As a professor who teaches environmental literature, I was thrilled to see your recent articles on “Living Lightly” and “Oil Change: Can the Vision of Two Friends from Emory Help Us Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit?” (spring 2012). I’m proud to see my alma mater and fellow graduates making strides toward sustainability. I’d like to put in a plug for CSAs (Community-Supported Agriculture) and local farmers markets. Even though I was raised by a botanist father who farmed on the side, and preserved and canned alongside my mom, I didn’t inherit the green thumb. For the last several years, I’ve tried to buy as much produce as I can through local farms. Last year, my family belonged to a CSA about five miles from where we live. I couldn’t always figure out what to do with a particular vegetable (the celeriac, for example) but the experience was one that I’d recommend to anyone.

Mary Weaks-Baxter 83C 83G, Hazel Koch Professor of English, Rockford College (IL)

My husband and I are both Emory alumni, and in response to the article “Living Lightly,” we would like to tell you about our son, Adam Bauer-Goulden, who, with three friends, has incorporated an Illinois nonprofit organization, the Rainforest Rescue Coalition (RRC). The organization’s mission is to conserve rainforests around the world and to promote sustainable relationships between humans and nature. They hosted a three-hundred-mile bike trip from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, to Chicago, Illinois, this summer and raised $25,000, in part to purchase 125 acres of rainforest in the endangered Rawa Kuno Legacy Forest on the island of Borneo, home to hundreds of the last wild orangutans. They also plan to fund a sustainable agroforestry project in the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo community conservation area in the Peruvian Amazon, a one-million-acre reserve that is larger than Yosemite and contains more primate species than any other reserve in the world.

Constance Bauer 82CNeil Goulden 82B, Oak Park, Illinois

I do hope I can be considered as someone who lives green just by doing simple things. My husband and I both bike to work—luckily I was able to do so until I was thirty-nine weeks pregnant. He created a couple of cargo bikes for us, which makes running errands easier. We can’t wait until our daughter is able to ride with us! We avoid using our car when possible. We’ve started a water catchment system, we garden and raise vegetables, we rarely heat our home (you could call this green or cheap, I’m not sure which is more true), and we’re in the midst of a small remodel where we’ll be putting in insulation, something many homes in this area simply don’t have. We also try to buy used and use Freecycle often. I like to think every little tiny bit counts!

Laurel DeCou 03C, Oakland, California

The current generation has two big problems on our hands, and one is a symptom of the other: global climate change and spiritual uncenteredness. As a student at the Candler School of Theology of Emory, I can’t help but notice the direct connection between our increasingly industrialized, disembodied, and panicky world with the widening mental chasm between humans and our environment. We are becoming increasingly anxious, and that is leading to bad decisions across the board—especially with the environment. Think about the conquest for oil, or the incessant consumption of new electronics: these are hardly an expression of the sustainability and gratitude that humans are to have if we are to be happy. We need an overhaul of how we see our planet. We need to reclaim calmness, peace, and thankfulness before our consumption drives us out of existence.

Tyler Sit 14T, Atlanta

I chair The Sustainability Plan Workgroup for an effort known as the Sustainability Initiative of the Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore. We believe this is one of the first comprehensive efforts to organize a significant US Jewish community in practicing and promoting “green” initiatives. While still in its early stages, this plan will focus on establishing and marketing best practices within the Baltimore Jewish community, recognizing that living in a sustainable way supports core Jewish values. By the way, my wife is an alumna as well, Jill Traiman Max 89C, and I have a son, Jake, who will be a freshman at Emory next year.

Aaron Max 88C, Baltimore, Maryland

Aside from being obsessive about recycling, reusing everything possible, and sewing some of my own clothing, my biggest achievement in sustainable living is my garden. I have a small but respectable yard in which I have built several beds for growing vegetables, fruits, and herbs, as well as a compost pile, which has greatly reduced my landfill waste bulk. The produce from my garden is not only delicious, but gives me joy unmatched by any store-bought food. When I pick those beautiful red raspberries to put on top of my homemade flourless chocolate cake, the taste and sense of accomplishment are overwhelming. I use my rosemary, thyme, and basil plants the most. In omelets, soups, or spaghetti sauce, nothing compares to fresh herbs. In the summer I make salads and it is such a delight, when I think I am out of cucumbers, to find a beautiful specimen tucked under the brush. And the tomatoes are so different from store-bought in terms of color, taste, and texture, I swear they are a different species.

Myfanwy Hopkins 05C 12PhD, Atlanta

I enjoyed reading your article on land banking (“Plot Twist,” spring 2012). I wanted to make you aware of another key solution to the housing situation in Atlanta that Emory has a strong tie to. Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are being used to create permanently affordable housing along the Atlanta BeltLine. The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership led more than forty organizations, including the Fulton-Atlanta land bank, to incorporate the CLT model and create the Atlanta Land Trust Collaborative. I worked closely with Professor Roy Black in 2008 to develop the first Goizueta Real Estate Case Competition, which focused on how to create a viable CLT on the BeltLine.

Rob Brawner 06MBA, Atlanta
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