Author Anna Clark with her two children
So this Saturday, in honor of the occasion, Friends of the Audelia Road Library is hosting environmental author, Anna Clark, to discuss her new book: GREEN, American Style.
We recently caught up with Anna, a Lake Highlands native, to visit with her about the book, her environmental consulting company and her LH history.
How long did you live in Lake Highlands?
I grew up in LH and attended Skyview Elementary from 2nd - 6th grade, Forest Meadow Junior High and Lake Highlands High School. I graduated in 1991.
After my sister and I went to college, my parents downsized and moved to North Dallas. I now have friends who have moved back, and it's neat to see the neighborhood maintain its pride and continuity.
What first interested you in environmental issues?
The environment was always a tangential interest for me. I studied political science and international relations in college. I also had some post-graduate work in art history. Only in elective courses and in volunteer work did I "study" matters of conservation, climate change, habitat destruction, water scarcity and other environmentally-related issues.
But it's funny - once I got involved, I remembered back in 4th grade when I wrote a report on harp seals. In the folder, I remember putting brochures containing pictures of harp seals being bludgeoned by men with ice picks. And even further back, I remember reading the book Watership Down and crying for weeks about the rabbits losing their homes.
So, I guess you could say the motivation toward protecting the planet didn't come so much from formal coursework but from a sort of calling toward conservation on a heart level.
Can you tell us a little about your professional career?
After LHHS, I went to U.T. Austin and earned a B.A. in government and Spanish. Then I completed a post-graduate internship at the Department of Commerce in the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires.
I wanted to go to the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, but when I got back to Dallas, I met my husband. Instead I took a job in management consulting with PricewaterhouseCoopers. It turned out to be a better route for me.
It was great preparation for entrepreneurship. I'm not actually cut out for diplomacy and government work, anyway. I hate red tape and the world doesn't have time to wait for us to get permission and go through the "proper" channels.
Tell us about the history of your company, EarthPeople.
I started EarthPeople in late 2005 after reading countless articles about companies going green. It occurred to me that outside of the Fortune 500, most organizations do not have the budget for a formal sustainability department or dedicated employees.
I founded EarthPeople to offer top-level consulting and communications services to organizations of all sizes and budgets. Over 95 percent of businesses in the U.S. are classified as small and mid-sized companies.
They represent a portion of our carbon emissions, and they also present a great deal of potential to make the world a cleaner, better place.
By influencing these companies toward environmental responsibility, EarthPeople helps them save money through energy efficiency and bolster their brands by demonstrating leadership.