Each month we will ask a new eco-maven 18 questions about his or her life, occupation and advice for other like-minded people. This month we were able to sit down with Alix Davidson, the Senior Regional Director for the Green Festivals, to learn more about her view on green living. Green Festival is happening in NYC this weekend–if you’re in the area, be sure to check it out!
1. What is your name (and age)?
Alix Davidson, I am 38
2. What is your occupation?
I’m the Senior Regional Director for the Green Festivals, a project of two national nonprofit organizations, Green America and Global Exchange
3. Do you have a “green” memory growing up?
I loved the ‘whale room’ at the Natural History museum and I still do. It made me feel so tiny and I loved how beautiful and mysterious and to my five year old mind, completely logical, the marine environment seemed. I’d walk under it looking up, holding my dad’s hand squealing a bit and then we’d go upstairs and check out the sharks. Some folks get bed time stories, mine were always fish stories…
4. What’s your favorite meal?
The one in front of me I’m afraid! One of my favorite NY treats is a dozen oysters and fries at the Grand Central Oyster Bar; it’s a fun place to meet people or to hang out alone and the food makes me weep with pleasure.
On the other hand, it’s three days before the NYC Green Festival, a project I’ve been organizing for 11 months, and I have pizza dough rising. I’ll make my mom and some friends pizza with whatever’s in the fridge on top, salad with oranges, and coffee ice cream with walnuts on top.
5. Who/What inspires you to be more “green” in your life?
Mark Bittman because he gets me to make all kinds of things from scratch, like the aforementioned pizza dough, and playing with food, aka cooking, really inspires me. On a more conventional level, I read Rachel Carson, John Muir, Terry Tempest Williams and Wendell Berry in High School and I still carry them in my heart.
6. Where on the “green scale” do you fall?
On the far radical humanistic side; humans got us here, humans will get us out, but we need to make radical, inclusive change now.
7. What are the most rewarding and most challenging parts of your job?
I love seeing people’s faces light up at the event as they find what they’re looking for, whether it’s chocolate that taste’s amazing but was made without child labor or a solar charger that works for their electric toothbrush as well as their cell phone.
People sometimes can’t decide whether Green Festival is too small and not worth bothering with or we’re actually big brother and not pure enough. You can’t be everything to everybody but you have to try, and maintaining that commitment is a daily challenge.
8. Where’s your “greenspot”: food, bodycare/beauty, oceans, home or neighborhood, explain
I turn to these things to feel grounded: cooking, fishing on the Long Island Sound, traveling, playing with my dogs and weeding my tiny garden.
9. Where do you turn for your news?
The NY Times website! For analysis I like the Nation and Haaretz just to make sure the Middle East is still there. I’m interested in a lot of social justice and environmental issues and I like getting tidbits and the option of more from various organizations’ twitter feeds. I’m a reader, but twitter and a push from the AP on my smart phone help me figure out what needs more of my attention.
10. What is one environmental change you vow to make in the next year?
I’ll be more thoughtful in my purchases of anything plastic that’s not heirloom quality in its design, from packaging to gadgetry.
11. If you could trade places with one person from any time in history (past or present) for one day—who would it be and why?
Marie Curie because she was figuring out how the world works on a molecular level and knew it.
12. You have a meeting with the leader of every country in the world. You have 30 seconds to tell them anything you want. Go!
From my time in grad school (M.S. Conflict Analysis and Resolution), I’m such a believer in the role of culture in solving and defining problems, sorry!
13. You have the chance to send one tweet to all the tweeps in the world. Let’s hear it in 140 characters, or less!
NYC #GreenFest is this weekend; fun #green solutions that works for your whole family from #fairtrade chocolate to #solar panels; come out! Nah, really?
People, we are all children of planet earth & we can beat corruption, prejudice & global warming but it will take all of us, together, now.
14. If there was one industry/product that you could make more eco-friendly, what would it be?
Transportation; there is no free lunch and the two modes of transportation that have seen the most growth globally are also the worst for the planet; planes and cars. (For the record, this needs to happen because I have a wicked travel bug and I adore driving stick shift, as fast as possible!)
15. Where in the world would you most like to be right now?
Right here, on my couch with my dog on one side, a cup of (organic, fair trade!) tea on the other.
16. What is the best book you have read recently?
I loved American Gods by Neil Gaiman; absorbing, stylish, disturbing and cheap used at Powells.com. Powells is this fab online bookseller I found when I lived in Washington State—they have a huge store opposite a sushi restaurant and a chocolate shop in Portland, Oregon, a recipe for a perfect date if there ever was one!
17. What makes you cringe?
Rick Santorum, mushrooms, Land Rovers, eyebrow piercings, people who don’t pick up after their dog.
18. What do you want your legacy to be?
I want American food to be spicier, fish still in the sea, trees still standing and a more inclusive American civil discourse.