Byron Kennard

The Confounded Environmentalist

Formerly a professional do-gooder working virtually 24/7, Byron Kennard is at present semi-retired. Today he does good only now and then, whenever the spirit moves him. Kennard lives in Washington, DC, a city where there is great need for his services but almost no demand.

Like Mohandas Gandhi, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mother Teresa, Kennard is a former community organizer. Working for the Conservation Foundation in the late 1960s, he travelled the country forming local citizen groups to fight environmental pollution and helped lay the groundwork for Earth Day in 1970. For this work, Kennard was awarded the Leadership Medal of the United Nations Environment Program.

In the decades that followed, Kennard sparked a raft of environmental initiatives – organizing rallies and demonstrations, forming committees and coalitions, and founding several non-profit organizations. An inveterate scribbler, Kennard drafted countless screeds, published numerous jeremiads, sounded at least a dozen stirring calls to arms, and issued way too many manifestos.

A longtime “small is beautiful,” devotee, Kennard founded the Center for Small Business and the Environment in 1998 to promote the idea that small green entrepreneurial businesses are the key to environmental protection and thus, as well, the key to combating climate change. Kennard served as CSBE’s Executive Director until 2012 when he resigned to begin the spiritual quest that has brought him to his present eminence.

When he isn't out in the world doing good, Kennard can usually be found at home with his nose stuck in a history book, striving to discover how good was achieved in the past. The results of this quest have been a mixed bag. Consequently, Kennard's advice to others who aim to do good in the world is to "proceed with caution."

Today Byron Kennard is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. His blogs have appeared in Huff Post Green, Huff Post Comedy, and Huff Post Gay Voices. He is also a presence on YouTube where he’s posted a series of comedy videos on environmental topics (Don’t Sweat Global Warming).

An “out” gay man, Byron Kennard has been partnered for almost fifty-two years with Glenn Pinder, with whom he’s shared joint passions for interior design, musical theater, giving absolutely fabulous parties, and reading history, especially biographies of dead Queens. In 2014, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of their coming together, Byron Kennard and Glenn Pinder were married in the District of Columbia.

The newlyweds are now planning to move to Florida where they’re going to buy a condo in one of the high rise buildings located directly on the ocean’s shore. There they’ll spend their twilight years sitting on the balcony sipping gin-and-tonics while watching the sea level rise.