Global Green Room Staff Interview: Lily Kelly

staff_lilyMeet Lily Kelly, Interim Director of our Coalition for Resource Recovery (CoRR) program, based in our New York office. What would surprise us about your work?

The variety of stakeholders that we work with every day keeps things lively. For Global Green's Coalition for Resource Recovery (CoRR) program, we might be working with academic institutions, quick-service restaurants, packaging manufacturers, lawmakers, farmers, and trash haulers -- all at the same time, on any given project. It feels very rewarding to know that the projects we choose to undertake benefit a wide variety of people, and in the process emphasize the interconnectedness of all those industries.

Who is your hero?

I recently went to a screening of "The Island President," at which the former President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, was in attendance and answering questions after the movie. What stood out to me was not that he had fought so hard, and successfully, for democracy and later for carbon emissions reduction policies, but that he had managed to maintain a sense of humor and optimism throughout the process. Working for sustainability is always an uphill battle, and I admire people who can take it on for decades at a time and keep their spirits high.

What has been your greatest success?

I make delicious quesadillas.

What about a failure or challenge?

I think the most difficult challenge with this kind of work is leaving it at the office when the day is over. We are deeply dedicated to the success of our projects, and we believe that they are a necessary part of providing a healthy planet in the future, but sometimes we have to force ourselves to take a step back, turn off the computer, and go spend some time with family, friends, or a good book. In the end, what we're working for is the wellbeing of all living things, and that includes ourselves!

Favorite green book?

"Everglades: River of Grass" by Marjorie Stoneman Douglas. It's beautifully written, and shows in a compelling way the interaction between cultural ideals and ecological behavior.

Favorite green movie?

I love "The 11th Hour." It gives a great overview of where we are without being too scary, and points out some great next steps for getting to a more sustainable way of being.

Favorite way to spend a free day?

Four words: Subway to the beach.

If you had the power to make one global and green change, what would it be?

After many years of working in the environmental field, I have to say that I think women's access to the trifecta of education, employment, and birth control may be the most important factor for averting ecological disaster. Providing that is no simple task, and even that access is not a silver bullet, but having happy, respectful, empowered humans (and fewer of them) is an important part of taking control of our ecological role, and ensuring ongoing access to necessary resources.