1) What was your reaction
when you were one of two (from 4,500 applicants) chosen to embark
on a Greenpeace ship to Iceland?
Utter disbelief at first. Then elation,
excitement, and gratitude. I was fortunate to be selected, but the
certainty of the adventure didnt fully hit me until eight
days later when I boarded the Esperanza in Lorient, France.
2) What impressed you most
during the trip?
Working with Greenpeace is almost too good
to be true. The organization is saturated with interesting people
who are totally dedicated to repairing and preventing international
environmental problems. Also, Iceland is a spectacular place. You
should consider going there when they stop whaling. (For details,
3) How did you come to be
so passionate about environmental causes?
I always cared about animals and loved the
outdoors. It occurred to me that everything I care about depends
on a healthy environment. Friends, family, future generations, good
health, wild animals, clear blue skies, eating, breathing. How can
you not get passionate at that point?
4) How does that translate
I think the two most important environmental
issues facing the Truckee Meadows are dependable water supplies
and frenetic construction. Its easy to forget we live in the
high desert when water always flows from the tap, most new houses
have lawns, and we havent seen the worst of drought in a while.
Its easy too to overlook the impact we have on natural resources
like forests and fossil fuels when houses keep getting bigger and
older commercial buildings are abandoned for huge new superstores.
5) How can one person make
Think about your actions. Do you need to
use three paper towels to dry your hands? Do you need to take a
20-minute shower? Do you need to buy a big truck when you hardly
ever haul anything?
6) How do you balance your
graduate work, environmental crusades, social life?
Luckily, my graduate work is all about environmental
policies, so I can apply my education to my activism. My husband,
David, is an outdoor enthusiast and groundwater contamination specialist
(at DRI and UNR) who knows more about most issues than I do. Nearly
all of my friends are as committed to the environment as they are
to having fun. Theyre the reason I went.
7) Tell us what you like
about playing bridge.
Bridge is hard. Its the ultimate card
game. Every hand is different, and each player employs a slightly
different strategy, so outcomes are unpredictable. Plus, bridge
usually includes a tasty meal and a good bottle of wine with our
8) Youre also a sports
enthusiast. What is your favorite sport and why?
If I had to pick just one, Id say
rock climbing. I love climbing for the challenge, the adrenalin
rush, the camaraderie, the workout, and mostly just for being outside
in the sunshine.
9) What do you enjoy most
The climate and geography, along with the
people Ive met.
10) You moved here from Southern California
10 years ago. Do you miss it?
I do and I dont. I miss my friends
and I miss the beach, but I see my friends pretty regularly, and
now I get to play in the Sierra Nevada, the Truckee River, the Black
Rock Desert, and Lake Tahoe. Keep it wild!
Look for Marnee Bensons feature
in the July/August issue of RENO Magazine.