Unintended Consequences

genevievean interview with

Genevieve Cross

Business Consultant/Entrepreneur


 I work with a diverse group of businesses and non-profit organizations. An example is a current partner that builds solar projects, mostly in island settings, to reduce the cost of electricity in markets where power rates are unusually high due to lack of competition. Another current partner is a company that manufactures garden products, including back-yard chicken coops, from reclaimed and sustainably harvested wood. My work is dedicated to furthering my understanding of where the leverage points are to make meaningful change in the world.

What is/was you relationship to ReLeaf?

California ReLeaf staff, 1990 – 2000.

What did/does California ReLeaf mean to you personally?

My aim in joining California ReLeaf 24 years ago was to improve the air quality in Southern California so I would not be sick every time we had a smoggy day. As with so many things in life, it is often the unintended consequences that end up being most meaningful. What California ReLeaf meant for me was the opportunity to work with a wide variety of people and organizations. The time I spent there put me in contact with everyone from community volunteers to the dedicated staff members of non-profit groups to business leaders, researchers, educators, elected officials, government staff on the local, state, and federal level and of course my priceless cohorts at California ReLeaf.

As a person who has always been lead by my passion, California ReLeaf was an opportunity to express my love of nature, people, and organizing to get things done.

What is your best memory or event of California ReLeaf?

Hmmm. That’s a tough one. I have many fond and favorite memories. I think about tree planting events filled with inspired volunteers, our annual meetings where we got to bring together leaders from all of the California ReLeaf groups, the privilege it was to work with our board of advisors and the state board of advisors, and I especially think about our staff meetings where, after reading all of the grant applications, we made the sometime agonizing final decisions regarding which projects would be funded.

Why is it important that California ReLeaf continue its mission?

Trees, people, and community participation—what’s not to like about that?

I am a big advocate of community projects and of people taking part in creating the environment around them. I believe urban forestry is a fabulous way for young people to learn about living systems as well as for everyone to participate in creating something lasting, environmentally sound, and beneficial to their community.

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