Michael Walton is the Executive Director of green|spaces, Chattanooga’s Sustainability Nonprofit. Michael grew up in Greeneville, Tennessee (upper northeast) received his professional architecture degree from UT Knoxville, and then practiced architecture in Washington DC for several years with a focus on sustainable design for social and environmental nonprofits before moving back to Tennessee to run green|spaces.
green|spaces has a wide range of programs that impact public health. From large scale issues like climate change and the impact of systemic racism on air quality, water quality, and soil quality to small scale day-to-day challenges of indoor environmental quality and the impact of utility burden on the affordability of food, the programs at green|spaces help educate people, neighborhoods, businesses, nonprofits, developers, institutions, and governments about simple, effective, and affordable steps toward improving the planet, people, and prosperity; what they call the triple bottom line.
One example is their work in asthma prevention through home improvement. green|spaces is working with Lifespring Community Health and the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative out of Baltimore to scale a pilot they conducted that uses money saved by reducing asthma emergency room and hospitalization rates to make home improvements that address the root causes of asthma attacks like mold, outside air leakage, and pest management.
A fun fact about Michael is that he completed the Wonderland Trail in 2020, a 93 mile loop around Mt Ranier in Washington State with 22,000 feet of elevation! gain.