Archive for May, 2008

Meet Dr. Sarah Warren- Catalyst and Ambassador for Green

As a clinical and consulting psychologist, Dr. Sarah Warren uses her expertise in behavior change and communication to serve as an ambassador for green. Drawing on her work in the addictions field—that includes our addiction to oil–, her mission is to educate and inspire individuals and organizations in order to move them from denial to awareness to action and into “recovery”.

A seasoned psychologist, Dr. Sarah turned her expertise in behavior change to the problem of the climate crisis, helping people find their mission by greening their lifestyles, businesses and careers to protect the planet for future generations so that they may enjoy the “garden” that nourishes us and our economy. Along the way she helps people reinvent themselves and leave their mark.

Dr. Sarah knows that change is difficult, necessary– and possible. And Dr. Sarah knows that change is rewarding. The daughter of an MIT researcher who was in on the ground floor of artificial intelligence, Dr. Warren focuses on analyzing the big picture and delivering highly effective messages about our climate crisis. With a brother who has been writing about business and the environment for 25 years and is one of the foremost experts on ocean acidification— global warming’s “evil twin–” and a sister who is a district manager at Patagonia, a pioneer among environmentally responsible companies, Dr. Warren comes naturally by her commitment to inspiring informed eco-action.

When she realized that global warming threatened her two young boys, she joined a growing movement of people who are shifting from somewhat committed unlikely environmentalists to deeply committed and empassioned eco-warriors who want to save the “garden” that feeds us, sustains our economy, and offers us natural beauty.

The Founder of the Spheres of Influence Salon on climate change, Dr. Sarah enjoys public speaking, writing, and coaching businesses and individuals on greening their practices. She also works to help people become informed, engaged voters on the pressing matter of climate policy. We invite you to learn more about our services by contacting

Keep checking back as this site grows into a comprehensive resource offering climate crisis news, information on the problem and the solution (as in what you can do!), tips and trends, and Dr. Sarah’s views and opinions as a behavior change expert for the age of global warming.

And sign up for her mailing list.

May 23, 2008 at 7:54 am

Join Dr. Sarah’s Green Career Circle

Based on the tremendous response to Dr. Sarah’s “Be Green & Make Green” teleseminar– which drew callers from Minneapolis to California to Florida– Dr. Sarah has created The Green Career Circle for early to mid-career professionals who want to transition into a job in the green economy, start a green business, or “green” their current position.

The Green Career Circle brings together professionals for dialogue and strategizing about opportunities to go green.

The next offering of Green Career Circle is a 3 session teleseminar running consecutive Saturdays from October 25- November 8 (11am -12:30 Eastern/10-11:30 am Central/8-9:30 Pacific).  New members will be accepted each week as space permits- members do not need to have attended all previous sessions in order to benefit. To register:

With the current economic downturn, we will focus on how to green your current position— which can be strategically advantageous to your career.

And just about any job can be turned into a green job!

Here is an MP3 of a session in which we talked about Finding Opportunities in the Green Economy:

Download and Listen

Members learn what questions to ask themselves about how to find a career that suits their personality, skills and passion. We also discuss ways to transfer skills and training to green careers. Members will also learn about emerging nonprofit and for-profit opportunities in the green economy, and will leave with a plan for a green career transition.

“I found that Dr. Sarah’s Green Career Circle Teleseminar has really energized me.  For 21 years, I held various financial management positions, including Senior Vice President and Treasurer with Bank One (acquired by JP Morgan Chase in 2004). Later I served as Chief Financial Officer of a major insurance company. So my question became ‘How can I leverage my background and skills to make a positive impact on the environment?’ The Green Career Circle Teleseminar provided insight into the myriad opportunities available. More importantly, it has given me a road map as to how to access where I can make a difference.” Eileen Kennedy, Chicago IL

You don’t have to take a vow of poverty to make a difference!

Join Dr. Sarah, a seasoned psychological career coach who helps clients harness their talents and passions and develop more meaningful careers that save the planet.

Want to learn more? Email Dr. Sarah at

May 22, 2008 at 3:41 am

Salon Policy Experts on Pickens Plan, Mitigation & Adaptation- October 2008


On October 8, 2008 we had a Spheres of Influence Salon teleconference conversation with Betsy Taylor, founder of 1Sky, on climate policy.  We were joined in that conversation by Prof. Richard Rood of University of Michigan who weighed in on what the science suggests about the need to adapt to climate change, and by Suzanne Farver, Board member of Rocky Mountain Institute who has done research at Harvard on framing climate change. And actress Nora Dunn took away some challenging questions to pose to her presidential candidate of choice.

Before the call with Betsy Taylor, Melissa O’Mara, who works in sustainability at IBM, posed several great thought-provoking questions that we did not get to on the call regarding Pickens’ Plan–which is in clear evidence in both presidential candidates’ energy platforms– and about where we are on energy options. After the call, I posed Melissa’s questions on line to our Salon experts on climate policy which prompted the following responses from both Rob Harmon, inventor of the REC ( and Richard Rood ( . Richard Rood invites comments and responses to a piece that he has written at .

Listen to that conversation at:

Read the subsequent email exchange in full below. Their responses are worthy of reviewing in their entirety.

