Hometown: Lasqueti Island, British Columbia
How long have been a Vancouverite? A little over four years
Your childhood was rooted in a connection with nature, creativity and living off of the land in a close family environment that deviated from the typical trappings of modern life. Can you tell us a bit about your upbringing and how it has helped to shape you as a person?
I grew up off-grid on Lasqueti Island, a 20km long island a few hours North of Vancouver in the Strait of Georgia. By choice, the island does not have hydro power from the mainland. Any electricity is generated on an individual basis from solar, wind or micro-hydro. We had no road to our house, and did not even have a phone for over 15 years.
Although this may seem like roughing it, it is a fulfilling and rewarding lifestyle. Most of our food was provided by our surroundings: our large garden and orchard produced organic fruits and vegetables, our chickens laid eggs daily, and the ocean at our doorstep provided us with fresh seafood. Although our household income denoted that we were living “under the poverty line”, we had everything we needed, and lived in a peaceful, natural paradise.
Growing up off-grid taught me that true happiness in life comes from family, community, and nature. I would choose a potluck feast of homegrown food with my neighbours over a dinner at any 5 star restaurant in the world.
Given your experience living off of the grid and living sustainably, is this something that you see a lot of in and around Vancouver?
I think Vancouver is one of the most progressive cities in the world. From dedicated bike lanes, to LEED certified buildings and community gardens, Vancouver is leading the way.
You participate in the family business, Eartheasy, in a few capacities. The overall focus of the company is to inspire and inform people about the benefits of simple living and conserving the environment. With the online store, a tree is planted with every order and some of the included products have also benefited children in Africa. Can you tell us about some of these initiatives?
At Eartheasy, we try to give back as much as possible. Aside from being carbon neutral and planting a tree for every order, we are always looking to bring on new product lines that make the world a better place in some capacity. With our LifeStraw line of water filters and purifiers, we provide a year of clean drinking water to a child in a developing country for every filter sold. Last October, we were able to install 1,600 water purifiers in 300 primary schools in Western Kenya –supplying clean drinking water to over 157,000 kids.
We also just launched our Eartheasy Conservation line of natural soaps, with 100% of profits contributed to organizations that protect wildlife.
Are there any resources, events or groups in Vancouver that people can connect with should they wish to live more sustainably and become better informed around this process?
There are lots of great events and organizations in Vancouver. I would definitely recommend checking out the local farmers markets when they start up, as you can pick up some awesome produce while engaging with the people who grow it.
I would also recommend people look into the HUB cycling organization if they are interested in cycle commuting, or even want to just bike more around town. Subscribe to Vancity Buzz, Vancouver Daily Secret, Miss 604 and Vancouver is Awesome to learn about community events that are taking place. If you want to experience a potluck, sign up for Alfresco Tonight – a surprise flash mob outdoor dining experience in the summer.