Global Green Room Staff Interview: Matt de la Houssaye

staff_matt_dMeet Matt de la Houssaye, Program Associate for our Coalition for Resource Recovery (CoRR) in New York. What would surprise our supporters about your work?

Global Green is a very diverse organization covering issues ranging from green building to disarming stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, from re-designing packaging systems to ensure greater recycling. Even after working here one year, I am still learning about the breadth of our work and the impact it is having in the U.S. and globally.

Who is your hero?

My heroes are my teachers. I've been blessed to have great teachers at every step of my life. In the sustainability field, I've been inspired by mentors that have brought both a tireless work ethic and their hearts to their work.

What has been your greatest success?

My greatest success at Global Green has been joining the team! Organic waste recovery and recycling are two areas that I am very passionate about. It is a joy to work in these areas every day.

What about a failure or challenge?

A big part of my career has been bringing innovations to fruition. Innovation can be challenging. If you're too far in front of the curve, that can be an isolating position without the necessary collaboration to make things happen. Since they don't have the same mandates as private companies, nonprofits can help lead the way in bringing about sustainable innovation.

Favorite green book?

"Biomimicry." Janine Benyus provides numerous examples that show that the answers for living in greater harmony with our environment are all around us. Nature is our greatest teacher. All we have to do is observe and follow.

Favorite green movie?

"The Island President." This is an inspiring and entertaining documentary because it tells a great story. The protagonist, President Nasheed, gives us both his sense of humor and his heartfelt mission to protect his homeland from rising sea levels.

Favorite way to spend a free day?

With friends and family.

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

Right now, the ability for us to live by an environmental ethic is challenging. It is in patches. In many cases, we do have the power to make lifestyle choices that reflect environmental values -- whether it is the food we eat or the mode of transport we use. The challenge, however, is that these choices are often very hard to make outside of certain boundaries -- geographic, economic or otherwise. Starting with myself, I'd like to have environmental choices more accessible for people so that, if they choose, they can be more empowered to have a deeper environmental impact.