© 2023 Aspen Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Energy expert Hal Harvey’s new book proposes a policy-driven path to ambitious climate action

Eleanor Bennett
Aspen Public Radio
Local environmental advocate Hal Harvey's new book "The Big Fix" sits on the shelf at Explore Booksellers in Aspen. Harvey will be talking about the need for ambitious climate policy with Pitkin County Commissioner Greg Poschman on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at the bookstore in Aspen.

Environmental advocate Hal Harvey will be talking about his new book with Pitkin County Commissioner Greg Poschman at Explore Booksellers on Thursday in Aspen.

Harvey was born and raised in Aspen and now runs Energy Innovation — an energy and environmental policy firm based in San Francisco.

He and New York Times reporter Justin Gillis released a new book in September called “The Big Fix: Seven Practical Steps to Save Our Planet” about how individuals can influence policy decisions to address the climate crisis.

In the book, the authors propose a way to move from what Harvey calls “symbolic environmental gestures” to ambitious climate policy.

“We need smart public policy if we're going to get through this morass and have a decent planet,” he said. “But that requires a much more intensive focus on doing a small number of hugely consequential things rather than a large number of modestly helpful things.”

The book is full of real-world examples of people who took it upon themselves to advocate for this kind of change, including a Republican woman in eastern Colorado who grew up in a ranching family.

Harvey said she saw the opportunity for ranchers to make extra money on their land by working with public utilities to get more wind farms built.

“And she browbeat the Public Utilities Commission and ultimately went to the state legislature and then to the people in an election and she won it,” he said. “And the consequence of that is Colorado is leading amongst all states in going to 100% renewable energy for the electricity grid.”

Eleanor Bennett
Aspen Public Radio
A poster advertises Hal Harvey's book talk on Thursday afternoon at Explore Booksellers in Aspen. The Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE) is hosting a reception before the talk starts at 4 p.m.

Harvey said a trio of legendary Aspen women — Joy Caudill, Dottie Fox and his own mother, Connie Harvey — are another example of how a small group of individuals can push for major environmental change.

Known as “The Maroon Belles,” the trio led the charge to create and expand several federally protected wilderness areas, including the iconic Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.

“It didn't just happen, it took a small number of people with a really clear sense of what needed to be done and how it could be done and who could make the choice and they got it done,” Harvey said. “And that's been an inspiration.”

Harvey hopes people will walk away from the book talk with a sense of purpose — and an idea of what they can do to influence climate and environmental policy on a large scale.

Thursday’s book talk takes place at 4:30 p.m. at Explore Booksellers.

The Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE) is hosting a reception before the talk starts at 4 p.m.

Eleanor is an award-winning journalist and "Morning Edition" anchor. Eleanor has reported on a wide range of topics in her community, including the impacts of federal immigration policies on local DACA recipients, the Valley’s COVID-19 eviction and housing crisis, and hungry goats fighting climate change across the West through targeted grazing. Connecting with people from all walks of life and creating empathic spaces for them to tell their stories fuels her work.