What do you do? What are you working on?
I founded Next 10 almost 20 years ago. It’s a think tank located in San Francisco and our goal in life is to commission expert research on the important issues that California is confronting. Our goal is to inspire, educate, and engage Californians, to give them the factual information that they need to make decisions about enhancing our quality of life, protecting our environment, and promoting social justice.
We achieve this by going to different universities and consulting firms across the state and working on projects having to do with renewable resources, with clean cars, with cap and trade, and with a whole host of areas that are important. Our seminal production each year is the California Green Innovation Index.
We do not lobby politicians. Our reputation around the state rests on our capacity and ability to create reports from respected researchers that are factual and credible. We fit into that role of a nonpartisan non-profit where we just want to produce the research.
However, if the factual information helps prove a point — that’s great.
What draws you to environmental work, and to California Environmental Voters specifically?
I want to see the planet preserved and to help however I can as an individual, through my organization Next 10, and other work, to safeguard the planet with all of its gifts for my children, my grandchildren, and my great-grandchildren. I feel real stewardship responsibility for this and I’m impressed with California Environmental Voters, formally CLCV, because of the great work that they do, and have been doing for many years. I’ve been following their work for so long, decades, I don’t even quite remember how I first learned of them.
As the recent IPCC report highlights, we had some very significant challenges in terms of climate, but I think that if we can all roll up our sleeves and each of us do what we can, then eventually we will be successful. Sometimes you can wake up and say, I really don’t know how we’re going to get ahead of this, but I am optimistic about the future. I believe that we can get ahead of it. I think we all have to work hard. And we need to educate people about these issues. Because when people are educated, then they will address these challenges.
We absolutely cannot give up. The glass is half full, things are really challenging, but if we continue to all row the boat together in the same direction, then we are going to have significant success.
What do you believe are some of the solutions to the climate crisis? What is the role of government in helping?
I believe that government has a hugely important role in helping to address a lot of the challenges of climate change. But I also believe that business has a very significant role. And I think that academia and nonprofit organizations have important roles.
California has been a leader in terms of new innovations to address climate change, going all the way back to the 70s when we first came up with different energy efficient standards for building, and over the years, we’ve just come up with so many important regulations that raise the bar higher so that DC and investors would put money in and make it more efficient.
For many years California has led the efforts, but in the last few years, our research has indicated that we’ve fallen behind. We have to achieve at least 4.3% emissions reductions per year, between now and 2030. However, the most recent data shows we are only achieving 1.6%.
Why is the work of EnviroVoters important to you and what inspires you to contribute and partner with us?
What’s so important about CA Environmental Voters is that they’re in Sacramento, ready to fight for the right policies to make California better when it comes to climate change. The organization is fighting for votes in the legislature and working with the governor to achieve the goals that are so important for the preservation of the planet, and for life on earth, by reducing emissions in California.
I think that EnviroVoters plays a critical role, along with the organizations they partner with, to make a difference in achieving these goals. There is a political fight that’s constantly going on around these policies that would help our economy and our environment. If we didn’t have that, we wouldn’t be getting some of the good policies that we need to make a difference in the state. And I think that EnviroVoters is at the head of it. And it’s good, it’s honest, it’s ethical.
What would you tell someone who’s thinking about supporting or volunteering with California Environmental Voters?
I would say that they should absolutely step up and join the organization, or volunteer, see what they think of the quality of the people. And I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised with those people — the staff and other volunteers share very similar values and views and that they would not regret doing it.
EnviroVoters is so important for the political aspect of advocating for conservation and climate action. They liaison with other environmental organizations and business groups to help achieve the goals of reducing carbon emissions in California and developing conservation goals and methods.
One of their strategies is to highlight those elected officials that are working towards these climate goals and to call out those that are not. I think this is hugely important. And I know that the organization works to bring together and lead environmental organizations in California so that there can be a commonality and a sharing of goals and strategies. This is important, so that everybody can work together to achieve essential goals.
EnviroVoters is doing the best that it can to realize the goals of those investors and funders, because they are the best solution to achieve the goals that they’re working towards. Every dollar is a dollar well spent.
Go to Next10.org to learn more and sign up for the organization’s latest releases.