15 June 2007


Hi Folks!!

I would expect that most of you all already know me, one way or another. For those of you who don't let me briefly introduce myself. My name is Mary M. Matthews, I live in Athens, Georgia and I am a full time international environmental consultant. My job takes me to wonderful places all over the world, where I help to design transboundary water projects, mainly for the UN and World Bank. I have a BA in cultural anthropology from Earlham College, a MA, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from UGA. I also have a graduate certificate in Prinicipals of Conservation and Sustainable Development from the UGA Institute for Ecology.

As a graduate student most of my work was examining how governments deal with the challenges of energy and environmental demands. I focused on the economic incentives for cooperation, which now translates into the work I do. This past spring I taught a course in Environmental Security for UGA's Globis Center in Verona Italy. The class was a lot of fun and gave me a lot to think about in terms of the way I live my life, and what more I can do to make the world a better place.

Now, to add another layer to my introduction, my step mother died about a year and a half ago. My father moved in with us, and so now I live with 3 men (my son, my husband and my father) and 4 dogs (our two, Luke and Lucy, Dad's 2, Molly and April). Because Iwork at home, when I'm here, it's a bit of a challenge. Formerly my office was our spare bedroom. Now it is my father's bedroom. My bedroom became my office, and after 8 months it became increasingly obvious it is an untenable situation.

So I decided it was time "to build an office in the back of the garden" as my senior partner said. The more I thought about it the more I liked the idea. Afterall, it made sense. But instead of something prefabricated, or something standard, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to "practice what I preach".

After all, between the class in Italy, and the projects I help design, I advocate conservation measures all the time. Water conservation, energy conservation, and even money conservation. But could I actually do it myself? What would it take and what would it cost?

So, after talking with the county planning office about zoning (*check), looking at a budget (*check), and lining up a builder (*check), I think this crazy "office in the back of the garden" may actually be about to happen.

The goal is to make it as *green* as possible. I want to make it the most environmentally friendly I possibly can. I want it not just to be environmentally friendly to build but also to maintain. Oh, and I want it to be a good place to work. That's important too.

When I've mentioned my plans to friends and neighbors, everyone is very excited about it and want to know more!

This blog is my way of keeping folks posted, and, hopefully, getting some good ideas too. I welcome all and any suggestions, comments, thoughts, and questions. Since I still have a day job, which keeps me busy, I'll answer when I'm able to. Thanks for your understanding, your support, and your enthusiasm!!

Very best,

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