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					                               During the height of the nuclear arms race, Harvard      • The time comes for fund-raising at a conference.
                           psychologist John Mack told another kind of “facing          The plenary session facilitator makes her or his pitch,
                           the danger” story with a contemporary moral for par-         sometimes announcing a large matching donation.
                           ents. When a Boston-area teacher asked the children          Two or three members of the audience announce
                           in her class which of them thought they were likely          donations (sometimes on cue); and that is usually
                           to die in a nuclear war, all the children except one         enough to precipitate a small flood of donations from
                           raised their hands. The teacher asked that child why,        others in the audience.
                           unlike all the others, he thought he wouldn’t die in
                           such a war. The boy responded, “Because my mom               • A not-for-profit canvasser comes to one’s door with
                           and dad are working every day to make sure it doesn’t        a clipboard listing the names of neighbors who have
                           happen.”                                                     already made contributions to some worthy cause.
                               Today’s children are growing up with the inescap-        Almost invariably, you will look to see who has
                           able knowledge that something terrible is happening          already given; seeing familiar names, you are likely to
                           to the earth’s climate. They will either see their parents   make a contribution yourself. Some years ago, after I
                           doing nothing to prevent it or see their parents taking      had thus made a donation, the canvasser said, “This
                           action to protect them. For this reason, too, isn’t it       neighborhood is a gold mine.”
                           essential that parents “face the danger” and act in the
                           sphere of their own lives to help stave off a climate        • There is also the common practice of raising funds
34                         catastrophe? With so many Americans demoralized by           for a building or landscaping project by inscribing
                           what has taken place under the Bush administration,          the names of donors on pavers to be installed as part
                           isn’t it also essential to infuse concerned citizens with    of the project. When Portland, Oregon’s city council
                           the sense of hope that would come from direct partici-       ruled against the prize-winning design for its Pioneer
                           pation in a historic effort to save the planet?              Square project, citizen groups made up the difference
                                                                                        by doing just that. In our Syracuse, New York, neigh-
                                                                                        borhood, we did the same thing to raise money for
                                                                                        our branch library landscaping project, raising several
                           how best practices spread                                    thousand dollars virtually overnight. Years later, one
                                                                                        still sees people standing next to the patio reading the

                               f practices such as those described above were           names of donors on the pavers—and the contributions
                               emulated widely throughout the nation, it would          keep flowing in.
                               produce huge reductions in CO2 emissions. Why
                           hasn’t it been happening on a much larger scale?             • The same phenomenon is at work with signature
Global Warming Solutions

