Sam Enfield, 58: Wind-farm developer
“My objective is to displace as much coal and nuclear power as possible.”
Enfield, who works with PPM Atlantic Renewable, was instrumental in developing four of the first five wind farms serving the Washington region. Mountaineer Wind Energy Center in West Virginia has 44 turbines; at capacity, each produces 1,500 kilowatts, enough to meet the energy needs of 500 homes.
Why do you believe in wind energy? I went to a hearing in 1979, and three atmospheric scientists were talking about CO2 levels and global warming. It made a huge impression on me. Wind is the most cost-effective bulk renewable we have.
What impact does a wind farm have on the power grid? Whenever we’re generating and injecting power into the grid, another generator, like gas or coal, is backed out.
What are some of the obstacles you run into? Wildlife issues are important. The Mountaineer wind farm went up in 2002, and we found significant numbers of dead bats under the turbines. We’ve had to try to figure out why it’s happening and how we might solve it. In the east, we’re putting turbines on mountains. It’s the only place where there’s enough wind to generate cost-effective power. Some people don’t like that. And some people don’t like the sound. You hear the swoosh.
David Hawkins, 64: Lawyer
“We are not too late to avoid the worst.”
Hawkins, director of the Climate Center at the Natural Resources Defense Council, is a leading voice in the fight against climate change. He helped write the Clean Air Act, which required, among other measures, lower automobile emissions and sulphur-dioxide scrubbers on coal-fired power plants.
Why have you dedicated your life to these issues? It stems from childhood experiences in the outdoors—my family took walks almost every weekend in the countryside in Connecticut. Also, in law school I worked at a big Wall Street law firm and found that profoundly unsatisfying.
What has been your biggest achievement? I spend a lot of time in the business community, and one result is the US Climate Action Partnership, a group of ten large corporations—including GE, Shell, Ford—and four environmental groups. We’re sitting down with companies that are the biggest sources of emissions and agreeing on reducing that pollution.
Twenty years from now, will our lives look different? It may not look all that different on the surface. There will still be lots of cars on the road, but the cars will go further on a gallon of fuel. We’ll have houses with appliances that are substituting intelligence for fossil fuels.
Lee Bodner, 39: Marketer
“The environment has a marketing problem.”
Bodner, executive director of the nonprofit marketing firm EcoAmerica, worked with the EPA and the Department of Energy to develop the Energy Star label. Now EcoAmerica is helping “brand” the environmental movement.
What do you mean when you say the environment has a marketing problem? A light bulb went off for me after the 2004 elections. You had 85 percent of voters saying that they wanted to protect clean air and clean water, but political choices didn’t reflect that. That’s a marketing issue.
How are you changing that? The movement has been relying on cause marketing—the idea that “if you only knew more, you’d care.” But it needs to employ consumer marketing. If you’re selling blue jeans, the consumer doesn’t have an inherent need for your product. You have to give people a reason to want it. If we could harness consumer demand effectively, we’d push the pace of environmental progress.
Any interesting developments? We launched a program aimed at college presidents to green their schools. The idea is that they’d set goals to eliminate greenhouse gases. We didn’t know what kind of interest we’d get, but 360 schools signed on, including the University of Maryland. Another thing we’re doing is ranking colleges based on environmental performance to show how these factors make students’ lives better: Does the school offer locally grown food? Can you get around campus without a car? Is the indoor and outdoor air quality good?