Andrea Atkinson: Sustainability isn't only about the environment

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Another in a series of miniprofiles of sustainability-minded people who are working to reduce humankind’s footprint on the planet. To recap, they're "mini" not only because they're short, but because all the questions are 10 words or less, and the answers are requested to match. Please, no counting.

ANDREA ATKINSON
General manager, Nexus Green Building Resource Center, Boston
Nexus's goal, Atkinson says, is to be free resource, and a center of community, for Greater Bostonians interested in green building. It is a project of the Green Roundtable, which is engaged in education, policy, and technical assistance. It is the US Green Building Council's local affiliate. Atkinson is also a founder of Boston Green Drinks.
Green epiphany: "I was 12 years old and I went to Eco '92, a UN conference in Rio de Janeiro, with my dad. My father was in international development, and I was living in Brazil at the time."
Green hero: "Helena Norberg-Hodge. She founded the International Society for Ecology and Culture. Her goal is to help poor villages and regions promote biological and cultural diversity on their own terms."
A sustainability practice you've recently added: "A balcony garden. I’m starting with flowers and seeing if I can sustain that, and we’ll go from there."
An example of greenwashing that really bothers you: "The PVC industry, pushing PVC as a green material when it emits a known carcinogen."
Technology you’re most hopeful about: "We can’t be counting on only one technology … I’m hoping more people move towards systems thinking and life-cycle analysis."
The one thing you wish everyone would just get right: "Sustainability is not only about the environment. It really entails social and economic components that are equally important."
A question I should have asked you: "What could I be doing better in my own life?"
And your answer? "I think the most important thing is educating the people around you, but I think I do a pretty good job of that. The other thing would be, my food consumption."
Are we going to make it? "Yeah, of course. We just need to change the system."


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