Meet Chrissy Backman, Our New Campaign Field Coordinator
Our new campaign field coordinator sat down with our longtime writer, Michael Kluk, for a little Q&A. See the results below:
What will your new job involve?
As Campaign Field Coordinator, I’ll be planning and facilitating activities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our community. A big part of my job will be recruiting and supporting volunteers, and planning and working on logistics to make sure everything runs smoothly. I will also assist with special campaign events, such as the recent EVs@theMarket as well as smaller events like our Farmers Market booth.
What is your educational and work background?
I have a degree in Environmental Resources Engineering with a state license in mechanical engineering. Even though my major is in environmental engineering, I really liked courses in building energy consumption and advanced thermodynamics. I worked for Davis Energy Group (now Frontier Energy) as a building energy analyst. My education and work experience gave me knowledge and skills to help people reduce their home energy consumption significantly.
I have also done volunteer work for Cool Davis for the past eight years which has been extremely valuable. As a volunteer, I learned how to effectively communicate technical information to the general public. For example, in January of this year we put on a Home Heating and Cooling workshop at the senior center. The room was packed!
There’s a lot of interest out there on how to lower your heating and cooling bills. I was able to help attendees identify their existing systems, determine if they could benefit from a new system, and prepare questions for contractors. And, we had contractors there for them to actually talk with!
Through volunteer work at Cool Davis, I also learned the importance of community organizing. In 2012 and 2013, I promoted the Cool California Challenge, a competition to see which of our state’s communities could reduce its greenhouse gas emissions the most. As a Cool Davis volunteer, I tabled at the Farmer’s Market, spoke at other events, and eventually helped organize over 200 households to track their energy use over time. Davis won the competition!
I also spent four years in the Air Force after high school. In the military, there are people from all different backgrounds, with different interests, perspectives, and motivations. That experience taught me that a diverse group of people can still work effectively together for a common goal. People from all over our country and all over the world will need to work together to reverse climate change. I’m optimistic we can do it.
What goals do you have for your work with Cool Davis?
From my technical background, I understand the great potential of reducing home energy consumption for combating climate change and saving consumers money at the same time. I want to help homeowners be aware of various options for home heating and cooling, the benefits of added insulation, and other approaches to improve energy efficiency. I can help them calculate overall costs, payback periods, and the lifecycle costs of various options.
My technical background has taught me that it’s feasible and affordable to greatly reduce the energy consumption of the average home, and, what can’t be saved can be made up with rooftop solar. It is very possible to create a net zero home with the technology we have now. My goal is to give people the information they need and inspire them to use that information to make changes in their energy consumption behavior that will benefit both themselves and the planet. The time for action is now, if not yesterday!
I value the “boots on the ground” work it takes to bring about change. It literally must be done one person at a time. People need to come together as a community to support each other and for us to make the changes we need. We have the technology; the shortfall is user participation.
What activities do you enjoy when you’re not working for Cool Davis?
I love nature and enjoy hiking and backpacking. I have three children ages 8, 1,3 and 19 and they get a lot of my time. I volunteer at my youngest child’s school where we are developing a student farm for the kids to enjoy. I also tend an extensive vegetable garden and several fruit trees at my own home. We have a very active and close neighborhood and we get together regularly for neighborhood block parties.
Cool Davis is a coalition of citizens, the City of Davis, and community organizations working to empower our community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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