Sustainability Writer Karen Chernick

karen-chernick-greenprophet image from israel.jpg While Green Prophet is unified in purpose, our Prophets are an eclectic bunch with distinctly individual perspectives. In this series we’ll be featuring an inside peek into what makes each of our Prophets tick.

First up is Karen Chernick, art researcher and vegetarian gourmand extraordinaire. When she isn’t penning prophecies, Karen is employed in an art Museum in Tel Aviv and keeps an environmental blog, Crunchy Greenola.

How would you define yourself environmentally?

A learner and a sharer who tries to do as much as she can.

How you get around?

Lots of walking and public transportation, with occasional rides in my parents’ Prius.

Can you tell us about your biggest green passion? What fires you up?

I love learning about ways that art and environmentalism intersect. I think that a lot of creativity is involved in both finding green solutions and in artistic production, so I get really excited when designers and artists come up with innovative ways to use existing materials, avoid waste, and still come up with something aesthetic and functional.

What prompted you to start caring about the environment? When I was seven years old I read a book about a boy my age who learned where meat came from and became a vegetarian. So I became a vegetarian too. My parents thought it was just a phase so they let me do it, but many years later I’m still going strong. Learning about how something as basic as my food effects my surroundings prompted me to learn more about the environment.

What do you think is the most important issue the world faces today?

Global warming.

What is the most important issue in the Middle East?

I think that water shortage is one of the biggest threats to the Middle East, but also that solar energy has great potential in this region.

What’s the saddest thing you’ve ever seen (enviro related)?

It’s definitely not the saddest thing out there, but I hate seeing all the waste around.

What’s the most hopeful project/company/event you’ve seen?

The Tel Aviv Earth Hour Concert in March was one of the coolest green events that I’ve ever seen. Even though many of the people in the audience were there for the free concert, it was a great way to bring environmentalism into the mainstream. Most people wouldn’t have turned off their lights that night purely because of Earth Hour, but due to the fact that a free concert was going on (which was powered by bio-diesel and human-powered energy), many people left their apartments, walked to the main square and conserved energy by default.

What do you do to play your part in greening the earth?

I try to do my part by recycling, conserving electricity (I’m a fanatic about avoiding “phantom” electricity usage), using public transportation and not owning a car, and buying organic and bulk foods.

What are you reading now (green related)? (sites, books, blogs — please include short description and links)

No Impact Man – who lived an extremely low carbon impact lifestyle for a year in the middle of Manhattan and documented the experience in his blog – is one of my favorite green blogs to read. I’m also a big fan of Treehugger, and am always on the lookout for other green bloggers across the Middle East.

What’s your favorite post topic on Green Prophet, and why?

I love posting about environmentally friendly designers and artists. I am also interested in initiatives that bring different populations from the Middle East together, and think that shared environmental concerns can lead to peace.

Who are your environmental heroes? (list 3) Even though his motives may not have been entirely green, my grandfather is one of my biggest environmental heroes. He grew up during the Depression era in the US, so he was used to finding a function for every single thing around the house and avoiding waste. He separated his garbage decades before it was popular, composted, reused every possible container that came his way, and was a fanatic about not wasting electricity. My other environmental heroes include Yossi Sarid and Dr. Seuss’s the Lorax.

If you could meet with one of these heroes what would you ask them?

I would definitely want to meet the Lorax. I’d ask him what advice he has for green peace in the Middle East.What has been the biggest influence in your life?

I’m greatly influenced by things that I read and things that I see. I’d like to think that these influences have led me to try a live a light lifestyle.

If you could make one green wish (or have one of your prophecies come true) what would it be?

My biggest green wish is for environmentalists and governments all over the Middle East to cooperate with each other so that our future living in this region is healthy, happy, green, and secure.

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