Jeff Marks is the Senior Policy Advocate at the Acadia Center, a nonprofit that works to develop a clean energy economy that offers tangible solutions to the climate crisis. Aside from helping to save the world, Jeff is also an animal advocate. He took a year to volunteer in Southeast Asia doing animal rescue efforts. Basically, he’s a real life Superman.
The Acadia Center does remarkable work with clean energy and climate policy. Can you tell us more about what the organization does?
The Acadia Center does research and advocacy on clean energy and climate change issues. We have an optimistic outlook on getting to a carbon neutral economy and are always looking ahead. Clean energy will be the future— from heating our buildings, to providing our transportation, to powering our lives. The Acadia Center is trying to make this next decade count in phasing out fossil fuels by 2030 and implementing more clean energy initiatives.
How can we help with climate change advocacy in our own communities?
There are opportunities all over the country to get involved in climate change work, regardless of if you are in a progressive state or not. The fossil fuel industry can be especially problematic to underserved, vulnerable communities— those are the ones that need our help the most. Low income communities, often home to people of color, have been hit harder with high pollution rates. If we are going to take action, we need to make sure we are taking care of our communities in need. The most important thing we can do right now is ensure that clean energy sources are available to people who need it, not just people who can afford it.
What advice do you have for young professionals who want to make a difference?
Always make sure that your voice is being heard, and know that there are plenty of jobs available in impactful fields like clean energy. This is a growing industry that has a lot to offer both ethically and economically— we are creating better and more jobs for young people as we expand into new fields like clean transit. Pursuing this field is a way to have a great, stable career and make the world a better place.
What is the biggest climate change issue we are currently facing?
In Maine, where the Acadia Center is headquartered, transportation is responsible for the majority of the pollution. It’s critical that we focus on electric transportation to help lower pollution rates. We need to make electric vehicles available to more people, and have accessible charging ports wherever people may need them. If we can make that happen, we will all feel the benefits.