Green Spotlight: Mark Nicholas

Meet Mark, our BEC policy intern!

Mark has been interning at the Environmental Center since January, primarily with the Bend Energy Challenge team. For his first project, he worked with government officials and local solar contractors to examine and further streamline the solar PV permitting process for residential customers. Currently, Mark is looking into energy efficiency for homes here in Bend to determine how we can work with the City of Bend, energy companies, and other stakeholders to incentivize builders to build more energy efficient homes and to go above and beyond the state building code. Mark is doing some really important work here, and we’re very lucky to have him on board as our intern. Get to know Mark a little better in this Green Spotlight!

Where did you grow up, and why did you stay or leave?

I was raised for most of my life in St. Helena, California, in the heart of Napa Valley. My family moved to Newberg, Oregon in 2001 to fulfill their lifelong dreams to start a winery.

Where can we find you when you’re not working?

Working. Oh wait, I suppose you can find me attending one of the few beer events here in Central Oregon. If for some bizarre reason there is not a beer event, I am most likely outside playing disc golf, camping, or searching the area for the next crazy spicy hot food challenge.

If you were to share a lecture on one topic you’re passionate about, what would you discuss?

The critical importance of addressing this country’s aging electrical grid. Moving our dangerously outdated electrical grid to the new and evolving Smart Grid is the only way for us to truly reach the sustainable energy goals we envision for this country. I was inspired to study energy and environmental policy by Severn Cullis-Suzuki, a child who spoke at the 1992 UN Earth Summit. I highly recommend everyone give it a watch.

What book are you currently reading, and who would you share it with next?

I would love to say I am reading a fun fiction book, like say the new Harry Potter novel, alas I am a policy nerd so I basically only read non-fiction books on energy and environmental policy. I am currently re-reading Break Through: from the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger. I cannot possibly recommend it more highly to anyone even remotely concerned about conservation and the dire predicament we find this country in.

Where would you most like to go in the world that you haven’t visited yet?

I would love to visit Kiribati. Its immense beauty and majesty is sadly becoming a victim of climate change. With some islands already deemed unlivable due to sea level rise, there is only a short time frame in which to still visit.

What’s your favorite sustainable practice at home?

Right now I’m in the middle of a big green sweep at home, replacing windows, doors, insulation, and lighting with more energy efficient options. It’s quite a task, but the results will be well worth it. I’m also quite the recycling fiend, keeping waste to a minimum and recycling everything I can’t reuse.

What was the last concert you went to?

I recently went to the Brandi Carlile concert here in Bend a little bit ago. She always puts on a fun show, and her alternative folk/country vibe really hits the spot on road trips and when camping.