                           Because of institutional inertia, for one thing. Also,       ads. Individuals like to see their names among those
                           because institutions often operate as islands unto           sponsoring a worthy ad and so make contributions
                           themselves—unaware of cutting-edge practices else-           toward its publication.
                           where. Furthermore, the technical resources for
                           achieving dramatic improvements in energy perfor-               Some climate-protection measures—installing solar
                           mance are scattered widely, often “out of sight and          panels, for example—are visible to others. But many are
                           out of mind.”                                                not, and this allows individuals who haven’t changed
                              What can be done, in these circumstances, to foster       their energy consumption ways to persist in old habits
                           the rapid spread of best energy designs and practices?       without thinking about the implications. That can be
                           One method is to use organized modeling as a means           changed, however, by publishing the names of those
                           for encouraging desired behaviors by a larger audi-          who have switched from fossil fuels, for example, to
                           ence, as in the following practices:                         wind power. In 2005, New York State Electric and Gas
(NYSEG), an upstate utility, did that as a marketing          On its monthly statements to
device to promote its Catch the Wind campaign. On
its monthly statements to business customers, NYSEG           business customers, NYSEG
listed the businesses that had already signed up for
wind power. This helped NYSEG to enlist dozens of
                                                              listed the businesses that had
businesses for its wind-power program.                        already signed up for wind
    In late March 2007, we drafted a “Dear Colleagues”
open letter bearing the names of 33 faculty from five         power. This helped NYSEG to
central New York academic institutions who had
already switched from the conventional energy mix
                                                              enlist dozens of businesses for
supplied by our utility to one of the four sources of         its wind power program.
renewably generated electricity also available through
that same utility. Noting that coal forms a significant
part of the conventional mix, the letter appealed to          ing nearly half of all colleges and universities” buy-
faculty, staff, and administrators from the five institu-     ing wind energy, had made purchases totaling 92,200
tions to join those who had already made the switch.          megawatt hours—the largest nongovernmental aggre-
The letter was published in the journals of those insti-      gated wind-power purchase in the United States.
tutions and immediately began to bring forth addition-           The press release also cited high praise from
al names.                                                     Pennsylvania’s Environmental Protection secretary,
    By thus making visible the previously invisible           Kathleen A. McGinty:
actions of concerned faculty, we hope that increas-
ing numbers of college and university colleagues will            “The combined wind power purchases of these col-
be encouraged to “kick the coal habit.” The letter is         leges and universities will have a tremendous impact
also helping us to identify others on all five campuses       on growing the market for renewable energy resources
who share our global-warming concerns. To maximize            and increasing the demand for environmentally-
the impact of our “Dear Colleagues” letter, we have           friendly electricity generation. All of this is part
emailed it to climate activists on other campuses for         of the new energy industry that is taking place in
circulation through their own list-serves to those who        Pennsylvania—one that will help to ensure fuel price
might wish to adapt it for their own purposes.                stability, promote domestic employment and econom-
    The Pennsylvania (academic) Consortium for                ic development, and improve our environment.”76
Interdisciplinary Environmental Policy (PCIEP), under
the direction of Donald A. Brown, was a source of                Speaking at a 2004 global warming conference at the

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inspiration for our “Dear Colleagues” initiative. In April    State University of New York College of Environmental
2005, PCIEP had issued a press release acknowledging          Sciences and Forestry, Brown said he made it a prac-
nine Pennsylvania academic institutions for increas-          tice to list the wind power purchasers and the per-
ing their purchases of Pennsylvania-based wind pow-           centages of their purchases in PCIEP newsletters. His
er. It listed the institutions and the percentages of their   practice of regularly placing that information before
energy purchases from wind power: Thus Eastern                the eyes of every recipient, plus the praise bestowed
University (32.2%), Dickinson College (12.1%),                on Pennsylvania wind power purchasers, has been a
University of Pennsylvania (10.4%), and so on.                key to Brown’s success in enlisting so many academic
    PCIEP further reported that under its “Getting            institutions for the PCIEP-Community Energy “Getting
to 10%” program, conducted in collaboration                   to 10%” program.
with Pennsylvania-based Community Energy, 34                     What PCIEP has done in Pennsylvania can be
Pennsylvania colleges and universities, “represent-           done among colleges and universities in every state,
                           can it not? And what if every environmental organi-        His eyes then turned northward to Lowville, on the
                           zation, utility, neighborhood association, academic        wind-swept Tug Hill Plateau beyond the eastern end of
                           institution, and environmentally responsible busi-         Lake Ontario. “What lured Moore,” wrote D’Agnese,
                           ness displayed the names of its members, employees,        “… was the knowledge that this part of Lewis County
                           or business customers that have switched to renew-         was uniquely qualified to become the East Coast’s
                           able energy and/or taken other significant steps to        largest wind farm.”
                           cut greenhouse gas emissions? Can it be doubted that          So Moore undertook to sell the idea to Lowville’s
                           such displays of names would stimulate emulation by        farmers, many of whom were barely hanging on. As
                           many others?                                               D’Agnese noted, it is a region of “collapsed barns and
                              Then there is this from Gerald T. Gardner and           abandoned farmhouses.” But wind turbines weren’t
                           Paul C. Stern in Environmental Problems and Human          an easy sell. “When he started telling locals about his
                           Behavior, they noted that innovations                      notion, Moore was met with indulgent smiles but lit-
                                                                                      tle genuine enthusiasm. ‘I made a presentation at a
                              “… diffuse through a population along the lines         town meeting, and they looked at me like I was from
                           of social influence. Agricultural extension programs       Mars,’ he says. ‘They were polite. They didn’t openly
                           have used this principle for generations to spread         laugh.’”
                           new and improved farming practices in farm com-               Moore then wandered the countryside knocking
                           munities. They identify individuals who are well           on doors, hoping to find a farmer who would allow
36                         known and respected in the community, and focus            him to erect instruments for measuring the wind. “I
                           their efforts on getting a few such opinion leaders to     was thrown out by a number of people,” said Moore.
                           adopt the new technology. Once they have benefit-          “They’ve listened to a lot of sales pitches over the
                           ed from it, the technology tends to spread with little     years: seed salesmen, fertilizer salesmen.” Eventually,
                           additional effort.”77                                      however, he came upon 59-year-old Bill Burke, who,
                                                                                      with his wife Patricia, was planning an exit strategy
                              John Manning is the president of Skaneateles, New       after 30 financially difficult years of dairy farming. “I
                           York–based Earth Sensitive Solutions, which installs       was on board from day one,” said Burke, “but I could
                           geothermal systems for carbon-free heating and cool-       see others would take some persuading. We’d hold
                           ing—as for neighboring Auburn’s city hall. Following       meetings and nobody would show up. Not because
                           one of Manning’s presentations, in the spring of 2007,     they opposed the idea. They just didn’t think it would
                           he said he had so many orders for geothermal installa-     happen.” Burke himself added that getting more than
                           tions he could hardly keep up with them. I asked him       100 farmers “to agree on something is like trying to
                           what the key was to inducing so many institutions to       herd ducks.”
Global Warming Solutions

