout the 1970s."
What’s your book called, and how can people get it?  “'Little Changes, Tales of a Reluctant Home Ecomomics Pioneer.' It is a paperback on any normal online paperback site. It’s also an e-book. And it can also be purchased directly through choosewiser.com."


Restore life to "sustainability"

When I recently interviewed Carol Sanford, author of “The Responsible Business” and “The Responsible Entrepreneur,” I was a little taken aback when she stated flatly that “I want the word ’sustainability’ to go away.”

Her contention is that “it limits what people think they can take on,” which I’m not sure I agree with.

I do have sympathy with those who deride it as a buzzword, but I’m heading the opposite way. Instead of hoping the word will go away, I’m trying to restore its full meaning, before it became a stand-in for green technology or corporate PR obligation.


"Hardcore lessons of sustainability like nothing before"

Welcome to another episode of “10 Words or Less,” in which I ask brief questions of interesting people and ask brief answers in return. Today’s guest is vice president for business and social purpose at the PR behemoth Edelman, but has written for GreenBiz, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal on CSR and sustainability issues for years. Remember, “10 Words” is an ethic, not a limit, so to those of you at home, please, no counting. If you think it’s so easy, let’s see you do it on the fly.

Aman Singh, vice president at Edelman PR agencyName Aman Singh
Born when, where New Delhi, India, Sept. 15.
The year? "Earlier in the decade of the gas leak in Bhopal."
Anything notable about the circumstances? "At that time, parents did not find out the sex of their child. My parents wanted a boy, had a boy’s name picked out, but they had a girl and stuck with the name."
How's that working for you? "I think it empowered me. My name in Punjabi, which is my native language, means peace. I’m quite the contrarian, but they had the right thought in mind."
Where do you live? "New Jersey."
Family circumstance "I’m happily married to a car geek, also from my hometown Delhi, and we have a 14-month-old son."
When did you move to the US? "2003."
An early influence outside your immediate family "A TV journalist in india, Barkha Dutt. She was one of the first women journalists to really emerge on the broadcast scene and report on hard issues like war."
First paying job "A small website in New Delhi focused on investigative journalism. I was just out of high school, waiting to hear back from my college choices, and I knew I wanted to do journalism but wasn’t really sure what that would involve. I was their first beat reporter, covering one the many political parties in New Delhi."


"10 Words or Less" with Aman Singh

Scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. eastern today.

Aman and I had a great conversation, running about 27 minutes, about her and about her work as a stalwart in the fields of CSR and sustainability. She's been CSRwire's editorial director;  written for the Wall Street Journal, Greenbiz, Forbes, and others; and is now a veep at the PR firm Edelman. In a week or so, I'll also publish an edited-text version of the interview as well.


"Life creates conditions conducive to life,” part 2*

Welcome to another installment of “10 Words or Less,” in which I ask brief questions of interesting people, and request brief answers in return. Today’s participant is listed eighth on GreenBiz’s Twitter Index, which is testament to his formidable combination of smarts and charisma. I once went to a networking group on his suggestion. When I sat down at a table with others and they asked how I’d learned of the group, I said simply, “Asheen,” to which the whole table chorused, “Of course!” Please remember: “10 words” is an ethic, not a limit, so please, no counting! Besides, if you think it’s so easy, let’s see you do it.

Asheen Phansey of Dassault SystemesName Asheen Phansey
Fahn-SAY? I’ve been saying it wrong. Yes, it means “One who farms jackfruit.” And my first name means “tireless.”
In what languages? "Phansey is Marathi. Asheen is Sanskrit."
Born when, where: "Oct. 15, 1980, 12:23 a.m., Charleston, S.C."
Anything unusual about the circumstances? “The most unusual thing, if you know me at all, was that I was born on time. I think it was the last time."
Resides: Burlington, Mass.
Family situation: "Married, with two kids that I chase around. 1 1/2 and 4."
First world event you recall being aware of The first event that I really understood and affected me was the Exxon Valdez spill. [March 24, 1989] I can’t remember if that was before or after the first Persian Gulf War. [Aug. 2, 1990]


Wendell Berry and Allan Savory, brothers to me

A central part of the message I deliver to audiences is that nature is the only teacher of sustainability we will ever need. It’s been sustaining life on earth for 3.8 billion years, while humans have been upright only for about 200,000 years; the experience gap is obvious.

 I am not, of course, the originator of this idea, that humans are part of nature, not apart and certainly not above it, and the most prudent direction for all of us is to follow nature’s lead. I wouldn’t cast that as an absolute, but only because absolutes are bad every time.


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