Sam Stedman is a part-time university professor, with a PhD in ethics and theatre from the University of Toronto, and a mission to make his family more eco-friendly, step by step, piece by piece. After 10 years of post-secondary teaching, Sam is branching out in the hopes of reaching a much wider audience, informing and inspiring more people to make positive, engaged, intelligent choices in the world.
“Branching out” is an appropriately organic image for the founding publisher of EcoParent, a magazine that seeks to give you what you need to make responsible, sustainable and, most importantly, attainable lifestyle choices for your family. With an informative and non-judgmental approach, a fun and inspirational tone, EcoParent promotes engaged parenting and lifestyle choices relevant and do-able for the contemporary Canadian family.
I asked Stedman 10 questions: five about him and five more about EcoParent
1) Which of your parents do you resemble (what s your nationality / ethnic background)?
Not really sure. I’ve always had trouble with picking out resemblances. I think it’s because, in my life, I’ve always focussed a little more on difference than similarity. This certainly fed into my doctoral work in poststructural ethics. But simple answer: I’m told I resemble both. Nationality: total mutt.
2) what is the BEST thing / worst thing about being a magazine publisher?
Best thing is that I’m not beholden to a crappy bureaucracy (like those found in EVERY university at which I’ve taught), full of inefficiencies, redundancies, prohibitions, other sundry deadening forces…need I go on? Worst thing is that I have yet to get paid.
3) who do you listen to or watch?
Mad Men has got to be at the top of the list. But maybe that’s because I’m sort of becoming an Ad Man. Hmmm…musically, I’ve been obsessed (for years now) with 20th century classical. Especially Gavin Bryars and Arvo Part.
4) what ability or skill do you wish you had, that you don’t have?
5) When you re just relaxing (and not working) what is your favorite thing to do?
I don’t relax. Such is the nature of a new business. That, of course, on top of having a toddler at home. We do try and get out for nature walks as often as possible.
Five more about publishing EcoParent
1) As an educator and father, how does publishing EcoParent challenge you?
It’s humbling to start over in life. There is nothing but daily challenge in this early, infrastructure-building, phase of getting the magazine on the map. It’s particularly challenging as an educator in the sense that my classroom just got exponentially larger, and the stakes ultimately that much higher. While I still believe that theatre is an important culturo-political force, there’s nothing more culturally and politically forceful than child-rearing. As a father, it’s scary to find out, on a daily basis, how many toxic sacrifices have been made in the name of profit – and how little we can trust our government to regulate the products that pass through into the marketplace. Most of the things on the shelves these days that go on our babies’ and children’s skin, for instance, is full of small doses of all sorts of toxic crap to which their little bodies should not be subjected.
2) what do you love about publishing, especially publishing that has such an important political message?
I love the creativity. Yeah, for real. I used to be a theatre director, and I find a very similar creative satisfaction in my day to day creative problem solving in the business world. I also love meeting passionate people that have devoted themselves to making salient improvement to the world, and expect very little in return.
3) What’s your favourite piece that you’ve published so far?
I love our current education special, made up of parent narratives about their experience with different forms of alternative schooling. I think it’s very honest, and will provide parents who haven’t researched much beyond the public school system with some excellent – and very balanced – perspective.
4) How do you relate to the challenges of being a parent, as an ecologically aware human?
I’ve sort of addressed this already, in part. I’d only add that it’s terrifying. My only comfort is that I was a baby in the 70s, and I’m still a (mostly) functioning human being.
5) Is there anyone out there who you particularly admire, and who has influenced you?
The love of my life, Alexis Butler. She’s shown incredible fortitude through our journey together, and inspires in me qualities that would otherwise have remained sadly dormant.
EcoParent is available electronically (paperless) or in a print version.