Here is what Prof. Richard Rood says about Pickens’ Plan and our various sources of energy:

“I have listened to him a couple of times.  I think that he speaks a lot of sense.
His plan is very focused on energy security, with little direct concern about climate change.
In general, I think that it is critical to consider the approach to energy and climate and economic growth and consumption problem in both the near term and the long term.  It is clearly impossible to just abandon fossil fuels.  For climate protection we have to find a way to break the correlation between energy use, economic success, and CO2 emission.  Wind farms as in the Pickens portfolio is one of the best tools we have for doing this.  Hence, a diversification to wind and solar etc. is an important piece of the puzzle.  One issue with wind, geothermal, etc. if you add up the possible energy from the source and compare it energy consumption, it does not match.  Plus there are potential environmental impacts from massive wind and solar farms.  Of the “alternative” energy sources solar has the potential to scale to be large enough to become a primary source.  But there are a number of technological issues that need to be addressed.  Hence, a bridge is an important concept.  Of the other “alternatives” nuclear is the most straightforward to make wholesale replacement in say, electrical generation, but there are many techno-emotional issues involved.  Coal looms there as accessible and cheap, but without sequestration is climate disaster.  So again, we need some bridging strategy.

To be clear.  By far the biggest and best tool in the tool box in the short term is efficiency.  But we have to have some sort valuation of efficiency so that we don’t just use more energy because of our efficiency savings.

So … Pickens is a voice that makes sense.  But it is in terms of energy security, not climate change.  His help to climate change is a side product, which is fine.  But energy security can trump climate change.

Might be interested in this piece I published recently with one of my business students, who is now a carbon management director in the corporate world.

Would be interested in the comments of others.


Richard B. Rood
Professor: Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences
University of Michigan

Rood AOSS Web Page <;
Rood Weather Underground Climate Blog <;
Rood AMS <>  Blog <;


Here is Rob Harmon on our energy options, including his response to Pickens on natural gas for cars:

1. We can reduce energy consumption in US buildings by at least 50% and put the country back to work by improving the energy productivity in buildings.  That requires a major push.  We could start with neighborhood pilots where we do everything that is cost-effective over the life of the measure.  (A 5 year payback on weather stripping that lasts 1 year is a bad investment, but a 20 year payback on attic insulation that lasts 30 years is a good investment.)  We have to keep our eye on 2050, here.
2. If we do this, we don’t need to build any nukes.  Lovins has a great piece on nukes here:
The notion that solving the problem with solar would use up too much land is misplaced.  First, you start with the rooftops we already have.
3. We need a smart grid.  We currently have a really dumb grid.  Because electricity is tough to store, you have to use it in real time.  That is an information management problem.  We need to get the IT geniuses working on this problem.  If demand and supply can’t “talk” to each other, you need much more infrastructure.  We need more brains and less brawn for this problem.
4. We need to move from changing light bulbs, to changing laws.  Without good policy, none of this is going to happen.  Right now the incentives are to pollute.  We need to make it profitable to save the planet, rather than trash it.  Until we do that, we are fighting ourselves.
5. On the transportation side, only 8% of the energy in a gallon of gas is used to move the passenger forward (Lovins).  The rest is lost to inefficiencies.   Again, application of brains would really help here.  It makes no sense to me to build an entire natural gas infrastructure for transportation when it does not solve the climate problem, it is inferior to electricity, and the cars are unbelievably inefficient.  Plug in hybrids make way more sense.  Public transportation would help too.”


Robert Harmon
Chief Innovation Officer &
Senior Vice President
Bonneville Environmental Foundation

May 15, 2008 at 9:39 am

The Climate Crisis: What Global Warming Means for You

So what does the climate crisis mean for you?

If you’re a business owner, it could mean business interuption thanks to unpredictable weather.   Just think about the bizarre ice storm in 2007 that stretched from Maine to California to Mexico. And it could mean tremendous opportunities to develop new ways of doing business in the growing green economy.

If you’re a professional looking for new career opportunities, it means more jobs in growing fields like wind and solar, water management, and corporate sustainabilility.

If you’re a parent or grandparent or future parent, the climate crisis–unchecked–is likely to mean that your children will face tremendous challenges in the form of global economic downturn, food and water shortages, wars over resources such as water.

You’ve come to the right place if you want to know more about what Global Warming looks like and what you can do to make an important difference for the future of our planet.

The planet is the garden that nourshes us. Don’t we all want to live in a lovely garden? Don’t we want our children to live in an abundant garden?

Keep coming back to learn more as the site expands to become a comprehensive resource on the problem of global warming– and you can do!

May 3, 2008 at 4:57 am

Learn More About the Eco-Action Plan

Dr. Sarah’s EcoAction Plan is designed to help guide you though the transformation process that will allow you to…

Harness your talents, skills and passion to make a living while saving the planet.   

Reduce your business’ environmental impact– and improve employee retention while saving money!

Green your lifestyle and join the growing movement of unlikely environmentalists and new ecowarriors.

The EcoAction Plan will help you identify opportunities to reduce your environmental impact, and actions that will allow you to have the greatest possible beneficial effect. And what’s really cool is that not only will you benefit economically, you will find the EcoAction Plan tremendously rewarding.

May 1, 2008 at 4:24 am

Want to Make Difference?- Vote Green! Hold Your Elected Officials to Account

In order to successfully wage war against the threat of global warming, we need both lifestyle and massive policy changes. As voters we have power to hold our elected leaders to account on the policies that can make or break this effort. All it takes is twenty people– that’s right, twenty– writing letters and making calls to get politicians’ attention! So use your voice.

We have a presidential election coming up, and this is a chance to have your vote make a big difference.  And state and local officials vote on policies that affect our global warming policy, too.  What kind of policies are we talking about? Learn more about the hot policy issues.

May 1, 2008 at 3:49 am

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