If, as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis claimed, states are the laboratories of democracy, then Mary Nichols is the Thomas Edison of environmentalism. Head of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), she has been a fierce champion of cutting-edge technology that is changing her state, a nation and the world.
This is actually Mary’s third turn at CARB. She served twice under then governor Jerry Brown, who held office from 1975 to 1982. She came back to CARB in 2007, preceding Brown’s return to the statehouse by four years. Prior to her most recent CARB stint, Mary worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
In her decades of service, she has seen the changes she pushed in California and D.C. — boosting fuel economy, cutting acid rain and greenhouse gases — become global standards. It is the spirit of Californians, she says, with their openness to new things and their love of the planet, that makes it all possible. Amen, sister!
Jackson was EPA Administrator from 2009 to 2013