Kathy and Nolan

Climate pilots: Kathy Harman-Stokes, age 40, and Nolan Stokes, age 41
Children: Ryker, age 8, and Lelia, age 7
Live: 6 miles/9.6 km west of Washington DC in Falls Church, Virginia

We are joining this project because “going green” and reducing our carbon footprint has got to be more than driving less, recycling and putting in compact fluorescent lights. We imagine that our capacity for making change is far greater, and that we could make a statistically significant reduction in our footprint, if we only knew the issues better and how to make the changes.

Through this project we hope to educate ourselves about what the true carbon footprint is for our discrete actions, then start to ask: “How can I change this activity or process?” The more we learn, the more we can challenge our assumptions and day to day habits. For example, what if households only mowed their lawns twice a month, rather than every week? What if we planted more perennials and fewer annuals in our gardens? Think of the impact of planting annuals: consider the carbon footprint of greenhouses, packaging, trucking those annuals to a store, driving to the store to buy the annuals, every year. Compare that to the footprint of planting perennials – only once for many years. We would imagine that easy changes like these could make a huge difference collectively.

We hope to learn about and then make easy but significant lifelong changes in our habits. We look forward to sharing our experiences to encourage the development of new understandings and assumptions of how suburban American life should be for the next generation.

About us
Nolan is a Certified Financial Planner® who prides himself in helping his clients achieve their life goals. Kathy is a lawyer and corporate officer with an education non-profit organization; previously she was editor-in-chief of an environmental law journal and, while at a large Washington DC law firm, “made good law” pro bono for environmental groups. Nolan and Kathy grew up in small towns surrounded by trees, mountains, lakes and rivers. Nolan spent his youth in West Virginia, working on a farm during the summer and fishing in his spare time. Kathy grew up in Oak Ridge Tennessee with the Great Smokey Mountains in sight. They found their green space just outside Washington DC, on peaceful Lake Barcroft, with fishing, their own dock, osprey and wood ducks, and lake-front beaches for the kids.

Spare time
In our spare time, Nolan likes to fish and garden, and Kathy reads books sitting next to the Lake. Both of us enjoy birdwatching and running, swimming and riding bikes. Spare time is short, with both of us working full-time, attached at the hip to our PDAs, and trying to manage the activities of our two children, e.g., baseball, gymnastics, dive team, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, you name it. When we have spare time with our kids, we visit family and friends, stay at a family cabin in the New Jersey pine barrens, and try to be outdoors.