Our Family

Our Family

This journey left us with many impressions of the world at large.  One of the obvious differences was in our approach to energy usage.  Across a wide spectrum of economic backgrounds, we found numerous instances of more efficient energy use, and more sustainable energy sources.  We had taken for granted and unfairly used up many resources that were not ours to keep.

The advent of September 11, shortly after our homecoming drove these lessons home, and we made many changes in our daily living habits to adopt a more energy efficient lifestyle.

Cathy Lam

Just another urban mom really, and may be a bit more.

I am of Vietnamese descent and came to the US in 1975. I’ve lived in Southern California ever since and now live in a very urban place called Newport Beach. I graduated with a BS degree in EE, worked for 13 years in the field, and have raised a 20 year old son Ben and an 10 year old daughter Emily.

Through reading and attending conference, and speaker series, and actively involves in community project, I am a self-taught on sustainable development, appropriate technology, and small is beautiful.

I belong to several charitable organizations which focus on education or advocacy on earth stewardship, and social justice, locally as well as globally. I typically leave the country twice a year to do humanitarian work in Vietnam.  There I collaborate with many grass roots organizations of the Vietnamese American Non-Governmental Organizations – VA NGO Network. My work there absolutely has everything to do with my community here.  Again comparing and contrasting, and taking a new meaning to appreciate the best of both worlds, and teaching my children to have a worldly views and discussing global issues.

My vision is to leave the world a better place for my children and grandchildren, and I plan to do that by being a good role model for my immediate community. I am fortunate to be where I am, and I want to give back to the community and the world by being sensitive to earth steward.

Mike Kane

Mike spent over 20 years as a marketing and business development professional in the high-tech industry, including stints at Emulex, the semiconductor division of Rockwell International and Motorola.  Since leaving the industry in 2004 to pursue personal interests including environmental and alternative fuels advocacy, he has been involved with several non-profit organizations and campaigns in these areas.  Mike is one of the founders of Plug In America, a non-profit advocacy group that promotes the use of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Mike and the all-electric Toyota RAV4 EV that he drives every day is featured in the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car?” This great film exposes the truth about electric cars, what they are capable of, and why they aren’t in dealer showrooms.  It’s now available on DVD, so check it out!  Buy it online at Plug In America.

ArtbyEmily © 2006

Ben & Emily

They’re writing their own stories right now…check back for more later.

For years, Emily ran the RAC Team (ReCyclists Are Cool – RAC also means Garbage in Vietnamese)  with Mike, and collect cans/bottles and anything recyclable regardless of CRV value from our little neighborhood. In 2006, she made $445, and this money goes to literacy project here in Santa Ana, CA, and nutritional soymilk supplement for rural kindergarten schools, and training workshop for caretakers and teachers in Vietnam through the VA NGO network that mom belongs. It is good for the Earth, our disposal service man happily thanks us, as less work for him, our neighbors are all involved in this little project.