Another in a series of miniprofiles of sustainability-minded people who are working to reduce humankind’s footprint on the planet. To recap, they're "mini" not only because they're short, but because all the questions are 10 words or less, and the answers are requested to match. (Please, no counting.)
DAVID BARCLAY, 53, Northampton
Executive director, Northeast Sustainable Energy Association NESEA formed in 1974 as the New England Solar Energy Association, but joined with similar groups in the Northeast in 1985 to form an organization stretching from Washington, D.C. to the Canadian border. (In an impressive rejiggering that no doubt saved money on stationery — not to mention the monogrammed towels — they kept the acronym while changing some of the words.) Barclay said NESEA "encourages, demonstrates, and teaches proven sustainable-energy solutions." Its 1,600 members are mostly professionals in the field.
Green epiphany: "I’m not sure it came to me overnight like that. It was a matter of reading things and realizing that there is no silver bullet to solving this country's problem."
Green hero: "Al Gore."
An example of greenwashing that really bothers you: "Paint that claims to have significant insulating value." [Reporter's note: I chose not to ask David for an example, but for your amusement, examples are here and here.]
Are there solar panels at your house? "Well, I live next to Calvin Coolidge’s house, and there’s a bank of trees right in the way. Those trees will probably never come down, so I may be out of luck there."
The most significant change in NESEA’s membership in the last 5 years? "Dramatically more enthusiasm and a thirst for the knowledge that they need to help consumers solve their energy challenges."
Technology you’re most hopeful about: "There is a researcher at MIT who is developing a method of increasing the output of solar cells by better concentrating the light that hits them."
The one thing you wish everyone would just get right: "The need to support elected officials who want to make the US energy independent."
What’s a question I should have asked you? "Are we really going to be able to solve this problem?"
And your answer? "Yes, if we’re focused, realistic, and willing to make the investment."