Amplifying their Voices

Alumni in Action

Michal Crawford-Zimring (MASD 2014) has a background in photography and education. She has been passionately pursuing ecological and sustainable design through her work as principal planner at Room to Grow (California). She also works with the California Watershed Project on oyster restoration and monitoring, bioswale planting for stormwater diversion, and native plant and creek restoration. Michal has worked on eco design projects with the San Francisco Institute of Architecture to plan for solar, green roofs and natural lighting design, and she is a member of the Greenbelt Alliance. She holds her BFA from the California College of the Arts and she graduated from MCAD with a MA in Sustainable Design in 2014. Michal is based in California.

Michal, what are you currently working on?

I am working on a podcast and blog series about the work that women environmentalists are doing in their community.  It’s named Environmental Voices Rising – Women at the Mic. 

From the website:

“Environmental Voices Rising is committed to amplifying the voices of all who are working on the frontlines to create sustainable and equitable solutions that will protect all sentient beings, our planet, our resources and our legacy for future generations. ​

Women at the Mic is a podcast that brings you stories from innovative and visionary environmental leaders who have been working on solutions to climate change.”

After spending almost all of 2020 iterating and designing the podcast format and website, I was able to launch on Earth Day 2021. I had no experience doing this, so I had a lot to learn! Now I’m actively seeking new subscribers. 

I created it because I am inspired by all the amazing sustainability projects that women are working on. Some are entrepreneurs and others are working in collaborations with community/global projects. 

I am now looking forward to being part of the communication/educational conversation about how we can create solutions to address climate change.  I’m always interested to hear about new projects that are being created by the younger generation. 

How has the MASD program helped you with this project? 

Everything I learned in the design program has given me the background knowledge I need to comfortably have conversations with my interviewees. In particular, understanding that climate change solutions require us to imagine and understand the interconnections of systems and processes.

What did you learn in the program that you wish everyone could learn?

A little creativity can go a long way. There are solutions that all of us can work on. We don’t need to feel overwhelmed or disconnected because the media gives us doom stories. It is the right time to be part of the sustainability movement and a wonderful career to express your creativity.

If you had a magic wand and could completely solve one sustainability problem, what would it be?

I think I would start with food and water. If we could grow healthier food and provide people with clean water we could make a big step toward being able to live on the planet.

Thank you, Michal!

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Denise DeLuca / Former Director

Denise DeLuca is the Director of MCAD’s Sustainable Design program. She was co-founder of BCI: Biomimicry Creative for Innovation, a network of creative professional change agents driving ecological thinking for radical transformation. Denise is author of the book Re-Aligning with Nature: Ecological Thinking for Radical Transformation, which was illustrated by MASD alum Stephanie Koehler. She also teaches with the Amani Institute.

Denise’s previous roles include Education Director for the International Living Future Institute, Project Manager for Swedish Biomimetics 3000, and Outreach Director for The Biomimicry Institute. Denise is a licensed civil engineer (PE) and holds a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering with a focus on modeling landscape-scale surface and groundwater interactions.  In addition, Denise is a Biomimicry Fellow and a member of the Advisory Council of The Biomimicry InstituteBoard Member of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP), on the editorial board of the Journal of Bionic Engineering, and an Expert with Katerva. Denise is based in Oregon.

contact:  [email protected]