Net-Zero Hero: George Cofer

January 11, 2016


Austin is green and we all want to keep it that way! As a community, we’re committed to reaching the target of Net-Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which will ensure a safe, healthy, vibrant Austin for many years to come. Here’s the story of how one person can make a difference.

Meet George Cofer, Executive Director of the Hill Country Conservancy. George contributes to Austin’s Net-Zero goal in several ways, including being a bike commuter. George no longer owns a car and uses his bike as his primary source of transportation. We spoke with George on how he did it, what his toughest challenges have been, and what advice he has for others looking to live Net-Zero. Read more below.

What inspired you to take action?

I was inspired by my mother Carolyn FitzGerald Chapman, and Shudde Fath. They are both amazingly generous mentors and friends, and they set me on the “nature path” from my birth. And what keeps me going whenever that “path” feels difficult are the cold, starry Hill Country nights, the sounds of clear and clean running springs, streams and creeks, and so many friends and colleagues working so hard towards Net-Zero. I am blessed to know so many Heroes!

How did you do it?

Well, I didn’t do anything. It truly takes a village! It’s the little things that count when multiplied by 1.5 million Austin area residents, or 9 billion Earth residents. It’s doing small things like setting the thermostat a few degrees cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer, taking shorter showers, not wasting potable water on lawns, using reusable shopping bags – if we all do them collectively, that will get us to Net-Zero. I do all those things – I also walk and bike more, and drive less.

Have there been any unexpected benefits to biking?

I never expected to enjoy biking on cold rainy days – I must be sick!

What’s been the toughest part to taking up biking?

They make gear for cold, rainy days. They don’t make gear for biking in August in Austin.

What advice do you have for others?

Just Do It! Commit. Don’t get hung up on outcomes – if one is on the right path, then the outcomes for the environment and the community will be good. Respect all species. Humans are such a tiny, tiny part of the ecosystem, and yet we’re the ones screwing it up badly. Last but certainly not least, be mindful every minute.

Make your impact

Eliminating half of your car trips through biking, walking,
or public transit can reduce your personal carbon footprint by over 30%. Every action counts!