Making the world a better place.
BioCycle July 2019
I’m writing this on Father’s Day and while I didn’t know Jerry Goldstein well, I certainly know his daughter. And I know that if such a thing is possible, Jerry is glowing with pride about his daughter Nora. Nora is the heart of BioCycle — the magazine, the conferences, and most importantly, the ideal. The overriding theme of all that Nora does (personally and professionally) is making the world a better place. This is the core of her being.
Things I know about Nora: She never says no to coffee. She reads mysteries but avoids scary books and movies and by scary I mean Harry Potter. Don’t even mention Aliens. She likes a good beer and a nice glass of wine. She is almost always tired.
I could tell you about how special our relationship is because on rare occasions she will stay at my house and let me pamper her. I have fond memories of dinner on the deck and floating on the river. But that is not the essence of Nora.
The essence of Nora and the essence of BioCycle are one in the same. Nora gets most excited talking about innovative new programs that make the world a better place. Those can range in size from bicycle collection of organics in Vermont to statewide initiatives for food scrap diversion. They all make her happy and hopeful. They don’t even have to be innovative. Tales of more people and places getting on the compost bandwagon bring equal joy. Nora does not discriminate based on tonnage. She also does not discriminate based on type of diversion. Diversion to digesters is right up there with diversion to composting. The only way that you can top either in her book is to combine them and throw in food recovery to boot.
While much of her passion is devoted to organics (food recovery, food scrap diversion, yard trimmings, animal manures, composting and anaerobic digestion) she is also excited about other routes to a better future. Using these products to make cities greener with urban farms, stormwater infrastructure and urban forests are right up there. So are green sources of energy and methods of transport. Nora and I have had many lengthy brainstorming sessions about what a sustainable city can look like and the right roads to get there.
Sometimes Nora will tell me that she’s been going through old issues of the magazine. She will often find ideas that make the cover today in articles that go back several decades. Change is a slow and messy process. But she keeps at it. You can see at the conferences how people want a piece of Nora. They want her approval and her blessing. I know never to try to talk to her at these meetings — let everyone else have a little bit. I also know first hand how much her approval means. I smile from ear to ear when one of my columns gets Goldstein praise.
I would like more opportunities to pamper Nora. To help her relax and recover so she can keep us all going for the decades to come.
Sally Brown is friend and contributor to BioCycle for 20 years.