In the Easy Chair with ... Lisa Petrie

In the Easy Chair with ... Lisa Petrie

The Westerly Sun


AGE: 52

OCCUPATION: Stay-at-home mom; volunteer climate justice activist.

RESIDENCE: Richmond.

BORN, RAISED & GREW UP IN: Peace Dale.

RIGHT NOW I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF: A study group on a book called “The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict,” run by Barbara Holtzman and Clare Sartori at my church, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South County. Conflict is everywhere, and we must learn better ways of handling it so we can come together to solve our pressing global problems.

FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND MY TIME: Working in my garden; also reading, singing, spending time with family and friends.

PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: Co-founding the Green Task Force at my church; also getting arrested at the governor’s office as part of a sit-in organized by the FANG Collective to protest her support for building a fracked-gas power plant in Burrillville.

I’D LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR: Fighting hard to protect our children’s future.

TOP ON MY BUCKET LIST: Go to California (I’ve never been there) and see San Francisco, the redwoods, Yosemite, etc., and visit my brother and his family in San Diego.

ALWAYS IN MY POCKET: Emergency hair elastic.

WHAT I WANTED TO BE WHEN I GREW UP: A ballerina, then a writer, then a psychotherapist.

PERSON WHO OR EXPERIENCE THAT HAS INFLUENCED ME THE MOST: My parents, Paul and Sylvia Petrie, and my husband Teo.

FAVORITE AUTHOR: Jane Austen.

I AM READING: “Nature’s Trust: Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age,” by Mary Christina Wood, about how our youth are suing the government to take decisive action to address the climate crisis

I AM LISTENING TO: The album “Blue” by Joni Mitchell (I had it on LP long ago, but only got the CD last Christmas).

FAVORITE MOVIE: “What’s Up, Doc?”

FAVORITE TV SHOW: “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

FAVORITE PET: Treve, a collie dog we had when I was growing up.

FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: Ice cream.

AMOUNT OF TIME I SPEND ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Too much, but not enough to keep up with friends’ FB posts.

TRAIT I MOST ADMIRE: Being able to show vulnerability while still being strong

PET PEEVE: Words that foster prejudice, like loser, criminal, illegal alien, and gay as slang for “bad” or “defective.”

FAVORITE QUOTATION: “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT OUR LITTLE CORNER OF THE WORLD: The combination of culture, community (especially my church and the environmental community), and natural beauty.

CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: Music.

LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT ME: I’m learning to do push-ups, pull-ups and chin-ups late in life, inspired by my husband and sons.

BEST ADVICE I EVER RECEIVED: “Go for the main chance.” My dad used to say this, meaning “Focus your efforts where they’re most likely to yield results” — advice that I still struggle to follow.

ADVICE I BEST LIKE TO GIVE: I love to share my favorite cold remedies: crystallized ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper.

IF I RULED THE WORLD I WOULD: Establish world peace, free health care, and a robust safety net including a guaranteed minimum income for everyone. Immediately stop all fossil fuel expansion, deforestation, and other crimes against nature and work to restore the intricate web of life that sustains us all (for starters.)

IF I WON THE LOTTERY, THE FIRST THING I WOULD DO IS: Pay off our mortgage and car loans and plan a family vacation. Then I’d make large donations to people and organizations on the front lines of the climate fight, especially Indigenous people.

I DRIVE A: Dark red 2015 Nissan Leaf.

I WISH I DROVE A: I LOVE my car, but if we could afford it, it’d be great to have an electric car with a longer range, like a Chevy Bolt or a Tesla.

ALWAYS IN MY FRIDGE: Very dark chocolate.

IF I COULD INVITE ONE SPECIAL PERSON TO JOIN ME FOR DINNER AND CONVERSATION, I’D ASK: Naomi Klein.

— Interview arranged and edited by Nancy Burns-Fusaro


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