Meet Mark Havel, Program Associate

November 12, 2012

1. What drives your environmental work and activism?

33 percent interest in science, 33 percent appreciation of nature, 33 percent sense of responsibility, and 1 percent crippling desire to seem cool and interesting.

2. What was one of your most exciting and rewarding achievements?

I got a job at the Climate Action Reserve. Gary reads these, right?

3. Who is your hero?

Anyone who values ecosystem services and therefore considers environmental impacts when making decisions.

4. What are your favorite and frequently visited websites?

The total number is embarrassing, so here are a few highlights. I visit the Times and the BBC sites for news, CleanTechnica and Climate Progress for my climate change and alternative energy fix, and Serious Eats because food is great.

5. What was your most recent “That oughta be a law!” thought?

I probably think about national marriage equality (pro) and creationism in schools (anti) every day. Those seem like pretty easy laws to me.

6. What is a tip you’d like to share for leading a more sustainable life?

I think the first general step is moving away from an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality and considering the entire life cycle of the goods you consume. It’s a little tedious at first, but over time it’ll become second nature.

7. Please share a personal story that ties in with one of the Reserve’s protocol sectors

I had a great time composting my recycled refrigerator in a coal mine under a forest full of dairy cows last week. Sorry, I haven’t been on any oversights, so I got nothing. Can we get rid of this question?

8. What is your opinion of the Obama administration’s environmental record?

Not bad*, but should be better (*meme reference). It’s understandably difficult to crack down on corporate carbon emissions when the economy is in dire straits, and the new fuel efficiency standards are a pretty big deal. Still, there should have been a bigger effort to move the topic of climate change from political talking point to significant concern in the public sphere.

9. If you could spend one week in a natural area in the U.S., where would it be?

Hawaii. Nah, too easy. I’d say it’s a toss-up between the Great Basin Desert in Nevada and the temperate rainforests in Washington.

10. What is an environmental book that you think should be required reading in schools?

Parts of Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas Friedman. The tone is a fairly informal and there are quite a few personal anecdotes, but it hits home on several key issues and, more importantly, it’s inspiring.

11. What is your favorite meal?

Dinner? The truth is that I go through phases of obsession with specific cuisines or dishes, usually based on what’s readily available in the community. When I lived in Houston, it was mostly Texas-style BBQ and Vietnamese. The Bronx was all Italian-American all the time. Living in LA, I will eat Thai street food or Mexican seafood any day of the week.

12. What is something about you that your professional peers would be surprised to learn?

I have a car and a TV. Seriously, Kristen is inexplicably and consistently surprised by that fact.

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