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Ray of Sustainability Sunshine Interview: Amy Kesling

Posted: 1:05PM June 19th, 2018 | Comments

In honor of the summer solstice on June 21, Sustain Dane is celebrating rays of sustainability sunshine -- people who are transforming Dane County into a healthy, thriving place for everyone.

This month, you can join in and help create a brighter future! Because the solstice falls on June 21, you're invited to please give $21 to Sustain Dane. Every dollar will support our impactful programs that promote sustainability for people and the planet. Your $21 gift will buy a "Ray of Sustainability Sunshine" with your own special dedication message, so you can honor someone in your life who makes change happen for the better. 

Ray of Sustainability Sunshine: Amy Kesling, Sustain Dane's Director of Operations

What is shifting, changing or evolving in our community that gives you hope?
I see organizations embracing the intersectionality of issues. This June, nearly every member organization of Community Shares of Wisconsin is participating in racial justice training, regardless of their specific issue area. Over the past couple months, a small group of diverse nonprofit leaders has been convening to reposition the sector to more effectively address root causes. A coalition of government, business, nonprofit, academia, and community members is gathering to weigh in as the Dane County Council on Climate Change. Each organization comes to the table with their own issue in mind, but sees the importance of working together and supporting issues outside their own scope for the greater good, or the long-term sustainability, of our collective community.
What is a small but surprising example of sustainability you experienced or observed in the past month?
This is a really simple example. Last weekend was our neighborhood garage sale. I love garage sales. I grew up with a garage-saling dad who couldn’t let a good deal pass him by. This was literally our Saturday activity. On a small scale, we’re creating little sustainable economies – I have something I don’t need, and instead of throwing it away, I sell it to you for pretty cheap. On the whole, I make a decent amount of cash from the whole pile of stuff I don’t need, and you get something you do need for less than buying new. We’re reducing waste, supporting our neighbors, and keeping our dollars extremely local.
What inspires you to take action? How do you inspire others to take action?
What inspires me is seeing the myriad ways that taking action can take shape, and how all of our forms of action are important to the whole. Knowing that hosting an event to help connect people, or advocating for multimodal transportation, or even just (attempting) to grow some of my own food (full disclosure: it's really just basil) contributes to an entire movement for sustainability? Yes, I’m in. And seeing the ways that others are contributing continues to inspire me to push my own boundaries of what I can do.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the sun?
Honestly, I love to just be. I love to close my eyes and feel the sun and listen to the wind, traffic, birds, and even the airplanes that take off and land near my house. I smell my neighbors grilling. I see my daughter playing with our dog.I can just be in that moment, and that’s a moment that I know I am experiencing that no one else is, but it somehow connects me to everyone.

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