Idea light bulbs with young businesswoman in a thoughtful face

Skip LaitnerImpact Earth: Special Big Brain Series, Episode 1  This is the first episode in our three-podcast series that we are calling our big brain series. We are going to explore the issues around climate, climate action, and climate solutions through a variety of powerful lenses – what we call the big, brain thinking lenses! Thinking in a big brained way is thinking through ideas and concepts so that we can understand our place in the world, the problems we are creating and the opportunities we can generate to build solutions. The time is now, it is critical – it is time to step up our game.



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  • More about Skip Laitner: John A. “Skip” Laitner is an international resource economist who leads a team of consultants, the Economic and Human Dimensions Research Associates based in Tucson, Arizona. He is the Past President of the Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS), an independent interdisciplinary professional association in higher education. Skip is the former Director of Economic and Social Analysis for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). He previously served almost 10 years as a Senior Economist for Technology Policy for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He left the federal service in June 2006 to focus his research on developing a more robust technology and behavioral characterization of energy efficiency resources for use in energy and climate policy analyses and within economic policy models.  He also provides technical support for a variety of local governments in the development of energy and climate profiles, especially as they positively shape and enhance long-term sustainable development goals. Among his most recent efforts include work for the World Bank, IMPLAN Group LLC, Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy, International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC), International Energy Agency (IEA), San Diego County, California and the Metropolitan Region of Rotterdam and Den Haag (MRDH) in Netherlands. In 1998 Skip was awarded EPA’s Gold Medal for his work with a team of economists to evaluate the impact of different strategies that might assist in the implementation of smart climate policies.  In 2003 the US Combined Heat and Power Association gave him an award to acknowledge his contributions to the policy development of that industry.  In 2004 his paper, “How Far Energy Efficiency?” catalyzed new research into the proper the characterization of efficiency as a long-term resource.  Author of more than 360 book chapters, journal articles, and reports, Skip has 50 years of involvement in the economic, environmental and energy policy arenas. He has provided technical seminars in diverse places as Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, and Spain. He has a master’s degree in Resource Economics from Antioch University.
  • The world economy will grow by 20 to 25 percent over the next decade and at the same time, we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent in the next 8 years and then move to near zero by the year 2050 – and this does not mean doing without…but rather doing things differently in bold new ways.
  • More information on the Anthropocene discussed on this podcast – Skip provides essential data that we can use as a foundation to open our minds to the connections happening on and around our planet.
  • Human beings are driving the changes to our planet – and we need to shift the economy toward more sustainable activities but in more dynamic, positive, hope inspiring ways!
  • YOU have the power to become part of the solution. How can you get engaged, activate your big brain and start now to move forward in an innovative, dynamic way? Skip has some great thoughts to share – be inspired with us by listening to this podcast.
  • What is the true cost of climate change? You may be surprised at the numbers – Skip gives us a glimpse into the reality of what climate change is truly costing all of us. We are not measuring the collective PAIN of climate change and we need to start NOW.
  • How we use energy/resources…how we use information around our impact on the planet…how we use people working collaboratively and through community – these are our beginnings to give us a framework to create dynamic, innovative change.
  • Let’s talk about HOPE – it exists and we can put it into action. Great ideas and big brained thinking shared on this podcast – let’s go!



In the excitement of the discussion, there were inadvertent misstatements made that we would like to make note of for clarity.

Skip mentions multiply by the millions of square meters when he references “one Watt per meter squared” – that should have been trillions of square meters on earth

Skip mentions the turn of the century and what he was thinking was the year 1900 rather than the year 2000.


Episode 2

Episode 3