Karly Pinch – The Cynical Optimist

Who are you?

I’m Karly, and I’m an environmentalist, a feminist, an outspoken introvert. I’m a traveller, a homebody, a mediator, a cynical optimist. I’m a partner, a volunteer, a friend, a colleague and a neighbour.

What do you do for fun?

I try to get outside. I go camping and hiking, I play softball, make trips to the farmer’s market, or sit on my rooftop balcony overlooking the ocean. I’m not really the type of person to go out to restaurants or clubs or look for places with lots of people, but I love to have people over to play games like Settlers of Catan and Cranium. And I like to curl up on the couch on a rainy Sunday with a cup of tea and watch movies.

What is your favourite community? Why?

I find that some of the best communities form around food, with people who are taking the time to connect with their food, rather than grab it on the go or buy pre-packaged meals. I go out to join other vegetarians to try out veggie restaurants around the city through a meetup.com group, Meatless Meetup. I love the energy of farmer’s markets, and I went to a cheese making workshop recently. I’m starting to learn about all of the amazing and innovative things going on around Vancouver surrounding food security, urban farming and gardening. It’s a new community for me, but maybe that’s why it still holds so much mystery and excitement.

What is your superpower?

I think my superpower is my sense of adventure and exploration. I can never sit still, and I love discovering new places. I’ve spent years living overseas in Japan and Cameroon, and taken the time for long adventures travelling through Asia and Eastern/Southern Africa, and I’m working on my local exploration, last year around BC and Washington, and an upcoming road trip to the North West Territories.

How do you use it to build community?

I hope that I use it by being the type of person who wouldn’t say no. I’m always up for learning something new, especially about someone or something I know nothing about, and everybody has interesting stories to tell and a new perspective to bring to a project. I want to experience things first hand, get my hands dirty, and learn from life. I try to implement that through side projects and volunteering, and this summer my goal is to learn a lot more about gardening, farming and food security. Literally, getting my hands dirty!

My Three Favourite Things About Karly Are…

1. Passionately Environmental. Certainly, this is one of the many touchpoints and the over-arching worldview that Karly and I share, which is great, because we also share the seemingly incongruent capacity for cynical optimism. While significant changes and, well, sacrifices will be what it takes to save humanity from the Revenge of Gaia, I appreciate how Karly finds and inspires little victories such reduced printing/copying, cycling to work, composting things, and educating her colleagues and friends about some of the small things that we can all do to keep the planet greener. Follow her on The Twitter – @KarlyGreenP – for such updates.

Karly’s sense of adventure not only explores people, places and cultures, but also takes her to the intersection of some pretty interesting and important environmental stories, which I love hearing her tell. You will, too.

2. Expressively Introverted. Oh wow. When it comes to our communication styles, I’m not sure if I’ve worked with someone so dyametrically opposed to how I prefer to give, receive and create information. Karly is an unapologetic introvert from whom I learned a lot during our 13 months as colleagues; and I especially appreciated how she not only tolerated my loudness, but was also loud herself when the situation called for – or demanded – it. For example, Karly has a whiteboard-based, professionally-cartoonish graphic-story describing experiential learning (and its value) that is one of the best demonstrations of the concept that I’ve even seen in over 12 years of teaching this stuff. Not only does she pick her extroverted moments, but she delivers work of the highest quality during said moments – after all, she probably thinks a lot about what to say during hours and hours of thoughtful introspection…

3. A Foodie Through and Through. I love that she loves the energy and ideas – not to mention the products and services – of Farmers’ Markets. Karly is an important person to have on the front lines of urban farming in Vancouver and I look forward seeing and tasting the results of her energy, ideas and actions in this field…or a field…or balcony. Also, Karly’s marinated tofu recipe (she often showed me, but never shared, delicious sandwiches with marinated tofu in the middle of ‘em) has taken on many forms in my recent culinary endeavours, so thanks again for your ideas, Ms. Pinch!

Special Bonus Reason!

She Took a Cheese-Making Class. Truly, this is one of the greatest things ever. I need not say another thing, for this is an amazing reflection of how Karly is explorative, adventurous and turns ideas into actions! Delicious, delicious actions that go with any meal any time.