Michael Washburn, Senior Policy Advisor

Since completing graduate school in 1998 Michael has worked in leading NGOs, universities, and one global corporation.  As a consultant in the past seven years, he advised major NGOs, foundations, and corporations on issues spanning sustainability, land conservation, research, and advocacy campaigns.  As someone who deeply respects varying points of view and the complexity of environmental and social problems, Michael places a premium on respectful engagement and collaboration.  He has worked on issues including forest certification, public land management, forestry, and of course recycling.

Why I care about recycling

As someone who begins and ends my professional day with an understanding that human decisions affect living ecosystems somewhere in the world, I am keenly aware of how recycling can have an impact.  If we use less raw materials, forests grow longer and store more carbon, less water is required to operate the mine, demand for fossil fuels can be slowed, and we have a chance to dial down the global temperature to prevent additional loss of species and the number of climate refugees. This is not some hypothetical or academic exercise, it is a simple way for us to connect and honor the living systems on which we depend.  Improving recycling is one of the many races against time we must win in order to solve the climate crisis.

Personal passions and interests

As a husband and father of four, I can often be found acting as family travel agent for the next big adventure, surfing in California,  fishing in Alaska, canoeing in the Adirondacks, or chilling in the pool here in Montclair, N.J.  with kids and floaties.


  • Former VP of sustainability at Nestle Waters North America
  • Former senior staff at Forest Stewardship Council and The Wilderness Society
  • Former executive director of Resident’s Committee to Protect the Adirondacks
  • Former faculty member Yale School of Forestry
  • BS and MS from SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, and Ph.D. from Penn State