A: Everything is green these days—Hulk included. Do you think there's a risk of people getting "green fatigue"?
EN: I don't think so. You're always going to have cynics and people who are extremely apathetic. But ultimately, in the balance, I don't think things are going in that direction. Things are trending toward much more focus and engagement on these issues.
A: What's one lifestyle change we can all make?
EN: Among the many things we do badly, one of the worst culprits is actually disposable plastic bags, which a lot of countries are starting to recognize how intensely negative they are. Americans use a staggering 100 billion plastic bags a year.
It's horrifying how much plastic being dissolved in the eco system, especially into the ocean. Tiny, tiny pieces of plastic are actually more plentiful than zooplankton. Fish are actually eating as much plastic as they are eating biomass, and that has a lot to do with heavy elements and toxins gathering up the food chain.
My contribution to the plastic bag problem is a tiny drop in the bucket, but I'm trying to be aware and not use so many plastic bags. There are lots of little things that you can do. And it's true, if we were all doing these things, in the aggregate, they would make a difference.
A: You're a city guy—you live in New York and L.A. How'd you get interested in the outdoors and the environment?
EN: Throughout my life, as early as I can remember, my dad was always taking us into wonderful natural places, whether it was the White Mountains in New Hampshire or the Grand Canyon or hiking in Montana. My father was a professional environmentalist. He was the head of public policy at the Wilderness Society and founded the Grand Canyon Trust and he helped found the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. So being out in nature was very much a part of who he and my mom were.
One of my absolute passions in life is scuba diving. When I was 16 or 17, my father, brother, and I took a resort diving course together in the Caribbean—and I got totally hooked. My father ended up being a senior advisor for the Nature Conservancy's Asia Pacific region, running a reef program down there. Even there, dive operations and dive resorts have started to realize that they have to run sustainable businesses. They have to protect the resource that brings people to them.