GreenActionNews is pleased to announce that Kino McFarland is joining us as a Contributing Correspondent. We asked a few questions to help introduce you to Kino.
1. How/When did you become aware of environmental issues?
I first became aware of environmental issues when I was a young child. I don’t know exactly what the first issue was that made me aware, but I loved watching Captain Planet as a kid and recycling and animal welfare issues became important to me very early on. I even started my own club that was going to bring awareness to the world. We called it the EIIOH, which stood for “The Earth is in Our Hands.” At some point, we raised enough money from recycling the neighbors’ cans and other things that we donated a few hundred dollars to a local animal shelter. I thought my friends and I could change the world.
2. What environmental concerns are most important to you and why are those important to you?
All environmental issues are important to me. They are not mutually exclusive. Everything that we take from the environment and put back in effects the earth, whether it be taking oil and putting it into the atmosphere as gasoline or taking an animal from its natural habitat and placing it in a totally unfamiliar habitat, or even killing off the species altogether, effects all of the differing ecosystems. The earth is our ecosystem and each part of it, regardless of whether we humans are living in a landlocked area or in the middle of the ocean, is essential to its function as a whole.
We have a saying that says, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. You may need that hand some day,” which suggests that if you harm the one who provides for you, they will stop. An apathetic view toward environmentalism is essentially biting the hand that feeds us. [Tweet “Apathy toward #environmentalism is biting the hand that feeds says @KinoMcFarland”]
3. What is your background in writing/journalism?
I am a lifelong writer, but my formal background is from Full Sail University in Creative Writing for Entertainment, where I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts. I have also written for the vegetarian news website, This Dish is Veg, and the horror lifestyle magazine and website, Living Dead Magazine.
4. What kinds of environmental activities and/or community organizations have you been involved in?
As I mentioned earlier, I started my own club as a child. Later on, I volunteered at several animal shelters and the animal rights organization, Mercy for Animals. I am also a filmmaker and so I occasionally take my camera and make PSAs in addition to making films that tend to have an environmental meaning.
5. What are the most critical challenges do you feel the environmental movement faces?
I think that the most critical challenge is convincing the disbelievers that there is a problem and that they can help fix it. There seem to be a lot of people that still think global warming is a myth or that humans are not causing mass extinction, despite the research that has been published.
6. What’s the most challenging thing for you about being an environmental journalist? How do you address that?
The most challenging thing for me about being an environmental journalist is my lack of formal education in the sciences. While I took electives in marine biology and took the few required science courses, my formal education is not on par with some other journalists. I combat this with doing as much research into the issues and sciences as I can on my own.
5. Tell us about yourself (where you grew up, where you live now, family, education, career) and how these connect with your interest in environmental journalism.
I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and now live in Seattle, Washington with my husband. I studied creative writing, motion picture production, and electronic media in college and am now attempting to be a full-time writer and filmmaker. A lot of environmental or conservation films inspired me to get into filmmaking and I feel like I should pass on the information to the best of my ability, whether it be through journalism, my own films, or an art project.
6. What honors/awards have you received?
I received the Advanced Achievement Award and Valedictorian at Full Sail University in November 2014 and my last short film won the Best Sound Design award for Seattle’s 48 Hour Film Horror Project in 2014.
7. Who inspires you and how do they inspire you?
I am inspired by people who aren’t afraid to speak up. I grew up very shy and withdrawn, which resulted in me being bullied, especially because I was easily embarrassed. People who came to my rescue and told authority figures what was going on when I couldn’t find my voice were important to me and what they’ve done will inspire me for life. I don’t need saving anymore, but I can be the one to do the saving now.
8. What are your hobbies?
I enjoy reading, watching films, making films, going to concerts, making art, writing, and playing video games. I also love to learn languages. I can carry on a conversation in French and Spanish and am slowly learning Japanese and German.
9. List your favorites: book, movie, music artist/song, food, quote.
My favorite book is Night Film by Marisha Pessl, my favorite film is American Psycho, my favorite band is Bella Morte, my favorite food is currently a tie between tacos and chili (both vegan, of course), and a quote that has stuck with me for some time is from Maggie Stiefvater’s Young Adult novel, Forever, “People shouldn’t have to earn kindness. They should have to earn cruelty.”
10. What is something unique or surprising about yourself?
I am able to escape from a straitjacket and chains within 30 seconds, but I usually choose not to because the struggle is what entertains the crowd.
11. What do you hope to accomplish at GreenActionNews?
I hope that I can bring more readers to GreenActionNews and promote its coverage well. If we inspire a few people to make changes in their lives for the betterment of the environment, then that would make me happy.
12. Why do you feel it is important for there to be news coverage of environmental activism?
Environmental activism tends to get swept under the rug by a lot of news outlets, activists are seen as terrorists, or even just stereotyped into a “crazy” box. We need to push that box away and show people the truth so they can stop living with blinders and apathy.
13. Is there anything else you want to add?
Being apathetic only allows people to control you. Be passionate.