Archive for the ‘Global Green Room Staff Interviews’ category

Staff Spotlight: Gina Goodhill Rosen

March 11th, 2014

Gina Staff Spotlight

Sitting down with Gina Goodhill Rosen, Senior Policy & Legislative Associate. 

How would you describe your role at Global Green USA in five words?

Advance sustainability through policy initiatives.

What’s your biggest priority right now at Global Green?

A big focus for 2014 is to make the City of Los Angeles a leader in sustainability. Los Angeles is the second most populous city in the United States, and has the largest municipal utility (and one of the dirtiest) in the U.S. With that in mind, we’ve set out to make LA one of the greenest cities in the Country.

Accomplishing that feat in LA could have huge national implications, both because the City’s energy demand is massive (which means that increasing the percentage of clean energy would result in removing millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions), and because the world watches Los Angeles: What we do here has the potential to be a model for the rest of the country. And with a new Mayor in office, we have a real opportunity to do something big.

Biggest accomplishment?

Three things:

  1. Helped adopt a new version of the building energy code (the IECC) used in almost 40 states that is 30% more energy efficient than the previous version of the code.
  2. Helped to implement a statewide program for energy efficiency that resulted in a $65.9 million investment in pilot programs for energy efficiency.
  3. Helped the City of Santa Monica secure over $2 million in funding to launch a bike share program.

What do you hope to have accomplished by 2015?

Two big things:

  1. To  help launch various bike share pilots in LA County, that will eventually be expanded into an interconnected system across the region.
  2. To secure a commitment from Mayor Garcetti and the LADWP to invest in clean energy. This means getting over 40% of our energy from clean renewable sources by 2020 (which must include local solar energy, such as a 600 megawatt feed-in-tariff); a quicker timeline to get off coal; a commitment that we won’t invest in any new natural gas; a bigger investment in energy efficiency; and more.

What’s your favorite/most unique thing about Global Green?

That we do both project work and policy work. So many groups do just one or the other, but I find it gives us a real advantage when talking to legislators to be able to let them know about the physical projects we are working on in their district—all of which result in cleaner air, more jobs, and dollars saved for their residents.

Global Green Room Staff Interview: Sharon Williams

September 20th, 2012

staff_sharonMeet Sharon Williams, the receptionist in our Santa Monica office.

Who is your hero?

My sister Linda, battled cancer for over three years and put up a good fight. She was a caring and loving person who fed the homeless in her neighborhood. She taught me to never give up on what I believe in; stay true to myself and do something in life that’s going to have a positive impact on people.

What has been your greatest success at work?

Sharing what I’ve learned at work with family and friends.

What about a failure or challenge?

Failure is not an option when you’re an environmentalist. You are determined to succeed in order for your great-great grandchildren to live in a sustainable world. It’s the challenges we face today with non-believers.

Favorite green book?

“The Lorax.” As an environmental grandparent, I try to find ways to engage my grandchildren in caring more for the environment. This was perfect for that.

Favorite green movie?

“The 11th Hour.” It reveals the challenges we’re facing on this beautiful planet and easy, simple solutions every individual can participant in.

Favorite way to spend a free day?

I love spending time with my grandchildren, teaching them about the environment and having fun while doing it.

If you had the power to make one global and green change, what would it be?

I would free the world of nuclear power and install solar panels for every household/business. Then, build green urban communities for all in need of housing (clean water, organic gardens, green schools). No more poverty.

Global Green Room Staff Interview: Ted Bardacke

August 29th, 2012

staff_tedMeet Ted Bardacke, Senior Program Associate of our Green Urbanism Program, based in our Santa Monica office.

What would surprise us about your work?

How much time we spend walking the fine line between winning trust from our partners and getting them to work outside of their comfort zone.

Who is your hero?

I have people I admire — Bill McKibben, Aung San Suu Kyi, Michael Bloomberg, Jason McLennan — but no heroes. Heroes always disappoint and antiheroes are much more fun.

What has been your greatest success?

Proving that net zero energy affordable housing can be financed and built.

What about a failure or challenge?

Not being able to keep up with the pace of change in the world. Being deliberative and slowing down leads to better decisions with more long-term durability, but the world today doesn’t value slowness or deep thinking. We are worse off because of it.

Favorite green book?

“The Hanover Principles” by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. Part design brief, part philosophical manifesto, it is also highly readable and has stood the test of time.

Favorite green movie?

“In Our Own Backyard,” a documentary about the Love Canal released in 1983. I saw this while I was in high school and it made a big impression, probably similar to how people a generation earlier felt when they read “Silent Spring.”

