Thanks to my sister Michelle McIlroy for designing the logo!


Ever since I was a child, I have been very interested in nature and the environment. I have a B.S. degree in wildlife biology, and have worked as a zookeeper, wildlife biologist, and ecologist. I am conducting a brief survey of world leaders, government officials, religious leaders, corporate CEOs, environmental groups, wildlife experts, and others regarding nature and the environment. I am also very interested in religious views, customs, and beliefs from around the world, and the interactions between religion, culture, society, and the environment. This is something I am doing out of personal interest, and is not connected to any group or organization. I have been working on this project since the summer of 2006, and hope to eventually turn it into a book and/or documentary. I am hoping to make this into a global project, with responses from all segments of society. Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or comments. If you have not already done so, I hope that you will consider taking part in my project, and please spread the word to anyone you think might be interested! Thanks for stopping by!


October 27, 2011

The Future

Today I am going to share something a little different.  What follows is my response to one of the Discussion Questions for the Intro to Sustainability class I am taking as part of my MBA program.  The question asked: "Read the conclusion on pages 88-93 of the Challenge of Sustainability. In what areas do you think society in general, the United States, and you specifically need to focus your attention and efforts. What areas are the most crucial? In what areas do you think you can make the most impact?"
And here is my response...  I think it sounds pretty good, personally, but regardless, I wanted to share my thoughts with more than just my classmates....
I believe that the last paragraph in The Challenge of Sustainability really captures the essence of the sustainability movement, at least for me "Our fates are intertwined. We owe it to each other, and to our children and their children, to combine forces and ensure a sustainable future on earth" (El-Ashry, 2002, pg. 93). This is the mindset that everyone involved in the sustainability movement needs to adopt, because this truly is one of the keys to the success of the movement, as far as I am concerned. Remembering that we are all interconnected and that each of our actions can impact the outcome is crucial, not only in the planning and implementation, but in living it as well. We must not only talk the talk, but walk the walk, or there really is no hope for a sustainable future.

Achieving the Millennium Development Goals will be crucial to the success of creating a sustainable future. In particular, I think some of the biggest challenges that need to be focused on are eradicating poverty and hunger, and creating better educational information. Until people have their basic needs met, they are not going to worry about anything beyond where are they going to get their next meal, or where are they going to sleep tonight, or will they even wake up in the morning. The future for them is counted in hours, not years. To ensure that as a society we are doing our best to meet the needs of the neediest will greatly improve the chances of a sustainable future. Education is another key, and with that comes improving literacy and ensuring equal access to educational resources, regardless of class, gender, religion, race, income level, or any other characteristic so commonly used to divide rather than unite, to withhold rather than share, and ultimately to hold down certain portions of society.

As a country, we are doing a fairly good job of responding to international needs for assistance, yet we neglect the people in our own backyard, who are often just as needy as those we are assisting in other countries. Removing the inequalities among our citizens and putting everyone on an even playing field when it comes to opportunities and information is crucial. Yes, some will resist, simply because they do not want to be a part of the solution, but many are not a part of the solution simply as a result of circumstance. By overlooking these segments of society, we are overlooking our full potential. It is going to take the collaboration of all segments of society to design, implement, and maintain a sustainable future, not just those with access to the education, information, and resources.

Much of what we are trying to accomplish through the development of a sustainable future will be for nothing if much of the world is left trying to catch up to the developed nations. Resources will continue to be depleted, population growth will continue to explode, pollution and degradation will continue unchecked, and access to the essentials of life - clean water, adequate food resources, medicine, a renewable source of energy - all of these will cause the plan to fall apart if everyone is not included in the conversation.

I believe that for the United States, taking a leadership role in the global efforts is essential, we should be seen as helping to lead the way, not trying to catch-up depending on who the current political leaders are. Rely on sound science, economic models, and plain old ingenuity, not whichever way the political winds are currently blowing. All citizens need to be allowed to participate fully in the process, as whatever is decided at the top will most greatly affect those at the bottom. Inspiring change, not forcing change, will be a much easier way to bring about the needed changes and make sure that they become a permanent reality, and not just a passing fad. We need to be leaders in the search for alternative, renewable forms of energy, we need to provide adequate funding to the necessary research, and stop basing our decisions on who is better able to line our pockets. We need to create an educational system that fosters creativity and collaboration, not one that simply ensures that everyone gets a high enough score on standardized tests. We need to ensure equal access to information and resources to people from all walks of life, not just those who can best or most easily afford it. We need to lead the way to change, not let change happen without us.

For me personally, I think one of my biggest impacts can be on working towards the educational aspects, to help ensure the information is reaching everyone, that the messages being sent are consistent, and that the people who need to hear the message the most are actually able to listen. Combined with my background in environmental biology, my interest in environmental issues, particularly on a personal level, and what I will hopefully learn from and take from this program, I think that the opportunities for me to help make a difference will become much more of a reality. Yes, I can do my part in leading by example, making changes to my personal lifestyle, and applying what I know to how I live, but I think for me one of the things I want to do is help to make a difference by making sure that everyone realizes their connection to and role in the overall movement.


