By Norris McDonald
Today is our 25th anniversary. We was incorporated on November 20, 1985. The African American Environmentalist Association (AAEA) is the outreach arm of the Center for Environment, Commerce & Energy (Center).
You can see a listing of many of our activities during that time at our original website, which we converted to Multiply when the original Msn Groups platform ended). There is more activity information at our History page. My career has been very satisfying. From my beginning in the Fall of 1979 at the Environmental Policy Center (now Friends of the Earth) until today, the adventure has been incredible. I started out in the Washington, D.C.-based environmental movement. Jimmy Carter was president and was just finishing a rough 4-year run. I shook his hand at the Democratic National Convention in New York in 1980 not knowing that Washington was about to get a completely new makeover. The Reagan era was interesting and quite the challenge for the environmental movement. I still remember his 'no standard standard' for appliance efficiency standards. I also remember the Air Florida crash and the Metro subway accident on the day that I was walking back from the U.S. Department of Energy after testifying on appliance standards.
Well, without sounding like the old guy in the room sharing old war time stories that nobody really wants to hear, the situation today is as exciting as ever. We are embarking on trying to build biomass power plants in Mississippi, California and in Kenya. The adventure continues and I am having more fun than ever. Our team is lean and mean and green.
I have kept the AAEA small on purpose and will continue to do so. I almost died from respiratory failure in 1991 and 1996 (intubated for 4 days in ICU each time). After getting divorced and full custody of my son when he was 2 years old, I decided that I wanted to stick around to see my son grow up. But I also wanted to continue with my entrepreneurial environmentalism. So keeping it small worked. Although I still struggle with a chronic acute asthma that could kill me any day, my son is now 18 and I am still 'doing my green thing.' Life is good. Hey, and we just opened a new Center Hollywood blog this week (Also see AAEA Hollywood). Oh, and if you're feeling generous, feel free to click on our Donation button on our sites.