Repost from the Vallejo Times-Herald
Voices: Benicia man explores greener world in bookBy Irma Widjojo, 05/16/16, 7:18 PM PDT
Benicia >> Grant Cooke said he’s always been a writer, even after not being able to find a job as a reporter as a fresh college graduate in the 1960s.
Undaunted, the Benicia resident of 30 years went on to write four books with his writing partner, Woodrow Clark II.
Clark was one of the contributing scientists to the work of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.
Most recently, the duo published “Smart Green Cities,” which provides a guideline for modern cities to move away from a carbon-intensive energy culture, Cooke, 69, said.
“The only way we can mitigate climate change and global warming is by addressing the issues going on in cities and mega cities,” he said.
The writers took about a year to write the book, visiting more than two dozen of the cities in the book, including Beijing, London, Paris, Copenhagen and Berlin for research.
Cooke did not always live in the center of technology.
Born in a “small farm town” in California’s Central Valley, Cooke eventually left the area for a college education in Berkeley.
After working as a college administrator for almost three decades, he helped a small engineering company to write and design projects for the California energy efficiency program in 2006.
He then started a mechanical engineering company in 2010, the Benicia-based Sustainable Energy Associates, but decided to scale down to focus on writing more books — combining his passion of sustainable energy, technology and writing.
“My field is emerging technologies,” Cooke said. “We are on the cusp of the beginnings of what I consider to be a technological and scientific renaissance. I think from what I understand and where I stand now the future is more interesting and full of technological breakthrough.”
Through his work, Cooke was also able to “witness a little bit of history.”
In December, Cooke was part of the United Nations conference in Paris on climate change.
“It was really fascinating,” he said. “I got to see U.S. and China, the two world’s biggest polluters, sit down and discuss ways to address this issue.”
He said the United States is slower than the European countries to adopt greener technologies and habits.
“America tends to be lazy and tends to be dominated by carbon-related wealth,” Cooke said, pointing to his own hometown. “In particular towns like Benicia and Richmond that are so dominated by their heavy fossil fuel industries.”
However, Cooke agrees that California leads the nation in addressing climate change and related issues, but he said more money needs to be injected into the industry.
“No major change of this magnitude is going to come about without money,” he said. “Global investors, of large quantity, have suddenly realized that we are on this cusp of green industrial revolution — that money could be made in green technology.”
Cooke’s latest, and other books, can be found on Amazon.com.