PAW’s Tiger of the Week series has profiled many Princeton alumni who are working to address climate change in many different ways. As PAW publishes its Climate Issue in April 2023, here are just a few. 

Anne Brenner ’75 Built an Off-the-Grid Solar Home in Colorado

Anne Brenner ’75 likes projects. And as she sees it, the more challenging a new undertaking is, the better. This proved true when it came to fulfilling her longtime dream of building a self-sufficient, solar-powered home back in 2004. “We need to be self-sufficient and not rely on fossil fuels,” Brenner says. Read more

Dawn Miller *10 is Helping NYC’s Mayor Fight Climate Change

Miller was in seventh grade when she decided she wanted to work in government. After stints in both the public and private sectors, she’s now deputy chief of staff for the mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, and transitioning to the role of senior adviser to the city’s chief climate officer. “There’s just so much that can be done using the city government to do good in the world,” Miller says. Read more

Jackie Berger *96 and David Carroll *84 Consult on Energy Use

In late 2002, Jackie Berger *96 and David Carroll *84 founded a research institute called APPRISE — Applied Public Policy Research Institute for Study and Evaluation. Carroll and Berger originally thought they might focus the organization’s work on a variety of issue areas, but their previous forays in the energy sector ultimately directed the focus of APPRISE toward energy efficiency, renewable energy (primarily solar), and energy bill payment assistance programs for low-income households. The organization has worked with nonprofits, utility companies, federal and state governments, and agencies. Read more

Craig Leon ’85 Is Growing Native Foods in Ecuador’s Cloud Forest

Over decades of research and exploration, Craig Leon ’85 has discovered a cornucopia of remarkable yet little-known foods in the cloud forests of Ecuador — foods that Leon believes were in favor among local peoples until the 1400s, when the Incas invaded and imposed their own food culture upon the territory. In 2018, Leon founded Cloud Forest Organics to bring these foods to the public. Read more

Bill Urschel ’78 Is Documenting Climate Change in Alaska

Shortly after reaching the Gulf of Alaska, the Urschels founded Alaska Endeavour, a nonprofit that aims to advance scientific understanding of Alaska’s natural environment and to educate the public about its findings. Already, the Endeavour — which is “cheap to run and tough as an axe” — has taken glaciologists to conduct research in the Kenai Fjords, geologists and paleontologists to study Alaska’s Lost Coast, and a group of biologists to study humpback whale populations in Sitka Sound. This research has pointed to troubling trends in Alaska’s natural environment. Read more

Fletcher Harper ’85 Is Building an Environmental Movement on Faith

Fletcher Harper ’85 sees in the Bible the seeds of an environmental text. An Episcopal priest, Harper is at the forefront of a growing interfaith environmental movement that includes leaders such as Pope Francis, whose 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’ calls for “swift and unified global action” to address ecological destruction and climate change. “There’s no spiritual life that does not involve, does not start, intimately and inescapably, with the Earth,” writes Harper in his 2015 book, Greenfaith. “No Earth, no faith.” Read more

Journalist Shannon Osaka ’17 Brings Perspective to Climate Change

Shannon Osaka ’17’s interest in climate change began at Princeton, where she entered a physics major but then designed her own concentration called “Environmental Science and Environmental Studies.” Upon graduating in 2017, she spent two years at Oxford on a Sachs Scholarship from Princeton, studying the sociocultural dimensions of climate change. “Transitioning the economy to zero carbon energy is just a gigantic, huge, interesting problem, right?” says Osaka. “It touches pretty much all aspects of people’s lives. And so I wanted to study science, but also social sciences and economics and literature.” Read more

Paul Hanle ’69 Is Educating Judges About Climate Science

Paul Hanle ’69 has a gift for explaining science to non-scientists. He’s been doing it for decades — to families and teachers through science museums, and later to adults through agencies on up to the White House and the United Nations. Now he’s explaining the science of climate change to a group of people with real power to act on it: judges. About three years ago, Hanle helped found the Climate Judiciary Project at the Environmental Law Institute. It fills a need that’s growing primarily in the U.S. but also internationally, as more lawsuits are filed over climate change and appear before judges who don’t often have a science background. Read more

Noah Mihan ’19 Wants Kids to Re-wild the World

Noah Mihan ’19 left Princeton’s campus a year ago as something of a conservation hero. It wasn’t just that he’d started the Princeton Conservation Society, the first student group of its kind at the University. It was the way he went about it, seeing a hole and filling it. Now he’s bringing his energy and enthusiasm for conservation to children as director of the Creature Hero Foundation, a nonprofit created by Chris and Martin Kratt. The Kratt Brothers are the minds behind PBS shows like Wild Kratts and Zoboomafoo that aim to empower children and families to save the animals they love. Read more

Summer Hanson ’16 Promotes a ‘Zero-Waste’ Lifestyle in Seattle

At Reunions in June, Summer Hanson ’16 walked past the paper plates stacked high on buffet tables under white tents. She didn’t stop to pick up a plastic fork or knife, opting for a reusable utensil and bowl instead. In the evenings, she handed bartenders her own stainless steel cup. When she was finished, Hanson tucked each item into pockets on the inside of her class jacket. Some 100,000 cups are estimated to be used during Reunions each year, Hanson says. That weekend, she didn’t use one. This type of planning isn’t new for Hanson. As the co-owner of Eco Collective, a retail startup based in Seattle, she sells customers similar sustainable products that align with a zero-waste lifestyle. Read more

Samantha Lee ’18 Makes Strides Toward Greener Outdoor Gear

Samantha Lee ’18 first fell in love with the wilderness as a leader for Outdoor Action. It’s fitting, then, that an intership with a prominent sporting goods manufacturer would lead her to solve a problem that’s long plagued the sporting-goods industry: producing an effectively water-repellant down filling for jackets and sleeping bags that is also eco-friendly. Lee ended up interning for Sustainable Down Source (SDS), which makes hydrophobic (water-repellant) goose down under the name DownTek. Read more

WellPower Entrepreneurs Use Repurposed Batteries for Water Filtration

In Bethwel Kiplimo ’21’s home village in the Nakuru County of Kenya, NGOs have again and again introduced projects aimed at improving access to clean water. But most products stop working after two years, and there aren’t funds to repair them. Kiplimo was determined to come up with a different model. In October 2018, he joined WellPower — a Princeton-born startup providing a sustainable solution to the lack of access to electricity and clean water. Alumna Victoria Scott ’18 and four current Princeton students now operate the company. Read more

Angelo Campus ’16 and Aaron Schwartz ’17 Deliver Clean Power, Off the Grid

For Angelo Campus ’16 and Aaron Schwartz ’17, CEO and COO of the renewable-energy startup BoxPower, the latest attraction in their Nevada City, Calif., warehouse is a massive solar array, 38 feet wide by 28 feet high, mounted atop a 20-foot-long shipping container. The solar panels are part of BoxPower’s second-generation containerized energy system, which Campus and Schwartz envision being used for a number of applications, providing off-grid power to underserved communities, disaster-relief organizations, temporary events like music festivals, and agricultural operations. Read more