While filming mountain gorillas in Rwanda, one of the largest male silverbacks in the world approached me and sat on my lap with his face in the camera for more than 4 minutes before walking away. Here is what that looked like from my view. You will briefly see my knees in the bottom of the screen.
A significant amount of my life has been committed to environmental efforts. Here in Edmonds community members have a deep appreciation for this place we call home. The actions we take that impact the environment will impact not just the beauty that surrounds us, but the biodiversity we rely on, our health, economic stability, energy, transportation, and food supplies. As you will see from the list below, I have worked with national state, regional and local governments, private companies, and nonprofits to create and preserve a healthier environment for the American people. Specific efforts included working to eliminating mercury in homes and products, getting dangerous chemical stockpiles out of schools, helping the transition to electric vehicles and electric yard care equipment, safe disposal of hazardous chemicals, making our roads and transportation choices more efficient, cleaning surface water runoff, reducing use of water and electricity, helping individuals understand and interact with the natural environment, saving endangered species, reducing wood burning, reducing reliance on plastic, increasing recycling, increasing use of recycled commodities, increasing natural yard-care practices, improving building efficiency, among others.
The examples below are organized into the following broad categories.
Many of the examples overlap multiple categories.
Along with my wife, we have produced seven environment/nature documentaries. They have been distributed internationally to places such as Italy, The Netherlands, China, Canada, Slovenia, and Spain. Closer to home they have been featured nationally on PBS, syndicated on network affiliates to 86 percent of the country. These programs have also been used in more than 1,000 schools, universities, and libraries.
We have been recognized with more than 200 highly competitive national and international awards, including the Peabody Award, multiple Emmys, Genesis, Telly, Houston, New York, International Wildlife Film Festival, and Iris awards. Our work commonly placed higher in national and international competition than such icons as National Geographic, Disney, and Discovery.
The seven programs (in order of production) are:
Vanishing Giants examines the status of three of the world’s most endangered animals…the African elephant, the black rhinoceros, and the mountain gorilla. The program was filmed in Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda.
Islands of Nature explores the beauty and addresses the challenges of four of America’s most popular national parks…Yellowstone, Olympic, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon.
“Lolita” is an orca whale that resides at the Miami Seaquarium. She was captured from Puget Sound and is the only remaining orca captured taken from the wild. Lolita: Spirit in the Water explores both sides of this issue while addressing the ethical question that is surfacing in our culture: Is there justification for keeping animals like orcas in captivity?
From tens of thousands in colonial days, the population of bald eagles had dwindled to fewer than 500 pairs in the 1960’s. Return of the Eagle is an inspiring story of how people are helping preserve the living symbol of America’s freedom and independence.
River of Bears explores whether bears and humans can coexist in today’s world. It addresses the love/hate relationship between humans and bears through real-life experiences of people who live with bears in the wild, train them for films, and those who have survived near fatal bear attacks.
Natural Connections explores how nature and human nature are intertwined and how our everyday decisions about how we live impact biodiversity. This emotional program explores the fragile, vital, and natural connections of life on earth, from man to the smallest bug.
Thousands of years ago, we invited wolves into our caves as hunting partners and protectors. The wolf became the most persecuted and most misunderstood animal in the world. The 1995 reintroduction of Canis lupus to Yellowstone National Park has prompted many people to rethink how they feel about wolves. Wolf: An Ancient Spirit Returns explores the fragile relationship between humans and wolves, past and present.
Helped develop plan and process for climate action plan.
Provided research and strategic support to EPA to help name and brand WaterSense the sister brand to ENERGY STAR. Provided support as EPA considered what products to launch as they introduced the campaign.
The goal was to reduce water consumption in Seattle by 1% a year for 10 years. Reached goal in year three. Water consumption returned to 1980 levels despite 20% growth.
140 electric, water and wastewater utilities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana targeted washing machines to conserve significant amounts of water and energy. Only one US manufacturer existed. Led team that wrote and implemented the plan, created program identity, advertising, point of purchase materials and promotions, retail training and extensive research. Started with 1.7% market share. Exceeded the first 4 month goal by 251%.
Through partnership with Seattle City Light, Washington Natural Gas, Puget Power and Seattle Water Department, distributed 300,000 lowflow showerheads to area residents. Goal was 45% long-term compliance. 65% was achieved saving 6,000,000 gallons of water each day.
Collected 4,600 water-wasting toilets saving 45 million gallons each day through turn-in events with participation so great it blocked roads and ended up being the subject of a Trivial Pursuit card.
Created partnerships with manufacturers and retailers to encourage mulching, responsible watering, and sales of compost (increased sales by 739%), soaker hoses (increased sales by 10 times), rain barrels, compost bins, and electric mulching mowers. More than 655,000 natural yard care products sold.
Led campaign to help 10,000 individuals check their vehicle for leaks. Also collaborated with The Boeing Company to educate their employees about the harmful effects of vehicle leaks on the environment and conducted free leak testing days.
Facilitated discussions with government, manufacturers, retailers, environmental organizations, trade associations and lawyers, regarding opportunities for producer responsibility for household hazards.
The state was exploring what opportunities might exist to introduce producer responsibility for consumer electronics. I facilitated discussions with government, manufacturers, retailers, environmental organizations, trade associations and lawyers to identify both barriers and opportunities.
Led outreach efforts to dentists, public thermometer collection (more than 30,000 collected), and thermostat collection and bulbs.
Led team to remove hazardous materials out of school labs, and not down the drain, 54,000 pounds collected.
Ongoing research and message development support.
Promoted the use of tap water over bottled water.
Designed and facilitated a series of four workshops with a stakeholder committee made up of government, environmental, community and business interests.
Help homeowners understand how important soil is and how water and chemicals impact the biodiversity.
Research and messaging related to concerns with buying the product related to water contamination.
Help develop opportunities for biosolid use.
Help unify the 1,600 members in their priorities, messages, and approaches to water quality issues.
Create process and facilitate stakeholder meetings to identify and prioritize projects.
Explored consumer preference and acceptance for alternative packaging to the shoe box and box content. Also explore consumer preference for more environmentally sustainable manufacturing practices.
Created pilot program to increase use of reusable cups. Pilot was launched in Canada.
Recruited 122 service stations to offer and encourage use of re-refined Motor Oil resulting in 6,000 vehicle owners choosing re-refined oil.
Recruited retailers to accept electronics waste resulting in 5,039 monitors collected.
For several cities and counties helped introduce recycling as well as new commodities that can be recycled. Worked in single-family, multi-family and commercial.
24 tons of hazardous chemicals taken out of school stockpiles.
Increased sales of reusable cups by 240% and refills by 187%.
Recruited 620 retailers to feature products made using recycled content. On average sales of featured recycled products increased 39%.