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'I grew up on a small dairy farm in bucolic Vermont (USA). I've always known that we have plenty enough for everyone's need but not for everyone's greed. My family didn't waste things. We reused, reduced, and repurposed as much as we could before throwing anything in the trash. I've carried this through my life and am careful not to trash anything that may still have value for someone.

I've always been a minimalist who lives close to the Earth in a way that minimizes my reliance on capitalism. I don't want to work myself to death, and I've managed that so far by reducing my materialism and not striving for bigger/better than I need.

I've been an environmental activist for more than a decade, and I got a Master's in Environmental Law & Policy from Vermont Law School in 2013. In 2011, I was arrested in front of the White House as part of the Tar Sands Action group headed by Bill McKibben of The advisor to my degree at Vermont Law School (Gus Speth) was also arrested as part of the action.

I've been active with my local Sierra Club in getting progressive candidates elected and in getting my local governments to enact environmental laws and regulations, including a pledge to go zero energy for city facilities by 2030.

Living in Florida makes environmental action seem very futile right now. Our governor is the worst we've ever had. I think my efforts will have a bigger impact if I'm near NYC and DC, so I plan to move to the northeast. (Not to mention, Florida is hotter than ever, and hurricanes have gotten less easy to predict and more likely to strengthen quickly and profoundly.)

The fight over women's bodily autonomy has added extra stress to the environmental movement, which includes many women. I helped get abortion on the ballot here in Florida and am anxious to see how the state handles it if the amendment passes. Our state government does not act in good faith with citizen-led initiatives, so nothing is guaranteed even if we win. It's discouraging, but we do not have the option to give up.'


You can follow Elsie Gilmore, who describes herself as 'Artist : Author : Activist : Adventurer : Hugger' at, subscribe to her writing on Substack, and follow her on Facebook and Instagram

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