Edward R. (TED) Leach
Climate change will be the focus of this talk as former Monadnock Ledger publisher Ted Leach addresses this timely topic from an environmental, political and journalistic perspective.
How does a newspaper publisher land in the middle of the climate change discussion?
Almost three decades ago, one of the largest solar panels in New England was located in downtown Peterborough, New Hampshire, hanging on the back of the Monadnock Ledger Building.
After acquiring the building, the old Peterborough Baptist Church, one of Ted's first tasks was to attack fixed costs.
"It had nothing to do with climate change," says Leach
, "it was all about dollars.
Installing the solar panel and a large wood stove saw the Ledger's fuel oil usage plummet from 1780 gallons per year to 76 gallons.
As Leach Newspapers, Inc.
continued to expand with newspapers in South Carolina and Nantucket Island, so did the appearance of more environmentally related stories.
State, regional and national awards for environmental reporting began pouring into the newspaper family, and Ted's "MO" as a desktop environmentalist was given shape.
When not in the editor's chair, Ted
squeezed in five years at the Harvard Extension School
followed a curriculum focused on environmental management.
When he formed the New England Marionette Opera in Peterborough in 1992, he launched a unique program called Environmental Echo.
Each performance began with a short multi-media moment during which the audience was informed that a portion of all ticket sales was being directed to two environmental organizations, Defenders of Wildlife in Washington, D.C. and the Harris Center for Conservation Education
In 2000 Leach
was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives
and was the author of the amendment that became the first four-pollutant bill in the nation, a recognition that carbon dioxide emissions need to be brought under control.
He was Chairman of the Clean Air subcommittee and he was the founder of the bipartisan Environmental Caucus.
In 2003 he was asked to become co-chair of The Carbon Coalition, New Hampshire Citizens for a responsible energy policy.
As for that solar panel on the back of the Ledger Building, it was destroyed when the building burned on New Year's Day, 1999.
It has been replaced by a large solar hot water system on Ted's house in Hancock.
"This decision had both a financial and climate component," says Ted