Growing up in Colorado instilled Brent with a deep love and respect for the great outdoors that now fuels his passion forclimate activism and environmental justice. Having joined the US Army Reserves after graduating from Overland High School in Aurora, Colorado, Brent served two combat tours, in Iraq and Afghanistan, while also pursuing a degree in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. Upon completing his service in the Army Reserves and graduating from Mines in 2012, Brent went on to get his PhD in Materials from the University of California, Santa Barbara — where he grew his activism and community organizing experience in local politics and around the issue of climate change. Brent is a fervent believer in the power of grassroots organizing and activism for: building community, educating voters, activating the next generation of activists, disrupting the “business as usual mindset” that has lead to decades of inaction on climate, and influencing policymakers to urgently address the growing climate crisis with bold science-based policies.
“Brent worked tirelessly to engage our elected leaders during the 2021 Legislative Session. From compiling bill information and creating factsheets, to meeting with legislators and training volunteers on lobbying skills, Brent’s efforts were crucial in helping Colorado to pass bold climate legislation. When Polis threatened to veto Climate Justice Bill SB 21-200, Brent helped to organize and rally over 200 people to march in Boulder, and even wrote and led a series of fun and creative chants as we marched. Brent’s high-energy optimism is inspiring and contagious to anyone he meets.”
Volunteering and organizing for multiple campaigns as a materials graduate student and then as a postdoctoral researcher at UCSB, in 2019 Brent was inspired by youth climate activist Greta Thunberg and the global climate strike movement to organize the Santa Barbara Climate Strike (www.ClimateStrikeSB.org) on Friday, September 27th. Intentionally planned for the Friday after youth-led climate strikes on September 20th, 2019 — including numerous youth-led events across Santa Barbara county. The Santa Barbara Climate Strike was a general strike for all people — willing and able — to come together and voice their concerns about the climate crisis, to engage with the 30+ partner organizations supporting the strike, and to listen to a diverse slate of community speakers and activists of all ages.
Seeking to continue his advocacy and organizing work full-time, particularly in communities disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis around where he grew up, Brent returned home to Colorado last year and started volunteering with numerous climate and environment advocacy groups. Finding ways to adapt his advocacy and community organizing efforts amidst the Covid-19 pandemic was tough. But he quickly found a welcoming and action-oriented group of activists working online with 350 Colorado — who together organized the group’s first online Climate Lobby Week in March of 2021, and continue to collaborate together today. These efforts span multiple 350 Colorado committees, and include direct advocacy before the Colorado General Assembly, the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC), and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving environmental justice across the state. Whether he is analyzing policy issues under consideration by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission or helping to coordinate a massive climate rally at the capital, Brent always balances a sharp attention to granular details while never losing sight of the bigger picture – a rare and valuable ability.
“Brent is everywhere doing everything. I don’t know how he does it! He is a thoughtful, critical thinker and a supportive, collaborative team member. Whether it is doing a deep dive into COGCC financial assurances rulemaking, giving public testimony, planning rallies with coalitions he enthusiastically getting the work done. The planet is better off because of Brent and all his efforts.”
As the pandemic subsides and in-person events and community gatherings resume, Brent is eagerly working to foster a resurgence in grassroots activism centered on giving voice to disproportionately impacted communities and on “building back greener”. This work includes two grassroots climate action coalition events organized in support of Senate Bill 21-200 that Brent and 350 Colorado helped organize: the “Climate Sit-in: Lunch on the Lawn” of the State Capitol on May 13th, and the “Up with Climate Justice, Down with Greenhouse Gasses” march and rally in Boulder on May 29th. As well as future events concerning environmental justice and the disproportionately impacted communities of Commerce City and north Denver that surround Suncor’s tar sands oil refinery.
Brent worked tirelessly to engage our elected leaders during the 2021 Legislative Session. From compiling bill information and creating factsheets, to meeting with legislators and training volunteers on lobbying skills, Brent’s efforts were crucial in helping Colorado to pass bold climate legislation. When Polis threatened to veto Climate Justice Bill SB 21-200, Brent helped to organize and rally over 200 people to march in Boulder, and even wrote and led a series of fun and creative chants as we marched. Brent’s high-energy optimism is inspiring and contagious to anyone he meets.