I grew up in the small town of Fairhope, Alabama where my family practiced environmental stewardship through our faith by giving up trash and driving for the forty days of Lent to reduce consumption. Before their untimely deaths, my parents hiked the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and almost all of the Continental Divide Trail. In hindsight, I can see how my mother and father influenced my books and essays about faith communities confronting climate change. With my two children, I visited more than 50 congregations across the country taking actions like installing solar panels on sanctuaries, responding to disasters, and divesting from fossil fuels.
My writing stems from ordinary life--raising children and teaching students--amidst the enormity of our uncertain times, especially our changing climate. Telling these stories about people and places helps me discover my own spiritual connection to a just world. For nearly 20 years, Western North Carolina has been my home where I can run on the campus trails, sweat out my anxieties during hot yoga, and read magazines and memoirs overlooking this valley.
In my past, I’ve held jobs such as a server, a small-town journalist, a Peace Corps volunteer in the Central African Republic, and an environmental educator with World Wildlife Fund. Now as a teacher, I watch my former students find their own places in the world--from growing food in school gardens to suing the federal government to protect youth from the impacts of climate change. From them, I’ve learned despair is not a long-term strategy, and we have to hold each other up along the way.