El-Ashry, M. et. al. (2002, September). The Challenge of Sustainability. Washington, DC: Global Environment Facility. Retrieved from

September 18, 2011

Sustainable Business and Green Development

Fourteen years after graduating from college with a B.S. in Environmental and Forest Biology, Wildlife Management concentration, I have decided to return to school.  I am just about to begin a program to earn an MBA in Sustainable Business, with a focus on Green Development.  Environmental issues have been interests of me for pretty much my whole life, and I thought that this degree would be a good way of combining that interest with my experiences in the business/retail world.  Would be very interested in talking to and networking with people who are involved in this field, whether in a personal or professional capacity.  I am taking an accelerated, online version of the program, and if all goes well, should have my degree by the Spring of 2013.  Hope to hear from some of you soon regarding this!

August 25, 2011

New Online Store for Earth Survey Project!!

Visit my new online store! All of the products feature the logo designed by my talented artist sister Michelle McIlroy and the proceeds will be used to continue work on the project in the future... Eventually I hope to turn this into a book or documentary, or perhaps tie it in with my MBA in Sustainable Business, which I just enrolled in. Please check back often for new products, and feel free to share this with your friends!  The store can be found at


March 15, 2011


Private Citizen
Today’s Date: 20 December 2007

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

One of the largest influences in my life and one of the reasons that I decided to work in ecological and species conservation was my childhood growing up on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. It is a wilderness lover’s paradise, as is much of Canada, and I spent much of my youth exploring the outdoors and the sea. A particular interaction that specifically caused me to enter into this field of work was witnessing the protests against logging of Carmanah Valley’s old growth forests when I was 18 years old. Our family also had a dog growing up which was very much a part of the family and I believe influenced me in caring for the welfare of animals and species.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

One of my favorite places to be when I was a child was either the forests close to my home or an island close to the community where I grew up called Sidney Island. We had a boat growing up and would travel with other families to the uninhabited island to camp and swim and hike. It is a quiet island surrounded by sandy beaches, much bird and sea life and is an excellent place to be on a sunny day.

Now? I would say that one of my favorite places today is either Garibaldi Lake in Garibaldi Park, British Columbia or Krabi, Thailand where I visited several years ago. They combine two amazing outdoor features – the pristine mountains and glaciers of Garibaldi Park and the clear, warm, fish-laden waters of Krabi. These areas symbolize both a beautiful and species-rich wilderness environment for me.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

If I had to pick one animal as a favorite, it would probably be the tiger, followed in close second by the dolphin. I believe tigers to be physically gorgeous and intelligent animals and feel that they very much encapsulate the species extinction crisis we face today. I read a “Time magazine” article on the dire circumstances of tigers in the wild when I was about 20 years old and the urgency of the article’s message has stayed with me all this time, 15 years later. I adore dolphins because of their intelligence, playfulness, and curiosity.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

I think that the greatest environmental challenge facing humanity now as well as in the future is climate change. It is such a massive problem and the result of so many entrenched human activities that I think it will be extremely difficult to deal with it now and for many years in the future. It is an environmental problem that will truly affect all aspects of life, including species loss on land and in the sea.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

If I could give one piece of advice regarding the environment, I would say that it would be for each individual to think very carefully regarding their actions in daily life, particularly regarding driving vehicles, flying in airplanes, energy consumption in homes, recycling, and purchasing products. There are many ways that we can easily help the environment through our actions, through being aware of the impact of our actions. I believe it is a very exciting concept to think of how our intelligent actions today can help keep our environment healthy and bountiful for future generations. I would like to know that people 100, 500 and thousands of years in the future will still be able to say that there are tigers and many other beautiful and important species living and flourishing in the wild. Humans need a healthy environment and species populations for their livelihoods just as much as they need us and our careful actions to preserve them.

Received via postal mail

February 01, 2011

Logo for the Earth Survey Project

After having run this project for the last few years, I decided that I wanted to have some sort of logo for it, just because I wanted to create more of an identity for the project. I ran the idea by my very talented artist sister, and here is what she has come up with so far! It is still a work in progress, but once the logo is completed, I will begin using it on the blog and other places where I post information about the project!


January 25, 2011

International Year of Forests, 2011

A couple of links about International Year of Forests, thought it might be of interest....

Save forests. Save ourselves | BirdLife Community
It's now official - 2011 is the UN International year of the forests. BirdLife welcomes the spotlight this year falling on the lungs of our planet and home to the majority of the World's biodiversity, said Dr Marco Lambertini, BirdLife International's Chief Executive.

International Year of Forests, 2011
Welcome to the International Year of Forests, 2011 (Forests 2011) Web site, a global platform to celebrate people's action to sustainably manage the world's forests. The United Nations General Assembly declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests to raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.

Here, you will find information regarding events being organised throughout the International Year as well as interactive web tools and resources to promote dialogue on forests. Tell us how you plan to celebrate "forests for people" during 2011, so that we may showcase your stories and initiatives through this website.

"We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors; we borrow it from our Children." ~Native American proverb