Favorite way to spend a free day?

Swimming in the (warm) ocean. And then cooking a meal.

If you had the power to make one global and green change, what would it be?

Have everybody live walking distance from their work.

Global Green Room Staff Interview: Walker Wells

August 29th, 2012

staff_walkerMeet Walker Wells, the Director of Global Green USA’s Green Urbanism Program, based in our Santa Monica office.

What would surprise us about your work?

I often find it surprising that much of the Green Urbanism Program’s work relates to coordinating the efforts of different design professionals to get an efficient and integrated use of currently available systems and equipment, rather than what people expect, which is to promoting bleeding edge technologies and materials.

Who is your hero?

There a number of people I respect and am inspired by, but I do not have a hero.

What has been your greatest success?

My greatest sense of success comes being able to create a spirit of respect and collaboration within the Green Urbanism program that allows us to be curious, creative, and focus our work on emerging challenges.

What about a failure or challenge?

Sometimes great ideas emerge that are not in synch with the spirit of the times. This doesn’t mean the idea is not valid but rather that it either needs to be presented differently or there needs to be a shift in perspective to enable the idea to take hold.

Favorite green book?

“Design with Nature” by Ian McHarg because it is an early inspiration for the urban sustainability work we do in the Green Urbanism program.

Favorite green movie?

“Where the Green Ants Dream” because it reveals that there are a diversity of cultural, historical, and spiritual experiences related to the environment, and that the human time scale is often out of sync with and thus unable to fully comprehend the processes and patterns of nature.

Favorite way to spend a free day?

Exploring L.A. with my kids.

If you had the power to make one global and green change, what would it be?

I would make completing a class in urban planning a mandatory requirement for high school graduation.

Global Green Room Staff Interview: Lily Kelly

August 24th, 2012

staff_lilyMeet Lily Kelly, Interim Director of our Coalition for Resource Recovery (CoRR) program, based in our New York office.

What would surprise us about your work?

The variety of stakeholders that we work with every day keeps things lively. For Global Green’s Coalition for Resource Recovery (CoRR) program, we might be working with academic institutions, quick-service restaurants, packaging manufacturers, lawmakers, farmers, and trash haulers — all at the same time, on any given project. It feels very rewarding to know that the projects we choose to undertake benefit a wide variety of people, and in the process emphasize the interconnectedness of all those industries.

Who is your hero?

I recently went to a screening of “The Island President,” at which the former President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, was in attendance and answering questions after the movie. What stood out to me was not that he had fought so hard, and successfully, for democracy and later for carbon emissions reduction policies, but that he had managed to maintain a sense of humor and optimism throughout the process. Working for sustainability is always an uphill battle, and I admire people who can take it on for decades at a time and keep their spirits high.

What has been your greatest success?

I make delicious quesadillas.

What about a failure or challenge?

I think the most difficult challenge with this kind of work is leaving it at the office when the day is over. We are deeply dedicated to the success of our projects, and we believe that they are a necessary part of providing a healthy planet in the future, but sometimes we have to force ourselves to take a step back, turn off the computer, and go spend some time with family, friends, or a good book. In the end, what we’re working for is the wellbeing of all living things, and that includes ourselves!

Favorite green book?

“Everglades: River of Grass” by Marjorie Stoneman Douglas. It’s beautifully written, and shows in a compelling way the interaction between cultural ideals and ecological behavior.

Favorite green movie?

I love “The 11th Hour.” It gives a great overview of where we are without being too scary, and points out some great next steps for getting to a more sustainable way of being.

Favorite way to spend a free day?

Four words: Subway to the beach.

If you had the power to make one global and green change, what would it be?

After many years of working in the environmental field, I have to say that I think women’s access to the trifecta of education, employment, and birth control may be the most important factor for averting ecological disaster. Providing that is no simple task, and even that access is not a silver bullet, but having happy, respectful, empowered humans (and fewer of them) is an important part of taking control of our ecological role, and ensuring ongoing access to necessary resources.

Global Green Room Staff Interview: Matt de la Houssaye

August 24th, 2012

staff_matt_dMeet Matt de la Houssaye, Program Associate for our Coalition for Resource Recovery (CoRR) in New York.

What would surprise our supporters about your work?

Global Green is a very diverse organization covering issues ranging from green building to disarming stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, from re-designing packaging systems to ensure greater recycling. Even after working here one year, I am still learning about the breadth of our work and the impact it is having in the U.S. and globally.

Who is your hero?

