Fundamentally, Jeff works to disrupt and transform our world as required to solve the climate crisis.
Jeff co-created and chaired the Steering Committee for the inaugural Our Children, Climate, Faith Symposium in Strafford, VT, in August 2013. This ground-breaking symposium has brought new national attention to the connection between these issues and people of faith. He continues to work to activate the visions created.
Jeff has been active in energy and climate work since 1973, (during the first oil embargo), when he built his first solar collector. Since then, he has worked in large-scale building efficiency and small and large scale solar energy. He co-founded groSolar, a nationwide solar contractor, where he was CEO for 14 years, and where he remains as Chairman. There he helped break new ground and build the U.S. solar industry. Jeff has also Chaired the Distributed Generation Division of the Solar Energy Industries Association since 2005, and serves on the Union of Concerned Scientists National Advisory Board.
Jeff is currently working on developing the solar market in Mexico while also creating new organizations for sustainability and social responsibility in that country. In 2006 Jeff was trained by Al Gore in his climate presentation, which he has given many times since.
Jeff is Principal of Jeff Wolfe Consulting, providing strategy, planning and execution services as well as market entry and development in the solar / renewable energy industry. He advises several start-up companies bringing IT and hardware cost reductions to the industry. He has a BSME from Cornell University.
In October of 2013, Jeff delivered a Children's Time talk and Sermon at the Waterbury Congregational Church in Vermont. In it he tells the story of the symposium "Our Children Climate Faith" -- more than that, he captures the spirit of the event, and leaves us feeling hopeful and energized to devote ourselves to the cause. (hw)
Problem – Solution statement
At its root, climate disruption is caused by culture disruption. The causes of climate disruption do not present an insurmountable technological obstacle. They may present an insurmountable cultural obstacle. In 30 years of work in energy efficiency and renewable energy, I have found that the technical solutions to problems were always available, but that far too often our culture pointed us in the direction of uncompensated use of the commons instead of toward providing for ourselves and others from within our own bounded resources. Thus, we made it easier to throw things “away” than to recycle, even though there is no “away”.
Our culture also has lead us to a life of ignorance. Ignorance of where our food and our energy comes from, and where our wastes go to. We decry the view of a wind turbine on a nearby hill, and penalize companies for killing a single bird with a turbine blade, but import power from states and countries where they flood or permanently despoil aboriginal homelands the size of South Carolina, and kill untold wildlife.
Regaining our cultural connection to the planet that furnishes us life is vital to our continued existence. It is also vital to our mental well-being. The “throw-away” society is responsible for the general degradation in value of human life, resulting directly in increasing social inequality, as well as the general perception that the planet has a limitless ability to absorb our wastes, of every kind, while continuing to provide for us without limit. This throwing away of our wastes, specifically Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere, has led directly to climate disruption. Climate disruption has led directly to dramatically increasing social injustice, with what we have seen so far being only the barest beginnings.
But I have hope. There are two ways out of the problem. One is that we change our culture to understand our dependence on, if not reverence for, our planet Earth. This is why I am writing this, and speaking at this conference, and created the Our Children, Climate, Faith Symposium, among other activities. The second is that we may yet produce technology that makes it cheaper and easier to save the planet instead of imperiling it. That is why I remain committed to working in solar energy and other transformative energy technologies.
We can solve this. The only question is whether we can understand our relationship to the planet, and to each other, well enough, and soon enough, to do it.