                           go for such unconventional heating and cooling sys-           Burke proved to be the key. He and his wife Patricia
                           tems. He replied without hesitation, a “champion” of       drove down to inspect the Madison wind farm.
                           the idea within the institution. He cited as an exam-      There they were welcomed in by dairy farmers Carl
                           ple the Bard College facilities director, the late Dick    and Bonnie Stone, on whose land five of the seven
                           Griffiths, who had been responsible for its installation   Madison wind turbines had been erected. Encouraged
                           of five geothermal systems at Bard buildings.              by what they learned from the Stones, the Burkes gave
                              Also consider the story told about the passion-         Moore permission to collect data and subsequently to
                           ate wind power entrepreneur Bill Moore by Joseph           erect seven turbines on their land. “The guaranteed
                           D’Agnese in OnEarth:78 Moore, the founder of Atlantic      income—a minimum annual payment of about $6,000
                           Renewable, started by building two wind farms in           per turbine, adjusted annually for inflation—has trans-
                           upstate New York, seven turbines near Madison, and         formed their lives.” “It’s paying for me to retire,” Bill
                           the 20-turbine Fenner Wind Farm outside Cazenovia.         Burke told D’Agnese. His wife Patricia added: “It’s giv-
en us a chance to stay in our house. We don’t have to        Burbanks and Terry Thisse. As a prospective wind-tur-
sell after all.”                                             bine host, I’d be sure to check out the entrepreneur’s
   With the door thus opened by the Burkes, other            proposal with previous hosts.
farmers walked through it. Today, 195 giant wind tur-           Also consider what followed from the environmen-
bines are spread across several towns in the region,         tal and economic successes of the Dutch National
each taller than the Statue of Liberty—each generating       Environmental Policy Plan. As Florence Williams re-
1.65 megawatts of wind power. Not every resident of          ported, other countries had been paying attention
the region is happy with the wind farm; some lament          to what the Dutch were doing. During the winter of
the dramatic change in their “viewscape.” But the            2002/2003, the United Kingdom and Denmark both
vast majority are more than happy with their region’s        announced similar climate protection plans. Moreover,
transformation from one of languishing dairy farms           “The European Union is basing much of its emissions-
into the wind-power capital of the East. While it has        reduction policy on the Dutch model. New Zealand,
meant a comfortable retirement for the Burkes and            China, and even our pollution-challenged New Jersey
jobs for their children, the royalties from four turbines    are mimicking parts of the blueprint.”79
on their land has enabled Kyle and Betsy Burbank to             Indeed, New Jersey’s then-governor Christine Todd
sock away $26,000 annually in a college fund for their       Whitman sent several delegations to study the Dutch
four boys. Construction and maintenance of the wind          Green Plan during the 1990s, and New Jersey adopted
farm have brought both jobs and substantial spending         various elements from that plan. “As a result,” wrote
by construction workers in the several towns encom-
passed by the wind farm.
   Moreover, the sparsely populated Maple Ridge
                                                             The East’s largest wind farm is
towns are enjoying an infusion of new tax revenues           there to be seen; and the people
expected to reach $8.5 million annually—with 40 per-
cent of it, by agreement among the towns, going to           of Maple Ridge can attest to
their schools. Martinsburg, with a population of only
1,249, has 102 turbines—and received a first tax pay-        the economic blessings it has
ment of $1.13 million during the construction phase.
Terry Thisse, a Martinsburg engineer, told D’Agnese:
                                                             brought them.
“Obviously, money like that can do a lot of good in a
community like this. We had to hire a consultant just
to help us invest it. The goal is to operate solely on the                                   Bill Burke, after 30 financially
interest. It’s a nice situation to be in.”                                                   difficult years of dairy farming:

