Meet Bob Clemen

May 16, 2011 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

Duke professor Bob Clemen grew up in the countryside around Fort Worth, Texas, where he played in the fields and streams, collected fossils, and developed a nascent appreciation for nature and the environment. This was enhanced when he joined the Boy Scouts, with their focus on outdoor activities and ethic of stewardship. He credits his mother for nurturing this ecological sensitivity, and his father for imbuing him with a strong sense of “do it yourself” competence and a keen appreciation of efficiency and economy.

This combination of idealism and pragmatism were further reflected in his college years. Both the war in Viet Nam and the civil rights movement, with their elements of environmental concern, influenced his social consciousness .  While his awareness of ecological issues had been growing over the years, five years ago Bob turned his serious concern with issues of sustainability and climate change into a course at the Fuqua School of Business.

Around this same time Bob became involved with Piedmont Biofuels in Pittsboro. Collecting used cooking oils from a variety of sources, he helped convert this into biodiesel, which still powers his wife’s VW. He noted that when they received used oils from Burt’s Bees, a local business with a strong ecological consciousness, the resulting fuel smelled like rose petals instead of french fries.

During this same time period Bob learned about Clean Energy Durham.  It was through Clean Energy Durham that he became a 2030 Society Founder, supporting the City and County goal of a 30% reduction in county greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2030. Bob notes that buildings are the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions, and he sees Clean Energy Durham, with its focus on neighborhood conservation practices, as a perfect match for his interests.

With retirement fast approaching, Bob is looking forward to more family time and more involvement with his non-work related activities, including visiting with his kids and grandkids and enjoying several kinds of dance including folk, contra, and swing. He also may be found gazing at the stars through the 10″ telescope which he built – remember that “do it yourself” mind set – although it might be a bit of overkill for the bird watching which he and his wife enjoy. Add to this his volunteer work and it seems likely that retirement will be an active proposition for Bob Clemen.

–Profile by Clean Energy Durham Volunteer Martin Eagle

2030 Society members have pledged multi-year support and recognize Clean Energy Durham as a community leader helping the city and county reach their goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by the year 2030.


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Entry filed under: Fundraising.

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