Environmental Heroism


Fred Felleman is recognized for his research, photography, and advocacy work to conserve and protect the Pacific Northwest’s marine environment. Over the past three decades, Fred has worked with marine conservation organizations, both locally and nationally, as well as local governments and tribes, to protect whale habitat and mitigate threats, particularly from oil spills. A skilled writer and photographer, Fred has used his talents to translate his research into public awareness and concern for the health of the Salish Sea. He has been involved with every major industrial expansion effort that would increase shipping traffic in our area, and has successfully challenged a variety of permits to decrease the risk of catastrophic oil spills. Fred has made integral contributions towards the creation of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, the stationing of the Neah Bay response tug, enhancing Washington State’s oil spill prevention and response capabilities, banning Naval bombing of the Copalis Wildlife Refuge, listing the Southern resident killer whale community under ESA, creating the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve and Management Plan, and improving cruise ship discharge requirements. Fred monitors and holds accountable decision makers, as in the recent case where the Army Corps neglected to release a draft Environmental Impact Statement for a massive expansion of the BP pier. For over thirty years, Fred has been the leading citizen paying attention studies and rules that impact the safety of the Salish Sea.

Environmental Heroes
Annual awards recognize stewards and 
job creators

As we debate jobs versus the environment—a tiresome, simpleton binary of winners versus losers—we gloss a fundamental truth: Focus on the environment creates jobs. Lots of jobs.

This truth became astoundingly clear in last year’s county elections, where candidates who championed a more careful, circumspect analysis of the expansion of heavy industry at Cherry Point had themselves created hundreds of jobs in comparison to their opponents, who promised focus on jobs at any cost.

It’s not jobs versus the environment. The vitality of the one depends upon the other.

Rud Browne created a business that recycled old electronics into new applications, building one of the county’s premier employers in the manufacturing sector. His colleague on Whatcom County Council, Carl Weimer, helped launch the RE Store, which similarly recycles old building materials into new uses. In the ashes of a gasoline pipeline explosion in Bellingham that killed three boys in 1999, Weimer helped form the Pipeline Safety Trust, a grassroots watchdog group concerned with pipeline safety across the nation, advocates of new management and infrastructure protocols and energy alternatives. Weimer also helped lead RE Sources through its formative years, building an education and policy advocacy group that—along with the RE Store, which the group manages—employes more than 30 people.

Each year, RE Sources recognizes Environmental Heroes for their extraordinary efforts in protecting and promoting the health of the Pacific Northwest environment. RE Sources has hosted Environmental Heroes for 11 years as a way to support, applaud and encourage work of this quality.

Job creation in environmental pursuits is, by its very nature, entrepreneurial—an emergent need is discerned, investment is accumulated and applied to in response to that need, people are gainfully employed in pursuit of tasks related to those needs. What’s striking, in fact, with this year’s Environmental Heroes is how each saw a need and set about to create a career to address that need.

“Driven by passion, all five innovated jobs so they could work full-time on what they cared about,” observes Peter Frazier, director of communications at RE Sources. “They started their own nonprofits that now employ scores of people. These are not just environmental heroes, but they are also job creators.”

“The accomplishments of our Heroes have made huge impacts in shaping our community’s culture and providing models of sustainability,” boasts RE Sources’ Executive Director Crina Hoyer. “Our vision at RE Sources is to see people living satisfying lives in accord with the ecosystem we depend on—generation after generation. We are delighted to highlight the work of our Heroes in advancing that shared vision.”

~ by fredfelleman on September 6, 2014.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: