Green People: Shawn Rosenmoss

Welcome to Green Stacks. The community resource for a greener life


Shawn Rosenmoss


City or Hometown
South Louisiana

Program or Position at the Library

SF Environment

Sr Environmental Specialist, Manager of Fundraising and Community Partnerships

Shawn Rosenmoss

Favorite Book, Music or Movie
That's a tough one. At the moment, it's Constantine's Sword. The chances are very good it will change tomorrow. I'm also really enjoying Rebecca Solnit's "Paradise Built in Hell" If I had to pick a favorite Music, all of the other Music would feel bad (they're like siblings in that). Groundhog Day—movies don't take it all so damn personally when you pick a favorite.

What is your green philosophy.
Bloom where you're planted. Study circus instead of going to the mall. Drive less, sing more. Dance with your kids. Spend time with people who make you laugh.

Is it easy being green?
Often. It seems like much of our NOT being green is about consumption and is tied to trying to compensate for ....whatever that emptiness and sense of alienation so many of us feel. If we can fill our lives with things that truly bring us joy, we wouldn't have to consume so much of the other stuff. Which isn't to say it's not difficult to discover exactly what that joyful thing or experience is—sometimes it just feels so much easier to buy a new briefcase or cell phone or black high heels or, if you can afford it, a shiny new SUV with power steering, lots of cup holders and a video screen in the back seat to keep your kids quiet while you listen to Nina Totenburg on NPR talk about the national debt. I don't pretend I've mastered it. I've certainly bought my share of black spiked heels.

What do you renew, recycle, reuse?
Well, I renew my library card pretty often, since I seem to loose it on a regular basis. (Hopefully whoever finds them knows to throw them in the Blue Bin) One of the first things I recycled was an old dress of my mom's. I was five. I cut the top off the skirt and sliced up the belt to make straps to turn the top into a little kindergarten-sized tank top. I've been cutting up and reconstructing my old clothes and other unknown peoples used clothes since then—so almost 50 years.

What one thing do you do every day to help the earth?
OK, this is gross. I don't flush the toilet every time I use it—but other people don't have to do that. I'm sure there is some other equally gross or not so gross thing they can do.

What one thing would you encourage others to do to help the planet?
Hang out on the stoop after work talking to your neighbors.

Who is the person who has had the most influence on your environmental philosophy?
Not one person really. My great grandmother: who was born right after the Civil War and pretty much lost everything during the Depression. Slow Food??? She would be so amused. I think she used to refer to it as Real Life. My Dad: who really truly can repair anything, so why would you need to buy a new one? He's also a major energy conservation guy and hunter from South Louisiana. My Mom: who was pretty adamant when I was growing up about whole, healthy food (again, with the Real Life thing)

Was there a key moment when you knew you had to become involved in environmental activities?
Aside from not ever really wanting to use resources I didn't need to use, I have an undergrad in electrical engineering, but I left the field pretty early on. When Energy started looking more political and I began to understand the social justice overview electricity became interesting to me again and I knew I wanted to do more and learn more.

What is the most important issue facing the planet?
Global Warming kind of trumps a lot of other issues. But that doesn't mean we only work on that. Everyone must continue working on the things they feel drawn to—education, world peace, child trafficking, affordable housing, international women's rights, access to information, creating a commons. There is certainly no dearth of solutions to our challenges.

Where is your favorite place?
Atchafalaya River Basin in South Louisiana; Mont St Michel.

What is your perfect meal?
This would be dependant on my Great Grandmother not being dead so she could prepare these items--biscuits, butter and preserves made from figs from her backyard; creole tomatoes from the Creole Tomato Man who sells tomatoes from his truck near my mom's house in New Orleans on Tuesdays; and a side of vegetarian chow fun.

Favorite plant or tree?

Favorite animal?
Elephants and hampsters and those freakish looking miniature ponies.

What's your secret?
I've never been able to count out 5/4 time.

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