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                                                                                             “It’s paying for me to retire.”
   At first it had been Bill Moore trying to persuade
skeptical farmers to buy into a “vision from Mars”
and eventually finding a single farmer, Bill Burke,
who embraced that vision. Now that vision has been
realized. The East’s largest wind farm is there to be
seen, and the people of Maple Ridge can attest to the
economic blessings it has brought them. Maple Ridge
itself has become the strongest possible argument for
the spread (with appropriate siting) of wind farms to
other parts of the eastern United States. The reality
of it is there to be experienced. I’d be sure to intro-
duce prospective wind-farm hosts to the Burkes, the
                                                                                            The Danish island of Samso: “the
                                                                                            most carbon-negative settlement
                                                                                            of its size on earth … has become
                                                                                            a training ground for experts
                                                                                            from Thailand, China, Europe
                           wind farm off                                                    and America, including a group
                           the coast of Samso
                                                                                            from the University of Virginia.”

                                Williams, “the state now has one of the strongest green-     head. ‘We don’t have a clue. Cheesus. So we’re here
                                house gas reduction plans in the country and is work-        to learn how to apply it,’ he says. ‘We are ashamed to
                                ing on a serious smart-growth strategy. New Jersey is        listen to the Danes. Cheesus.’”81
                                on target to reduce its emissions by 3.5 percent as of           Consider, too, the origins of the modern organic
                                2005, while maintaining a 3.8 percent growth rate in         farming movement, now huge and still growing. It
3                              statewide domestic product.” She quotes Mike Winka,          can be largely traced back to seeds sown by Scott and
                                director of New Jersey’s Office of Clean Energy: “Our        Helen Nearing, authors of Living the Good Life. At
                                economy didn’t shut down. Our industries didn’t              their organic farm near Harborside, Maine, they hosted
                                move out. We have one of the strongest economies in          pilgrims inspired by their ideas who wanted to learn
                                the country, and our businesses and residents are sav-       from the Nearings. Staying over at modest cottages
                                ing one and a half billion a year in energy efficiency.      in Harborside, they worked mornings in the Nearing
                                We’re telling the feds, ‘Learn from us.’”80                  fields, shared meals together, and attended after-
                                   Others have also walked through the “doorway to           noon workshops. Then, by the many hundreds over
                                the future” opened by the Netherlands. Over the past         the years, they scattered to far corners of the country
                                decade, the small Danish island of Samso has become          to create their own organic farms. So it was that the
                                “an eco-wonderland, setting up wind, solar, biofuels,        organic farming movement blossomed into the huge
                                and other renewable technologies to satisfy its energy       enterprise that it is today, nourished by the growing
                                needs.” Writing in Outside, Florence Williams notes          numbers of Americans choosing to eat healthy, organ-
                                that Samso, by producing and exporting far more              ically produced foods.
Global Warming Solutions

