New Board Member: Derek Taylor

Photo from Derek Taylor.

Photo from Derek Taylor.

With a curriculum vitae spanning many academic, non-governmental, governmental, political and private organizations, Derek Taylor brings an experienced and interesting dynamic to The Starfish. Aside from completing a B.A. in History and Political Science and an M.A. in International Relations at McMaster University, Derek has been involved in his community, whether at McMaster University or in his hometown of Hamilton, constantly since a very young age. Although Derek’s pursuits have not always solely regarded environmentalism, notions of sustainability and a “greener” tomorrow have always been at the forefront of everything he has done. Although Derek can be found through out Southern Ontario because of his many interests and commitments, he currently resides in the east end of Hamilton.

When did you realize that you had a passion for the environment? What made you realize it?

I realized that I had a passion for the environment at a relatively young age. Spending much of my childhood in Buckhorn, Ontario, a small hamlet in the heart of the Kawartha Lakes, enabled me to become immersed in a natural environment for most of my childhood. As my interests grew and life took me down different paths, my experiences in nature as a child have always come with me.

Do you have a favourite Starfish article? What makes it so special to you?

My favourite Starfish article would have to be, “Tracking a Turkey: The Quest for an Ethical Thanksgiving,” by Steve Kux. I found that this article highlights many pressing environmental issues, while providing an interesting narrative. The writer’s journey to find an ethical turkey for Thanksgiving highlights a dilemma that most environmentally minded people have. The article not only creates awareness around various issues, but also acts almost as a guidebook for a reader that may be in a similar situation.

If you could focus your energy on one issue facing the environment today, what would it be? How would you do it?

If I could focus my interests upon a singular issue, it would be our societal use of resources. Far to often we neglect the environmental cost of our consumerist ways. The notion that disposable is better or that profit margins are more important than production ethics is a leading contributor to the decimation of our global environment. There are many ways to address this issue, however awareness is the most important. The sad fact is that many do not recognize the impact of miss-managed resource use.

Do you have any green new year resolutions for 2013?

I have two New Years resolutions that may qualify as being green. Firstly, I am attempting to limit the amount of “new” products that I am purchasing. It is

impossible to completely avoid purchasing any new products, however I am trying to make a conscious decision with all of my purchases. Secondly, I am attempting to only purchase food within a 160km radius. Once more it is difficult to always achieve this, however I make a strong effort to adhere to this rule.

What would you like to see the Starfish accomplish this year?

I would like to see The Starfish continue to grow into an even greater awareness organization. I believe that The Starfish can grow beyond the internet and begin to grow roots into various communities. The Starfish does not only have the capacity to create awareness of environmental issues, but it has the ability to bring young environmentalists together to share ideas and take action together, moving towards a more sustainable community.

Tom Wiercioch