I’ve been thinking a lot about Steve, lately. I wish he was here. My friend, Day, http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/63978447/ has stirred memories of good-byes and not-so-good byes.
The world sure could use Steve’s input. He described himself to me as a Utopian Marxist physicist, and then, tucking his chin, he’d looked resolutely into my eyes, over the rim of his glasses blue eye to blue eye, completely unabashed. He was terminally optimistic, which used to give me great pause, because Steve knew a lot about the world and what was happening to it. He knew, way before us regular folks did, that climate change makes everything else kind of a moot point. At the same time, he found so much pleasure in encounters with people everywhere he went, and their contributions. The stories he shared with me about his travels had his love and fascination with people of all kinds at the heart of them. Random strangers he encountered and befriended on trains, the man who worked at the newspaper stand outside a hotel, a famous poet he played poker with, and a myriad of others. A fiercely loving and brilliant man with a marvelous sense of play, who looked like a modern urban Talmudic scholar. After he died, I wished I could travel in the impression of his footsteps and interview everyone he had taken time with. He had a whimsical and insatiable way of nudging me toward the “unified field” or at least the longing for one. He is part of why I stay curious, and when I let the Sisyphus-tic despair of general business, get to me , I think of him and his indomitable appetite for throwing monkey wrenches into the big works. Here’s a short professional bio .
Stephen Bernow was a founding member of the Tellus Institute. His work spanned a wide variety of issues in environment and development with a focus on energy systems and climate change policy. He conducted pioneering research on incorporating environmental externalities into planning and pricing, implementing ecological tax reform, designing sustainable transportation strategies, promoting renewable resources, and modeling climate policy. Before joining Tellus, Dr. Bernow received a Ph.D. in physics from Columbia University in 1970 and taught at the university level.
Steve was a vital, decisively passionate and essential critical thinker at the forefront of climate policy. He was a member of the teams of scientists who crafted the Kyoto treaty. He was a true collaborator.
Favorite shared music? Miles, Porter..