                                renewable energy than it consumes, has become “the               Which brings to mind another kind of “train-
                                most carbon-negative settlement of its size on earth.”       ing ground” story. Some years ago I was inspired to
                                She further notes that, “The island has become a train-      call Honeywell by a news item about an education
                                ing ground for experts from Thailand, China, Europe,         program for inner-city teen-age unwed mothers that
                                and America, including a group from the University of        Honeywell had established at its Minneapolis head-
                                Virginia. The demand is so great that the town govern-       quarters. I was transferred to a staffperson—Vickie,
                                ment is helping build a conference center … to accom-        I think her name was—who told me all about it. The
                                modate the eco-wonks who want to glean the island’s          Minneapolis school district supplied the teachers while
                                secrets.” Williams cites the remarks of awed delegates       Honeywell supplied classrooms at its corporate head-
                                from Ireland: “‘These lads here are light-years ahead        quarters, Honeywell employees to provide tutoring,
                                of us,’ says Eugene Houlihan, who works for a build-         and baby-sitting while the girls were at their studies,
                                ing supplies cooperative in Inis Oirr. He shakes his fair
The vast majority of these girls were not only finishing    with renewable sources of energy.82 There is much to
high school. They were going on to college.                 be learned from such endeavors.
    If Honeywell can do this sort of thing for unwed           Site visits can also be a potent way to spread best
teen-age mothers, why wouldn’t it make compel-              practices. Several years ago, for example, my daughter
ling sense for companies in the forefront of business       Elizabeth, who then worked for an Atlanta-based cor-
efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—such             poration, called me from Ohio. When I asked her what
companies as Dupont, Nike, Patagonia, Wal-Mart, and         she was doing there, she told me that she was visiting
Interface, for example—to establish carbon-reduction        the Nucor steel plant in nearby Crawfordville, Indiana.
training programs at their own facilities for engineers     Nucor, setting a performance benchmark, had devised
and designers from other businesses? Those that have        such efficient methods for producing high-grade steel
made the greatest greenhouse gas reduction strides          that it could undersell Japanese and Taiwanese steel-
have a compelling interest in magnifying, to the great-     makers in their own countries. Lizzie and others like
est extent possible, the impact of their own efforts, for   her were on a “benchmarking” visit to Nucor to find
greenhouse gas emissions generated by others affect         out how they had done it. There aren’t many things
the climate system no less than their own emissions.        better than site visits for making a convincing case for
The fact that high carbon-reduction achievers have          best practices.
also been realizing huge energy cost savings would             Internships are another means for spreading best
likely bring many others flocking to any such training      practices. Years ago, when I taught at a Syracuse
grounds.                                                    University program in Florence, I was astounded by
    And why not establish additional training grounds       the accomplishments of Italian Renaissance artists in
for state and municipal engineers and planners in           so many fields of artistic, architectural, and engineer-
such states as California and such cities as Seattle        ing endeavor. Curious, I delved into Giorgio Vasari’s
and Portland, Oregon? These places have achieved            Lives of the Artists in order to discover how they had
outstanding greenhouse gas reduction results. Seattle       developed such amazing talents. As it turned out,
would be a logical training ground for planners and         such artists as Michelangelo had all been apprentices
energy officers from the several hundred U.S. cit-          in the studios and workshops of masters—nourishing
ies whose mayors signed the U.S. Mayors Climate             their creativity and building their skills there.
Protection Agreement initiated by its own mayor, Greg
                                                              Scott and Helen Nearing,
    I recall a Massachusetts Institute of Technology
                                                              founders of the modern
study of how engineers learn new things. It turned out        organic farming movement.
to be almost entirely from face-to-face conversations

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with other engineers. What better way of accelerat-
ing the spread of best practices than bringing engi-
neers, designers, and planners together at training
grounds in various parts of the United States—and the
world? Indeed, Samso isn’t the only place in Europe
that might serve as a superb training ground. Iceland,
blessed by large amounts of geothermal and hydro-
electric energy, has set out to become the world’s
first zero-emissions energy economy. More recently,
Sweden announced plans to become the world’s first
oil-free country by 2020, replacing fossil fuels entirely
                               In our own time, most of us have had this experience    except ‘obey the law, comply, comply, comply’ … The
                           when being examined or treated by doctors: a medi-          idea that, while in compliance, we might be hurting
                           cal intern is at the doctor’s elbow gaining hands-on        the environment simply hadn’t occurred to me. …
                           experience. This could also become standard practice            “Then, through what seemed to be pure serendip-
                           for multiplying the numbers of expert climate protec-       ity, somebody sent me a book: Paul Hawken’s The
                           tion practitioners available for a universal crusade to     Ecology of Commerce. I read it, and it changed my life.
                           save the planet. Why not arrange for internships with       It hit me right between the eyes. It was an epiphany.
                           the Art Ronsenfelds, William McDonoughs, Amory              I wasn’t halfway through it before I had the vision I
                           Lovinses, and Susan Kennedys of the world?                  was looking for … and a powerful sense of urgency to
                              And suppose that the beneficiaries of all such learn-    begin to do something to correct the mistakes of the
                           ing experiences were to share their newly acquired          first industrial revolution.”83
                           knowledge with many others? Wouldn’t this lead to               The chain of events that culminated in that out-
                           the rapid spread of best climate protection practices?      come began a decade earlier with Joyce LaValle’s 15-
                           The only question is, Who will organize such learning       year-old daughter Melissa. As a young girl she had
                           experiences?                                                always loved to be out of doors and had bonded deep-
                                                                                       ly with nature. One day when her mother returned
                                                                                       from a shopping trip with her purchases in “new-and-

40                         the power of suggestion                                     better” plastic bags, Melissa said to her: “Mom, using
                                                                                       those plastic shopping bags will pass on a big problem

                               ndividuals and institutions habitually carry on         to my generation.”
                               with their “normal” routines until someone inter-           Melissa went on to college in Asheville, North
                               rupts it by raising an issue calling that routine and   Carolina, where she initiated a recycling program that
                           its underlying assumptions into question. Consider          became a self-sustaining business. A story about it
                           how the following transformations came about:               caught the attention of a University of Washington pro-
                                                                                       fessor, who induced her to transfer there. Later, after
                           Ray Anderson, Interface. Paul Hawken has asked:             she had earned a master’s degree at the University of
                           “When will a Rosa Parks of this issue stand up and          Wisconsin, she was hired by the state of California to
                           take a seat at the front of the bus? … Perhaps that per-    run a recycling program. There she heard Paul Hawken
                           son is Ray Anderson, founder of the textile and car-        speak, came away inspired, and read his book, The
                           pet company Interface, who became co-chairman of            Ecology of Commerce.
                           the President’s Council on Sustainable Development              By this time her mother Joyce was working at
                           under Bill Clinton. More than any other CEO in the          Interface. Appalled by the huge quantities of old car-
Global Warming Solutions

                           country, Ray Anderson has taken to heart the neces-         peting she saw in landfills, Melissa said to her mother:
                           sity of completely transforming an industrial company       “You’ve got to make Ray Anderson read Paul Hawken’s
                           so that it not only is sustainable, but takes steps to      book.” How to reach the company’s president? Joyce
                           restore what damage has been done in the past.”             LaValle got a coworker at Interface to put The Ecology
                              How did this come about? In August 1994, Anderson        of Commerce on Anderson’s desk84—and the rest, as
                           himself wrote, “in response to customers who were           they say, is history.
                           beginning to ask what we were doing for the environ-            The persistence of a young woman who loved
                           ment,” he created a task force to review the compa-         nature, and fought to preserve it, had set in motion
                           ny’s worldwide environmental impact. Anderson was           great changes. So it was that Ray Anderson complete-
                           asked to make keynote remarks at the task force kick-       ly revamped the Interface Corporation’s manufactur-
                           off “and give the group an environmental vision.”           ing and business operations, setting out to become the
                           “Well, frankly,” he wrote, “I didn’t have a vision          world’s first entirely sustainable business.