p r o f i l e

d a v i d  h a h n - b a k e r



David Hahn-Baker is founder and president of Inside/Out Political Consultants, an environmental consulting firm based in Buffalo, New York. His firm's slogan is: "Inside Washington, D.C. skills, with outside Washington thinking." He has been a Member of NRDC's Board of Trustees since 1990.

PROFESSION
Environmental and Political Consultant.

VITAL STATS
I've been married for almost eight years to Holly Hahn-Baker. We live in Buffalo, New York, which is where Holly grew up. I grew up in Chicago, which shares many similarities with Buffalo. I spend a good deal of time in Washington, D.C. due to my work. We are decidedly childless and have no pets due to allergies.

LAST ENVIRONMENTAL BOOK READ
Dune, by Frank Herbert.

BEST ENVIRONMENTAL BOOKS READ
A Fierce Green Fire by Phil Shabecoff -- A great history of the roots of the American traditional environmental movement. The book provides an excellent sense of the religious and spiritual basis underlying the actions of the development of the traditional movement and provides a challenge to the movement to realize it can only achieve its goals by reclaiming its original spirituality and growing to join the broader movement toward social justice.

The Geography of Nowhere by Howard Kunstler -- By tracing the history of American architecture and urban development Kunstler exposes our consumptive behavior and suburban sprawl as the root cause of the global environmental crisis and America's spiritual decline.

Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach -- A great story. It makes you want to buy a shoulder-held rocket launcher and move to California.

FAVORITE WEB SITE
NRDC's of course. My second favorite is the Liberty Tree Alliance. The web site is a virtual discussion on issues of democracy and sustainability. There are daily, weekly, and monthly opinion columns on a variety of issues, and special features and dialogs on key aspects of sustainability. There are also features where environmentalists describe their five favorite web sites on a variety of environmental topics.

FAVORITE NATURE SITE
The Kalalau Lookout on the island of Kauai is the most beautiful place I have ever been. The bluest sky meets the bluer ocean while the puffy clouds meet the mists from Mt. Wialeale (the wettest point in the United States). I cried when I saw it. Closer to home, last month I stood within ten feet of a Cooper's Hawk on the Canadian side of the Niagara Gorge.

ENVIRONMENTAL HEROES
Rachel Carson, Congressman John Lewis, Karen Murphy of the Northwest Coalition Against Pesticides, Gary Carrel of the Buffalo Environmental Taskforce (the hardest working man in the environmental movement), Jacques Cousteau.

BIGGEST MILESTONE
It was a good month when state representatives of the Nature Conservancy and the Audubon Society independently approached me for discussions about the need to enhance the quality of life in inner city Buffalo to relieve pressure on remaining undeveloped tracts in Western New York.

Until we maintain and attract people to the already developed cities, the pressure for new housing, development and shopping malls will overwhelm the environmental community's ability to preserve habitats.

MOST WORRISOME ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEM
People seem to be very confused about the difference between worth and value. Our values are found in the spirit and in nature. Our values are in soft paths and living in harmony. Though our best values are not based in financial worth, we seem to spend much of our time and energy pursuing worth. I am worried about our ability to find a path which allows for a sustainable environment, social justice, and a sustainable economy.

WHAT IS TO BE DONE
Learn, act, learn.


  Published by the Natural Resources Defense Council -- contact us at nrdcinfo@nrdc.org