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This week we’d like to introduce James Edward Mills, explain how and why he’s such an education hero, and give a few great reasons to join him and the panel discussing ‘Sustainability & Social Justice in K-12 Schools’ at SXSW EXU.

James’s career spans over 20 years as a freelance journalist, an independent media producer, an educator and an author. His endless thirst for adventure and asking questions has led him to many places and to experience many things. He specializes in sharing stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.

James is particularly known for his self-founded endeavour ‘The Joy Trip Project – Story Sharing For A Sustainable World’. What his project is all about is best heard from James himself:

“The Joy Trip Project is my ongoing search to find the answers and discover how to lead a harmonious life in balance with the natural world and the rest of humanity. As a journalist I ask questions. I connect with knowledgeable people who have come up with some kind of a solution. In some cases I just come up with more questions, but they make us think. And hopefully these questions lead us a little further along on the journey. Every day is a daring adventure, a trip into the joyful pursuit of our full human potential. Along this path we try, and often fail. But we persevere. We persist. Only then do we succeed. It’s an ongoing process without end. Come join me.”

James is also a 2014 Fellow of the Mountain & Wilderness Writing Program of the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada, the 2016 recipient of the Paul K. Petzoldt Award For Environmental Education, the co-writer/co-producer of the documentary film “An American Ascent” and most recently the author of “The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors”. The Adventure Gap has been named by Outside Magazine as one of the 10 “Outdoor Books that Shaped the Last Decade”.


“Mills took The Adventure Gap beyond the scope of a traditional expedition narrative, exploring the reasons for the glaring outdoor cultural divide and noting that bridging that gap would help people and the planet. Once published, the book ignited a firestorm of productive conversations about justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the outdoor adventure world.” – Outside Magazine

Natural Pod is very honoured and excited to be presenting with James at SXSW EDU in Austin, Texas in March, as a member of the panel discussing ‘Sustainability & Social Justice in K-12 Schools’. The other three presenters are, our very own CEO of Natural Pod, Bridgitte Alomes, Alison Diaz From Environmental Charter Schools, and Jennifer Seydel from Green Schools National Network.