Formerly executive director and one of the founders of FrontRange Earth Force, Lisa is now President/CEO of Earth Force. Lisa has a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources. She has always been committed to finding ways to better engage students in learning and their communities. Her expertise in environmental education, community development, service learning, environmental problem solving and how our environment influences people’s well being and ability to function made Earth Force a natural fit. A native of Colorado, Lisa loves being on the prairie and near the mountains, and is inordinately fascinated with soccer.
How did you first get involved in the green industry?
I am a product of the environmental movement that started around the first Earth Day. I went to graduate school with a specific focus on how we could help urban dwellers see and experience the nature that surrounds us wherever we live. That built into a research interest and real-world commitment to finding ways to help people feel capable and supported around addressing environmental issues they care about. Earth Force was a natural fit for me — we help young people work together to address environmental issues in their communities.
What interests you most about being green?
It’s a way of being for me. I see the world we live in from a systems point of view. Once you do that, it’s almost impossible to extricate a consideration and appreciation for the quality of the environment — the air we breathe, water we drink, food we eat, and what makes all that possible — from everything I do. Part of my deepest motivation for being at Earth Force is that I think we all need to be able to understand cause and effect and systems — i.e., how everything fits together. It definitely changes how you look at the world!
What is your biggest “green” pet peeve?
My pet peeve is our collective inability to find ways to balance long-term implications with short-term ones. There were very serious conversations 30 years about climate change, but there was no collective will to listen and respond. Fast-forward 30 years, and the challenge before us is much more daunting.
What green trend is most exciting to you or your industry?
I see two: 1) The recognition that caring about the “environment” is also about caring about people, their quality of life, and general health. We are seeing a more holistic view of the environment and realizing how much of human existence is tied to it.
2) This isn’t just “green,” but Earth Force is excited to be part of a number of efforts focused on building truly collaborative efforts that better utilize the resources, talents and energy of those involved to accomplish a shared purpose. We have shaped all of our work around the idea that bringing together “uncommon collaboratives” to accomplish our work, versus working in our silos, is a key to making significant progress on important social issues. Our latest initiative, GreenSchoolsConnect, does just that by bringing together corporate green experts and school districts to make schools shining examples of sustainability. GreenSchoolsConnect is built on the premise that solving complex and challenging issues requires the expertise, experience, cooperative spirit and perspectives of diverse sectors.