Who: Jeff Goodell, Award-Winning Author, Energy and Environment Expert and Contributing Editor to Rolling Stone Magazine
Q. How long have you been in Saratoga Springs?
A. Sixteen years.
Q. How has the city changed during that time?
A. I like the progress in Saratoga and the changes that I’ve seen here. It’s become more prosperous, but it feels healthy and alive. I love the mix of nature and culture: I can go skiing at Gore, hiking in the Adirondacks and get on a train and go to Manhattan. I do wish there was more live music, besides SPAC.
Q. You grew up in California. How have you adapted to the change of seasons in the Northeast?
A. I always think of myself as a westerner, so I can’t figure out how I’ve spent the last 30 years on the east coast – but for work, at Rolling Stone, it’s the place to be. I do miss the west, but I travel so much so I get there a lot. And I like cold weather, too. I’m a freaky California guy. It still feels exotic to me: Oh, look, there’s snow!
Q. You spent some time with President Barack Obama in 2015 for a Rolling Stone interview piece. What can you say about the former president that people may not know?
A. That time with Obama seems very surreal now, even though it was only a couple of years ago. I spent three days with him in Alaska and we spent a lot of time together. The thing about Obama that struck me was his essential humanness. He was so unpretentious in how he carried his power, the way he treated me and the way he treated people around him. There was no sense of: I’m the President and you’re not and so what I have to say is more important than what you have to say. That may sound like a such a simple thing and a cliché, but it was very powerful and true.
I spent a couple of hours talking with him about climate change and it was just amazing the degree to which he was engaged in the conversation – not checking his watch, not looking for aids to help him. He’s a very intellectually serious person.
Q. What are you working on now?
A. I literally just finished a story about the new EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler for Rolling Stone, it’ll be out in a couple of weeks. And I am planning a trip to Antarctica in January, where I’ll be for two months with British Antarctic Survey scientists who are looking at the melting ice sheets there.