Making Sustainability a Family Value0

Michael Parrish DuDell | Fri Oct 28 2011 |

A Word from MPD Talking with Michael Parrish DuDell, our Managing Editor

When the team at sits down each week to create the editorial calendar, we don’t generally concentrate on one specific theme; we prefer instead to seamlessly glide through the dynamic world of sustainability and produce the most compelling content possible.

This week, however, a theme seems to have accidentally emerged: how women are playing an active role in the cleantech industry.

On Monday we published a piece spotlighting five women who are leading the way in the sustainability sector. What’s more, we shared with our readers a special opportunity to connect with Solar Sister founder Katherine Lucey for a video feature that will be published in the Green Room in the coming weeks.

With all this chatter around the role of women in clean technology, I knew I’d be remiss if my Editor’s Letter didn’t include mention of my very favorite woman of cleantech: my mother.

Spend only an hour with the lady I call “Mom” and she will probably gush (at least once) about how the solar panels that sit atop her Gaithersberg, Maryland home have revolutionized the way she thinks about energy.

An early adopter, my mother encountered significant pushback from the neighborhood association when she first decided to install her photovoltaic system. In the past few years, however, the conversation around solar has blossomed, and she is now considered a model example of how homeowners can truly become a champion for alternative energy.

My mother’s solar exuberance will become less of a surprise when you learn she works at the Maryland Clean Energy Center and has been a staunch advocate of sustainable living from my very first memory.  It seems fitting—foretold even—that today I’m the editor of

It raises the question of whether culture dictates how open one will be to a sustainable lifestyle. Like other family values, does this one have the sticking power to make a lasting difference throughout one’s adult life? I believe the answer to this question is a definitive yes.

As the dawn of a new year approaches, it seems even more important to refresh our commitment to maintaining and promoting a sustainable lifestyle. Whether it’s through our nuclear or chosen family, it’s key to remember that the example we set truly does make a difference.

And so, here’s to the women who are leading the way in the sustainability sector and creating lasting solutions for our future. Oh yeah, and thanks, mom, for passing down such an important family value.

Michael Parrish DuDell