My heroes are my teachers. I’ve been blessed to have great teachers at every step of my life. In the sustainability field, I’ve been inspired by mentors that have brought both a tireless work ethic and their hearts to their work.

What has been your greatest success?

My greatest success at Global Green has been joining the team! Organic waste recovery and recycling are two areas that I am very passionate about. It is a joy to work in these areas every day.

What about a failure or challenge?

A big part of my career has been bringing innovations to fruition. Innovation can be challenging. If you’re too far in front of the curve, that can be an isolating position without the necessary collaboration to make things happen. Since they don’t have the same mandates as private companies, nonprofits can help lead the way in bringing about sustainable innovation.

Favorite green book?

“Biomimicry.” Janine Benyus provides numerous examples that show that the answers for living in greater harmony with our environment are all around us. Nature is our greatest teacher. All we have to do is observe and follow.

Favorite green movie?

“The Island President.” This is an inspiring and entertaining documentary because it tells a great story. The protagonist, President Nasheed, gives us both his sense of humor and his heartfelt mission to protect his homeland from rising sea levels.

Favorite way to spend a free day?

With friends and family.

If you had the power to make one global and green change, what would it be?

Right now, the ability for us to live by an environmental ethic is challenging. It is in patches. In many cases, we do have the power to make lifestyle choices that reflect environmental values — whether it is the food we eat or the mode of transport we use. The challenge, however, is that these choices are often very hard to make outside of certain boundaries — geographic, economic or otherwise. Starting with myself, I’d like to have environmental choices more accessible for people so that, if they choose, they can be more empowered to have a deeper environmental impact.

Global Green Room Staff Interview: Richard Wegman

August 21st, 2012

staff_richard

Meet Richard Wegman, our Chief Operating Officer, who works in our Santa Monica office.

What would surprise us about your work?

Not sure about that one — I am pretty transparent. I hold people accountable, but maybe what is in the back of my mind is what would surprise you. I am constantly looking for new funding sources, new ways that we can promote ourselves and bring money to programs. I look for ways to make the organization healthier, and more effective and efficient. I am always looking for how to keep the organization safe from financial losses and lawsuits that could potentially put a drain on our scarce resources.

Who is your hero?

I am a yogi, so my hero is Gandhi. He was humble, poor, and was able to change the world. He did not just change India — his work continues to affect the planet today. But most of all, my heroes are the people who take the world and the environment seriously, and change their own behavior, the choices they make on a daily basis, their values. To me, these are the people that are going to change the world. They don’t wait to be told what to do, or have some piece of legislation adopted to change their behavior — they do it because they are conscious and aware.

What has been your greatest success?

Wow, I don’t think that way. But here are some things I am proud of: Helping to keep our Environmental Security and Sustainability program alive through agreements with Green Cross International and Green Cross Switzerland; helping Plaza Community Center, a 105-year-old organization, stay out of bankruptcy to continue its good work — this is where Goodwill Industries came out of; playing a part in the invention and roll-out of the Los Angeles Recycling program; building a yurt village at Tree People to house 60 staff — something never done before; and building a LEED Platinum community center at Tree People. And, oh yes, I believe that teaching yoga for 15 years is a great success.

What about a failure or challenge?

I have been challenged in the past by wanting to do things my way and have learned from experience (sometimes painfully) that change comes from communication and the involvement of those you want to change. It never comes from force — it comes from community.

Favorite green book?

“Blessed Unrest,” by Paul Hawken. It shows the ramifications of an activist’s work and the effect that each and every one of us has on social change, that we are the largest movement ever known to man, and we have no central leadership.

Favorite green movie?

This keeps changing. “Fuel” I tend to quote a lot; “Avatar” because it reached so many people and is a strong metaphor for our times; “Inconvenient Truth” because it opened up the environment to a whole new level of donors.

Favorite way to spend a free day?

Early morning bike ride, yoga, brunch with friends, beach, dinner with friends, and a concert in the eve.

If you had the power to make one global and green change, what would it be?

Can I have two? One is to stop all government subsidies and loopholes to all destructive industries — beef production, oil, mining, logging — and tax them a much higher “resource” tax. The other is to take away the “person” rights of corporations — it’s a movement that is just getting going and I think has huge potential. Also I would require corporations to follow the precautionary principle, which puts the burden of proof on the corporation instead of our regulatory agencies to prove something is bad for the people. It would, in essence, stop things like nuclear power, toxic chemical use in foods (and cigarettes would have never come to market).

