About Me

I’m a yerba mate’-fueled social change ink-slinger who focuses on issues of sustainability and social justice. I write and act on a wide range of topics including food justice and urban agriculture, peace & militarism, abuse of corporate power,  racial justice, clean water and energy, green economy, the alternative & sustainable economy, and human rights issues. I am also a new permaculturist, having recently received my permaculture design certificate at Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas, CA. I’m interested in advancing human and natural systems that are regenerative, resilient, and healthy. My writing has appearing at Oakland Local, EcoLocalizer, Truthout, Terrain: Northern California’s Environmental Magazine, Matador Travel Network, Matador ChangeSocialist Worker, PlanetSave, Sustainablog, Food First, Eat.Drink.Better, Planetwize, Destination Guides, and Ethical Traveler.

My goals are to construct compelling narratives, share under-told stories, motivate people to action, and to place issues within a broader context, linking the local with the global.  I believe the power of new social media for positive change, elevating critical thinking, and building community is only beginning to be tapped.

My academic background is in philosophy & comparative religions (B.A.) and in Humanities (M.A.), from which I gained a deep appreciation for both our global challenges and shared human experiences.  I taught for 5 years in the Humanities Department (Philosophy, Comparative Religions, Critical Thinking, Environmental Ethics,  Peace Studies, & World History courses) at a community college in Ohio.  Besides teaching, I was a program coordinator which involved being a faculty adviser to an issues-based student club (Sinclair Think Tank), maintaining websites, co-editing the departmental student journal, and scheduling part-time faculty.

Before turning westward, I embarked on a 6-month long around-the-world adventure.   I relocated to the Bay Area, where I  have since been writing about and working for various peace, social justice, and sustainability non-profits and issues.  I have traveled to or lived in over 15 countries and am continually trying to get my Spanish to the next level.

For comments, writing assignments, or story tips please contact me at: vanlenning@hotmail.com


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