Sustainable America is happy to announce the appointment of Jeremy Kranowitz as its Executive Director. Mr. Kranowitz brings 20 years of management and not-for-profit experience to the position, the last 10 of which he spent at The Keystone Center in a number of senior roles.
“We are delighted to welcome Jeremy to Sustainable America,” said Chairman Nicholas Tiller. “His passion for our work and his extensive experience with issues related to energy, the environment and education will help Sustainable America accomplish its mission of finding solutions to the potential food-fuel crisis.”
Mr. Kranowitz was kind enough to answer a few questions for the Sustainable America Blog about his background and his goals for Sustainable America.
Sustainable America Blog: Tell us about your work at the Keystone Center.
Jeremy Kranowitz: I spent the past decade at The Keystone Center focused on an array of energy, environmental, and education issues. Keystone is a mediation and conflict resolution organization that engages multiple stakeholders in society, brings them together, and develops solutions to make the nation more sustainable. I worked on national dialogues, bringing together leaders from industry, government, and advocacy groups on topics including improving regional electric transmission, the future of nuclear power in the U.S., and examining the role of carbon sequestration as a method to mitigate potential impacts from climate change. I also devoted myself to education issues and developed and ran a unique program for high school students called the Youth Policy Summit that combined public policy analysis with mediation and negotiation training. Topics this past summer included issues such as sustainable land and water use in the Great Lakes region and urban sustainability in New York City and Denver. Students met with leaders in society, conducted role plays, and ultimately developed consensus-based policy recommendations that they were able to personally share with their mayors, state legislators, and even Members of Congress and the Administration. This mix of working on regional and national policy issues combined with educating a cadre of future leaders and change makers was exciting and challenging, and honed skills that will help me make Sustainable America a success.
SAB: What drew you to Sustainable America’s mission?
JK: I was drawn to Sustainable America for several reasons. When I read the mission of the organization, focusing on the intersection of food and fuel and how to make the country both more sustainable and resilient, it made my socks go up and down! There are lots of environmental groups in the country, and many try to address too many issues at once, making them mile wide but only inch deep. Sustainable America will focus exclusively on this niche, which few other groups are tackling. The other aspect I found compelling is the focus on market-driven solutions, and helping entrepreneurs launch successful ideas that can change society for the better.
SAB: What is your vision for Sustainable America?
JK: I have a rainbow of ideas for Sustainable America. Within the agricultural sector, I want to work with farmers on a two-pronged energy program — one to encourage farmers to work with advanced fuel scientists and start growing “energy crops,” like switchgrass that can be converted to cellulosic ethanol or to large scale algae production, and two to work with stakeholders to accelerate the market for those fuels. At dairies and chicken farms, I would love for Sustainable America to help create a network of biogas facilities to help power rural communities and create organic fertilizers. In the transportation sector, I want to start working with the U.S. Conference of Mayors to work with cities across the country to expand their use of alternative fuels in their extensive fleets of buses and government vehicles, including advanced biofuels and natural gas, and to help raise awareness of the advantages of these different fuels. Sustainable America will also play an important educational role, and I would like the organization to start working with schools across the country on educational campaigns to understand the energy-intensity of various foods, reduce energy use and waste, and increase resilience by fostering more local food production where appropriate.
SAB: What do you want people to know about Sustainable America?
JK: The art of horse whispering — that is, steering a 1,000-pound animal of prey to go where you want it to go — is to make the right choice easy and the wrong choice hard. Sustainable America will do the same. We will work on projects to make alternatives to oil-based and food-based fuels easier to use and more readily available. We will find ways for communities to reduce waste, save money, and become more resilient. We will accomplish these goals across the country at the local level, and use our resources efficiently and effectively to help steer the country toward a more sustainable future.
SAB: Explain the role that sustainability has played in your life.
JK: I have dedicated my life toward sustainability efforts. I spent five years at the management consultancy McKinsey and Company in their environment practice, working with Fortune 500 companies to think about the triple bottom line of economics, equity, and the environment. I helped start an international sustainable forestry nonprofit called Forest Trends. At the Izaak Walton League of America, I engaged hunting and fishing enthusiasts to encourage electric utilities to limit their pollution emissions that were damaging the forests, fields, and streams they loved. And at The Keystone Center, I helped feuding parties find consensus and forge common-sense solutions to make the country more sustainable. I’m looking forward to the next chapter at Sustainable America to continue to make a difference.