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Seattle City (spot)Light: Crystal Raymond

Climate Change Strategic Advisor Crystal Raymond has the passion and knowledge needed to achieve a clean and affordable energy future.

It’s no secret that Climate Change Strategic Advisor Crystal Raymond has a great love of the outdoors. If her places of residence don’t give it away (she’s lived in Vermont and Utah along with Washington), you might guess it by her educational background, which includes a PhD and Master of Science in Ecosystem Ecology from the University of Washington and a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resource Management from the University of California, Berkeley.

Her expertise has been recognized by the NW Energy Coalition with the 4 under Forty award—which honors clean energy leaders who model the passion and knowledge needed to achieve a clean and affordable energy future. With Earth Day celebrated across the globe this past weekend, we couldn’t think of a more fitting person to feature in this week’s (spot)Light.

Crystal ice climbing in Ouray, Colorado

“I did a lot of camping in my childhood. My dad was an old-school recreation type who liked to hunt and fish. I grew up in rural Vermont in a town with about 750 people. We always had people on our land hunting for deer and fishing. That helped to develop my love for the outdoors, the natural environment, and a deep appreciation for natural resources.”

“I live in Mount Baker. It has good access to parks and Lake Washington. I do A LOT of outdoor recreational activities. Back country skiing is my favorite, but I also enjoy mountaineering, ice climbing, rock climbing. I go all over the Cascades—North Cascades, Snoqualmie Pass, Eastern Washington. I have a nine-month baby who my husband and I are now just taking out hiking. We’ve already taken him back country skiing. I’m excited to share my love of the outdoors with him and introduce him to all these fun sports.”

“I always wanted to do environmental science of some sort. I thought about doing it more on the political advocacy side, but when I got to college, I was more interested in the science and was drawn to the analysis of it all. When I did advocacy work, I always wanted to know more about the science behind the policies, so I moved from politics and law to a more science-based approach.”

“My job is to make sure the utility is prepared for the impacts of climate change—to understand how our operations and infrastructure might be affected. That includes warmer temperatures, but also more frequent natural hazards like wildfires and landslides as well as changes in snow pack and stream flow for our dams. It’s understanding how all the different parts of the utility can be affected and helping to come up with ways that we can prepare for that.”

“One of the ways we’re doing this is by supporting climate research and developing an adaption plan. I am forming a steering committee to help implement the plan. I’m building a team to get more input and engagement and make sure that the adaption plan is doing its job of helping other people in the utility get prepared for climate change.”

“My PhD advisor at the University of Washington gave me a strong sense of the importance of science in guiding what we do in that it can be neutral and unbiased—that having good science as a basis for what we do is important for the decisions we make.”

Thank you, Crystal, for the important work you do for our environment and for making such an impact at City Light these past four years!