Environmental writer Jerry James Stone writes about food (vegetarian dishes even carnivores like) and eco wines for Treehugger's Green Wine Guide blog, and green cars, tech, and other fun matters for his Discovery blog. We imagine he cracked open a good (and organic) bottle of wine before answering our questions for the Global Green Room Interview.
What would surprise us about your work?
Gosh, probably how terribly un-sexy my job is compared to how sexy it might actually look. Don't get me wrong, tasting eco-fabulous wines and food is a lot of fun and I am honored to have that privilege the few days out of the year that I do. But most of the time I am working from home in my footie pajamas, alone and with my cat. Have you seen that Oatmeal comic on the degradation of social skills when you work from home, well, I am now on year three! Please send help!
Who is your hero?
I am going to say my mom, and my dad (who passed away from cancer over a decade ago). My parents have always been supportive of me, and behind pretty much every harebrained idea that I have had. And I have had a lot for a guy with no hair. I mean, I say this as a guy who worked for the Department for Defense for eight years as a software developer, who then worked as a web developer (one job included a porn site!) and now I am a blogger for Discovery Channel and I am working on a cookbook.
That takes one supportive family. And let me tell you, the wine discount helps.
What has been your greatest success?
I would say my use of social media. They always say "it's who you know" and quite frankly, I call bullsh*t. Social media is powered by acquaintance, plain and simple. Through it (mostly Twitter) I have connected with world renowned eco-architects like Michelle Kaufmann, e-met famous people and changemakers like Sophia Bush and Craig Newmark, but probably the one I am most proud of is raising money for a fellow eco-blogger I only knew over Twitter, who had been injured and was without health insurance.
My friend Derek Markham suffered an injury due to a climbing accident. While his broken ankle would mend, the real impact was the financial toll. Derek was without health insurance and he was his family's sole wage-earner. When he tweeted of his injury, I jokingly shot back about my plans to start a Save the Derek foundation, but it was only in jest. So, while I'd love to take credit for what happened next, I simply cannot. Mutual friends turned my snarky tweet into an actual Save the Derek fundraiser that raised over $2,000 for Derek's medical expenses. Mutual friends, I might add, whom I'd also never met. We were simply connected via Twitter. That is what makes social media work. It's not the 100 Facebook friends you actually know and keep in touch with; it's the 1,000 people you don't.
What about a failure or challenge?
This is a tough one to answer. I mean, I have failed and many times over. I can **** it up better than anybody. I just never dwell on it. Like I will look back at this interview and ask myself why I ****ing swear so much. No, but seriously, I try to walk away from every experience (good and bad) mindful so that I can only do better the next time.
If you had the power to make one global and green change, what would it be?
Hmm, if I had a magic wand the first thing I would probably try to do is give myself a lifetime supply of Thai food; yum! And if that didn't work, well, I would like to bathe the planet in peace, just for a day. Everyone, everything would know peace, know the beauty and power of it. We spend too much time thinking about work, bills, Thai food, are we too fat, how do these jeans look and all that other crap that doesn't matter. And I do it too. But it's those moments of true peace, they offer such clarity. I would give the world that for a whole day and then just watch the Utopia unfold as everyone works together to maintain it. It will be pure awesomeness and I am sure the Thai food will be even more tasty!