I like to ask questions. Maybe it is both a blessing and a curse, to always be seeking, wondering, curious, to never be content with unexamined ideas.I am not afraid to sit with a question, or suspend in deliberation multiple questions at once. Sometimes, if not most of the time, questions do not have immediate answers, but sitting with them opens up the opportunity to explore deeper, to come to new understandings, to seek out connections to make a better ‘answer’ to the question that was not first apparent. After all, we are all in the process of becoming…

  • Where and what direction are we going as the human species?
  • Why are we going in this direction?
  • Do I feel ‘ok’ with the way things are?
  • What needs changing, is it within me or outside of me?
  • Why does society feel the need to run so quickly into the ‘future’?
  • What do people expect to find ‘there’ that is not already here?
  • Is the problem that we do not know the right questions to ask? Or is the problem that we’re scared of the unknown and of change, so we do not ask questions?
  • What would it take to become a society of environmental stewards, of ecologically and socially conscious, collaborative human beings?

My concerns for the environment stems from my childhood in the liberal Pacific NW, where progressive thoughts grow like moss, and the norm of environmental stewardship is conspicuous. Experience quickly taught me that of all the cultural norms, people’s views on the environment are some of the most drastic contrasts around the world.  Even between liberal states like Hawaii and California we see extremes like hyper-consumerism and individualism (individual right to consume) not too distant from those living off-the-grid, engaged, community-centric lifestyles.

This blog is an attempt to share, discuss and reconcile ideas on environment and climate issues from an ecocentric perspective, and as a means to have a broader dialogue and wider sharing of ideas with future friends and colleagues. What is ecocentrism? It is a worldview that places humans within the natural sphere, not above it, that focuses on the values of nature and not merely the value of humankind.  I am also committed to pragmatic and community based research. My current work focuses on the  intersection between climate and environmental issues and society, specifically around plastics, waste streams and overconsumption. My hopes are that this blog helps to share ideas outside of the academic and institutional domains, and that we can muddle forward collaboratively together, finding each other and finding our humanity.*

Katie is a PhD student at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. Her research explores sustainable solutions for global urban environments, with a commitment to finding solutions that relieve both social and environmental pressures. Specific areas of interest for Katie include finding ways to foster community engagement; mitigating consumption and plastic pollution; seeking alternative energy sources; and supporting localization movements of the economy & our food systems.

In 2007, the world became predominantly urban for the first time in human history. The global population is estimated to grow by 2.3 billion over the next 40 years, with this growth concentrated in the urban centers of Asia, Africa, and South America. This is a crucial time to be focusing on sustainability, and specifically a huge opportunity to change the way the world develops, from an unbalanced, rapid-growth driven model to a holistic, cross-sector balanced, ecocentric worldview model.

Ms. Conlon has a masters in International Peace Studies, and is active in sustainability, social justice, & climate issues in her hometown Portland. Katie also has firsthand experience in sustainability and climate issues in Bhutan, Vietnam, Trinidad, and Hawaii; research on social vulnerability to climate change for USFS; permaculture training; and a diverse array of community project experience in her 3.5 years in the Peace Corps in West Africa.

Please message for further questions, discussions and collaboration~


[*closing thoughts based on a quote from Andrew Cooper, in the Buddhist magazine Tricycle.]