The Austin Chronicle

Head of the Class

Brandi Clark's groundbreaking works of staggering green-ness

By Kathryn O'Shields, April 18, 2008, Features

Brandi Clark's résumé is five pages long. And I'm not talking about a brag sheet with wide margins and a "Hobbies" section. I'm talking about five pages of progressive, city-changing, activist accomplishments, any one of which would make a serious environmentalist proud.

An Austin-raised Yale grad, Clark has been active in the Austin community as a volunteer, fundraiser, chairwoman, event planner, and entrepreneur for more than 11 years, working with environmental groups such as Ecology Action, Keep Austin Beautiful, Liveable City, and the Austin Parks Foundation. She has launched an average of one new green venture per year (she has about 12 to date), and she gives environmental-ed lectures at least once a week.

In addition to her 9-to-5 gig as sustainability officer for the proposed, socially and environmentally responsible One Earth Bank, Clark serves as chair of the board for CarShare (, a company she co-founded that allows people to pick up a car for the day at various locations around Austin. "For our one-year anniversary last fall, we were able to add a new Prius to our fleet!" she effuses.

Also on this vegetarian's plate is the EcoNetwork initiative (, a nexus for environmental groups. "I came up with EcoNetwork when I was a member of three organizations that each had the word 'sustainable' in their name, and I realized none of them talked to each other," she says.

"No matter what your career or age, everyone can be green, at home or at work," adds the 2007 Chronicle's Readers Poll Best Environmentalist winner. "There are so many opportunities to be involved in the community." She recommends making little changes in daily life, like minimizing driving or using cold water for laundry. "People should feel urgency about this issue, but not panic," she says. "They should feel inspired because they can make a difference."

Equally inspiring is Clark's tireless commitment to promoting sustainability and strengthening our community – and it makes for one helluva curriculum vitae.

Green Crush Faves:

Enviro books: Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough and Michael Braungart; Deep Economy by Bill McKibben; Worldchanging by Alex Steffen, Al Gore, and Stefan Sagmeister; How to Live Well Without Owning a Car by Chris Balish; Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken; and The Green Book by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen

Enviro docs: The Next Industrial Revolution, The Future of Food, Blue Vinyl

Local green businesses: Eco-Wise, Habitat Suites, Barr Mansion, Farm to Market Grocery, Casa de Luz

Heroes: Paul Hawken and William McDonough


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