Helping Less Fortunate Citizens

I have been blessed with an abundant life and a wealth of opportunities that are not afforded to those to are growing up in poverty. My work with the Atlanta Community Food Bank has raised my awareness of the issues of hunger and poverty in not only our community, but in communities around the world. We have the resources to ensure that everyone is well fed, and I believe that with a combination of education and modifications to public policy, we can make sure that everyone has access to basic, healthy food to nourish himself or herself.

Cooking

Cooking is something that I’ve come to really enjoy and I have a new appreciation for cooking with fresh, local ingredients. I prefer to eat my own culinary creations versus some of the food that is served at restaurants. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy eating out, because I do. It’s just now I’m more discriminating about the food that I eat. One of my favorite places to shop is the local farmers market. I like the diversity of foods that are available, and the pricing is hard to beat! I also enjoy collaborating on meals with my like-minded neighbors. It’s common to get a call from my neighbors down the hall asking if I want to come over and cook dinner with them. It’s a real sense of community, and I really like bonding over freshly cooked food with good people.

Adaptive Re-use & Loft Spaces

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I’ve lived and also worked in several loft spaces in the last 15 years, and the loft that I reside in now is without a doubt the most unique place I’ve ever lived. The loft is in a historic building that is over 120 years old (those are incredibly rare in Atlanta) – it’s an old Cotton Mill that was built in the 1880s. Luckily, this property was spared the wrecking ball and an entire community has developed in what was a dilapidated old mill throughout the 80s and 90s. These are the places that I love to live in and work in. I enjoy the rawness of it, and the character that these spaces provide. I really like how it’s possible to adapt old structures and re-use them without starting all over again. I’m inspired by the benefits of old structures continuing to tell stories for future generations to hear.

Communing with Nature

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I’ve always felt very connected to nature – as a kid I had lots of woods behind our house and me and my friends would run and play for hours at a time without anyone worrying about us or freaking out we might get lost. This connection with nature stayed with me through my adult life, and I long for communing with nature whenever possible. Sometimes it’s as simple as a day hike in the mountains, while other times I like to spend a weekend camping. My preferred style of camping is pioneer camping in remote areas whenever possible.  This keeps me connected and grounded with nature on some level. Some of my favorite places I’ve visited include Yosemite National Park, Zion National Park, Cohutta Wilderness in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Black Forest of Germany.

Alternative Energy & Energy Efficiency

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In 2008, a good friend gave me a stack of books to read that changed my outlook on this forever. I became extremely interested in the possibilities of alternative energy and in particular using less oil in everything I did. One of the things I learned is that efficiency is typically the cheapest alternative. In other words, the costs of making things more efficient are almost always cheaper than the cost of the resources to power the less efficient systems, once the true costs of those resources are factored in. I believe that a variety of alternatives should be embraced, but I do not support continued pillage of public lands for fossil fuel exploration.

Biodiesel

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Less than 3 miles from my loft in Atlanta is the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s 24-hour biodiesel station, Refuel Biodiesel. It turns out that this station produces biodiesel from local, recycled restaurant grease, which greatly reduces the environmental impact compared to petro diesel. There is a B20 pump (blend of 20% biodiesel/80% petro diesel), and also a B100 pump (100% biodiesel). I run B100 in my 1994 Mercedes all the time and it feels great! Not a drop of the fuel that I use to power my car comes from oil, much less overseas oil. I feel fortunate to have this incredible resource so close by, and hope to see these types of facilities become more widespread across the US in the near future.

Travel

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I’ve always enjoyed travel, and I particularly like to check out places that I’ve never been before. I’m a big fan of road trips (in my biodiesel-powered Benz of course), and I prefer to avoid airports and air travel for short trips as much as possible. Some of the places that I’m looking forward to seeing include: Alaska, Australia, Yellowstone National Park, Hawaii, Spain, Greece, Costa Rica, Brazil, and the vast continent of Africa. One of my favorite places that I’ve visited is Germany. I had the chance to spend several days there in May of 2008 and I was absolutely blown away by how beautiful the country is.