Global Green Room Staff Interview: Karl Knief

August 20th, 2012

staff_karlMeet Karl Knief, the Database Administrator in our Santa Monica office.

What would surprise us about your work?

The intricacy of handling the data and all the steps it can take to get the proper conclusion.

Who is your hero?

Satoshi Kon, the animation writer and director who created films and TV shows without any cliches or stereotypes.

What has been your greatest success at work?

Giving order to the database.

What about a failure or challenge?

Entering tens of thousands of names and determining whether they’re new constituents or already in the system.

Favorite green book?

The Lorax” was the first book that ever made me think about the environment.

Favorite green movie?

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.” The story deals with how unexamined belief systems regarding the world can allow people to keep damaging the world around them.

Favorite way to spend a free day?

Good long walk or skating along the beach.

If you had the power to make one global and green change, what would it be?

Free the younger generation of the self-centered brainwashing they inevitably learn that makes them believe their every need comes before the health of the planet.

Global Green Room Staff Interview: D. Adrian Manriquez

August 16th, 2012

staff_adrian_mMeet D. Adrian Manriquez, NOLA Wise Program Associate in our New Orleans office.

What would surprise us about your work?

I spend most of my time administering Salesforce. I don’t find most of my work surprising. What do you think I do? That might help to surprise you.

Who is your hero?

Carl Sagan or Neil Degrasse Tyson. I like physicists, in particular of the astronomical variety, because they inspire me to continue to learn and to remember that we all spend our entire lives in “a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam,” to quote Sagan. It’s sobering stuff, and yet it calls us to live fully and totally in the time here and keep perspective.

What has been your greatest success?

Well, we’re a new program, so we’ve got a lot of challenges and a lot of little successes. At this point, getting my weekly reports to pull correctly sends me home with a smile on my face. That and getting a contract signed that keeps one of our guys working.

What about a failure or challenge?

Our biggest challenge was relying on an IT solution and program design that came from outside our office. We constantly work with other entities and some are structurally less effective than we need. By facing these challenges, we’ve been able to grow stronger, and I think we will be able to offer Louisiana a better model for Home Performance Contracting.

Favorite green book?

“The Web of Life” by Fritjof Capra — and anything by Fritjof Capra. I love this book because it reminds us how interconnected the world is, and how systems can change suddenly given the right inputs.

Favorite green movie?

“Fern Gully.” I don’t even know why anyone has to explain this. There’s a listless New Yorker, Robin Williams as a bat, and evil corporations being defeated.

Favorite way to spend a free day?

Biking around town, with literally nothing else to do. Just seeing and hearing and listening.

If you had the power to make one global and green change, what would it be?

Such a difficult question! With “green” being such an interactive field, how could one change make a difference if it wasn’t coupled with a half a dozen other changes? I think limiting paid work to 30 hours a week would be a great first step. Being busy is resource-intensive. I could take a train if I had enough time off work, I could garden organically, I could make music and culture — and we all could be more connected to the world around us.

Global Green Room Staff Interview: Linda Stone

August 16th, 2012

staff_linda_s Meet Linda Stone, Programs and Operations Director of our New Orleans office.

What would surprise us about you?

Not sure. Perhaps you wouldn’t know that I thought I would be a writer of great books (or at least one — maybe it’s still possible!)

Who is your hero?

The Dalai Lama. Look at his face. This is a man who radiates peace and goodwill despite being in exile for most of his life.

What has been your greatest success?

Raising my son is number one. I can say with whatever objectivity a mother can muster that he is an amazing human being — intelligent, compassionate, talented, curious, and wise beyond his years — perhaps he will be the writer of great books in the family. Number two is founding The Green Project, a paint and building materials recycling nonprofit. That is my second child and has grown beyond my wildest expectations.

What about a failure or challenge?

I struggle at finding peace and accepting what is.

Favorite green book?

One that really opened my eyes was “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn, which starts out with a guy gliding off a cliff clearly on course to collide. That is us, of course. It is a novel that clearly shows our trajectory in a scarily compelling way.

Favorite green movie?

I remember one that made an impact was “The Day After Tomorrow” with Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal. Not a great movie, but super interesting that global warming could result in New York City being taken over by ice.

Favorite way to spend a free day?

Depends on the weather. It could be many things. Ideally some yoga, maybe dancing, seeing a movie, reading, or going somewhere out of town like to the beach.

If you had the power to make one global and green change, what would it be?

Abolish cars. Think about it: No more parking lots or superhighways taking up acres and acres of land; easy to access public transit, walking and bike lanes; less pollution; more money in all of our pockets.