How does a man who is so close to the ugly truth about what mankind has done—is doing—to the environment keep a sense of wonder and happiness? Peter Bahouth’s notions of adventure and happiness are not confined to travel or to the great outdoors; they include exploring your own back yard and visual journeys. As the current Executive Director of the U.S. Climate Action Network, Bahouth travels the world in an effort to help coordinate activities among groups working on climate change.
The growing evidence of a rapidly changing planet ensures that Bahouth and his colleagues remain vigilant in fostering an inclusive set of action plans to reduce the causes and effects of global warming. So many of us are caught up in the celebrity of entertainment figures, but few of us recognize the heroes who have made their life’s work an effort to save the planet. Following Peter Bahouth’s career path from his post as the Executive Director of Greenpeace to the directorship of Ted Turner’s family foundation, to his current role is a great conversational adventure.
After tirelessly working with politicians, world leaders, and scientists, Peter discovered that his downtime often felt disconnected. His commute between Washington, D.C. and his midtown home in Atlanta as well as his global travels drove him to construct a little network of magical tree houses surrounding the postmodern house he shares with his wife, Katie. Bahouth’s downtime involves another great escape; he is reviving the lost art of stereoscopic—or 3-D—photography.
How does 3-D photography connect with Bahouth’s environmental work and sense of adventure? Such fragments are not at odds with his outlook. I dare say only Ted Turner would have picked the man from Greenpeace to run his family foundation, as neither man is a stranger to controversy, a good fight, and adventurous explorations. He explained the logical connection between his advocacy and artistic endeavors, “The facts can change the way people think, but culture changes the way people feel.” This balance of thinking and feeling seems to keep Bahouth rooted in the present, having achieved what Japanese Buddhists call satori, or enlightenment. For the full article pick up a copy of the April/May issue of South magazine.
Story by Paula S. Fogarty
Photography by Stephen Archer