Susan Glickman is “Clean Energy Girl”
Working to Advance Clean Energy and Fighting Polluters
I am fortunate to call Tampa Bay and Florida home. I love this state and work to protect our natural environment every day. The choices we make – burning coal, drilling for oil and gas etc. – about energy greatly impact our public health and our economy. Moreover, the lack of good policy on climate and energy has hindered job creation and economic development.
I’ve been a passionate public interest advocate throughout my career. I’m often asked how I came to work on energy issues. I worked with The Trust for America’s Health to establish the tracking of data to better understand the correlation of environmental hazards to chronic illness. The brainchild of public health experts at the John Hopkins School of Public Health, they identified a gap in our public health system that while we track mortality from chronic diseases like cancer, we don’t track incidence. Without data, it is difficult to understand the implications of serious pollution problems. If you don’t have cancer incidence statistics, it’s difficult to prove, for example, what is the linkage between power transmission lines or nuclear waste and cancer.
Climate Change: Decisions made now impact Future Generations
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) was one of the partners on the “Health Track” campaign and I began working with SACE in 2001. I’ve also been a consultant to the Natural Resources Defense Council for a decade. Over the years, I have worked with most of the national organizations engaged on climate and energy. I assisted The World Wildlife Fund who in 2001 – prior to the 6th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference – pressed President George W. Bush – after rejecting the US joining the Kyoto Protocol – not to stand in the way other countries taking action on climate.
I’m not sure there is an issue more pressing than what human activity is doing to disrupt our climate – with the possible exception of the related issue of water. It’s really a simple issue in that greenhouse gas emissions – most notably carbon pollution – are building up in the atmosphere, forming a heat-trapping blanket that is prematurely warming the earth. While the rate of melting of ice or other impacts may be debatable, there isn’t one single peer reviewed scientific study that credibly disputes that fundamental premise. It is astounding that in the United States, we have allowed the polluters – who make money at our expense – to stand in the way of action.
Fighting Moneyed Interests
Prior to working on energy issues, I was with The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids fighting the influence of the tobacco companies. My experience prepared me to understand the grip that well funded oil companies and monopoly electric utilities have on policy-makers. Florida was one of four states to settle with the tobacco companies in the Master Settlement agreement. At the time, the late Governor Lawton Chiles spearheaded a highly successful tobacco prevention program that was a model around the country. In the next Administration under Governor Jeb Bush, despite the fact that then Secretary of Health Robert Brooks lauded the program as saving more than 1 Billion dollars in long-term health care costs, the Florida Legislature’s response to this highly successful program was to defund and kill it. Thankfully, citizens and groups like the American Cancer Society led a ballot measure that restored the program.
I served as the Founding Chair of the Florida Commission on the Status of Women when The Commission was reorganized in the Office of Attorney General back in 1992. I had the privilege of traveling twice – as a visiting Western expert – to the former Soviet Union in 1994. The training we held in Ukraine was in advance of their first ever-parliamentary elections. More recently, I was appointed by Governor Rick Scott to the Commission on Community Service – more widely known at Volunteer Florida.