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EPIC ’08 – Adria Vasil speaking about her bestseller book “Ecoholic…” April 20, 2008

Posted by Raul in EPIC 08, epic08, epic2008, sustainability, Vancouver.

I had been waiting with baited breath to hear Adria Vasil, a renowned journalist and best-selling book author, speak at the Vancouver Sun EPIC ’08 Sustainable Living Expo. However, I had not predicted that my weekend was going to be as busy as it is now. I’ve been running from one social engagement to another and yet to another after my tour of EPIC ’08, but I could simply not miss Adria’s talk.

I was running around Vancouver (using, of course, public transit – the 98 B-Line from Granville and Broadway to the Waterfront Skytrain station). Upon my arrival, I tried to arrange and see if I could interview Adria. My plan, originally, had been to only talk to her and make notes on her responses, but then DaveO suggested that maybe I should podcast it.

Dave’s suggestion really scared me as I feel still too much in the early stages of Geekification, but he explained to me how the digital recorder and microphone worked and made things so simple that I could simply not resist. And Rebecca kindly offered to take photos and video of the interview with Adria. Thus, I grabbed my notebook and went on to listen to Adria speak.

Photo credit: Raul on Flickr.

After her book signing, I grabbed the podcasting equipment and asked Rebecca to join me, and off I went to interview Adria. My first impression of her is that she is a very grounded individual, and as a journalist, she is quite understanding of how challenging it can be to conduct a first interview. She was very gracious, spoke at great length about the issues I asked her about and was very candid in her responses.

Her speech was really good in many ways. First, she basically outlined how she became an eco-holic, a term that she coined circa 2004, when she started dedicating a substantial portion of her time to writing environmentally-related stuff, in a question/answer kind of format. I took many things from her talk, but one of the key concepts she delivered that really struck a chord with me was the notion of citizen engagement. Your Average Joe and Average Jane can and SHOULD be engaged in undertaking steps (however small these may be) to try and influence the government into designing and implementing better environmental policies.

Adria also touched upon an issue that I have also discussed previously on my blog, which is the fact that climate change is NOT the only environmental problem we have, and that if you are an environmental journalist, you must find a niche or carve your own niche so that you can fully plunge into the environmental journalism field. The way Adria put it, you can’t have 20,000 climate change journalists.

You will hear much more stuff in the podcast (my VERY FIRST EVER podcast) as soon as it is uploaded on to the HappyFrog FrogBlog. Hat tips and many thanks to Rebecca for photographs (and last minute recommendations on how to conduct the interview). Very sweet of you. This PondCast was brought to you by HappyFrog.ca’s FrogBlog.

I would just like to close this short comment (I have many more notes about Vasil’s talk that I could share, but I would prefer it if you listened to the podcast first) indicating that Adria Vasil was unbelievably down to Earth. Rebecca and I have this series of photographs that we have started taking (self-portraits including the both of us), and Adria very graciously agreed to join us in a group photo. Many of these are posted on Flickr and will be added to the HappyFrog Flickr Group (soon as I can sort through all of them).

In summary, I would seriously recommend that you listen to the podcast, because Adria summarizes very neatly and very nicely the main messages in her book “Eco-holic”. She fielded some tough questions from the audience, questions that are of course obvious since she writes about life-style changes.

The toughest question I think she faced was along the lines of whether she ALWAYS eat sustainably, and she made a point that she made as many organic and sustainable choices as she possibly could, which I find extremely refreshing. During the podcast interview, she also mentioned that as a journalist, you have to be upfront, honest and accountable. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing her and attending her lecture. I hope she also enjoyed the interview! (fingers crossed). And if you ever read this, Adria – you’ve really made me appreciate the work of environmental journalists. I am privileged with having a few of those, and now I see how important it is to bring the environmental message to the broader audiences. Congratulations on a job well done (and get on with the blog!).



1. Erika Rathje - April 20, 2008

Hi Raul, sorry we missed each other! I spent so long perusing the booths that I didn’t make it to the Happy Frog kiosk til after you’d left.

Adria is a lovely person, very friendly and enthusiastic. She signed my Ecojot notebook! (I didn’t bring a copy of my book, which was fine, because I had enough paper to carry after 5 hours!) I’m looking forward to picking up Ecoholic again with a face and voice behind the words.

Glad you enjoyed her talk and meeting her. Looking forward to your podcast and photos! Good for you for plunging into geekdom!

2. Raul - April 21, 2008

Sorry I missed you Erika! Did you listen yet to the PondCast on HappyFrog’s website? 🙂

3. Erika Rathje - April 22, 2008

Yes, I was there! I was probably 3rd in line, and then scooted off so I didn’t even notice you…
I haven’t yet, no. Been kind of busy/sick since. In fact, I haven’t even watched the podcast from Matt Mullenweg @ Northern Voice yet. Geeeez….

Are you coming to the Tazzu WordPress camp on the 30th?

4. Raul - April 22, 2008

Hi Erika,

Yes I am coming to the Tazzu WordPress camp 🙂 YAY!

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