Our newest board member, Michelle Ellison, says Ojai captured her heart when she first arrived to visit her husband Andrew, an Ojai native. It was a prodigious visit for both Ojai and Michelle.
“I have been fortunate to call Ojai home since 2012,” said Michelle, who hails from Wisconsin, and is now the mother of two young children. “My involvement with the Ojai Valley Green Coalition is motivated by my desire to work within the community on local solutions to protect our shared environment. I believe that Ojai is uniquely positioned to become a model town for sustainable practices. Combating climate change, the greatest existential threat of our time, is going to take commitment from everyone, everywhere.”
According to Michelle, the battle requires taking personal responsibility within our homes and our local communities.
“That means me,” said Michelle, “and each and everyone of us, right here in Ojai. My mother instilled in me a deep sense of awe and appreciation for nature throughout my childhood.”
It’s a gift she doesn’t intend to squander and instead will draw on for strength, as she works to protect nature.
“If we are to have any hope for continued existence on a habitable planet,” said Michelle, “we must halt our emissions and transition to renewable energy in earnest. Communities around the world are making commitments to do just that, and I would like to see Ojai take on the bold yet achievable goal of 100% renewable energy within the next 5-7 years. In addition, I would encourage our community to join the global fossil fuel divestment movement and discontinue supporting unsustainable practices that are wrecking havoc on our environment. Ojai can also do more to sequester carbon emissions by cultivating healthy soils and promoting regenerative agriculture throughout the Valley.”
Receiving a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from Northwestern University, Michelle brings over ten years of professional nonprofit development experience including consulting, healthcare, higher education, and the arts. In addition to the Ojai Valley Green Coalition, she is currently volunteering with the Los Padres ForestWatch events committee. She cares deeply about and actively supports progressive social, economic, and environmental reform.
“I continually draw inspiration from Gandhi’s wise teaching to be the change that you wish to see in the world,” said Michelle. “That means us as individuals and us as the Ojai Valley community. The Valley with all its rich biodiversity and natural beauty, has a special draw for those who come here. Environmental conservation needs to be part of our ethos.”