In Spotlights

Rebecca Boyles, Customer Care and Billing Operations Manager, MCE

Rebecca likes humans, and would like to see them survive the climate crisis. She works in renewable energy and tries to make an impact locally, when she’s not enjoying the East Bay Regional Parks with her dogs and young daughter. Rebecca is with Marin Clean Energy (MCE), California’s first Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program, and is passionate about MCE’s mission: “address climate change by reducing energy related greenhouse gas emissions…while providing local economic and workforce benefits.”

Rebecca heads up billing operations and customer care, is chair of MCE’s Green Team, and co-chairs a Northern CA multi-CCA committee. She works together with PG&E on a range of projects and sometimes weighs in on customer impacts in regulatory proceedings. Rebecca joined WEN’s board in June of this year.

What is the educational and career path that led to your current career?

Sometimes I feel like I’ve lived nine lives — I’ve been a waitress, a housecleaner, and a massage therapist, among other careers. In my twenties I traveled internationally as much as I could, which is one of the best educational experiences anyone can have. I went back to school (the first in my family) to earn a BA in International Relations at age 30, to work in international development. However, a friend’s random comment changed my trajectory: he mentioned that international development (no matter how necessary) would not matter much in the face of impending climate disaster. So I earned an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School. I joined MCE because of its emphasis on local renewables and workforce benefits.

What environmental issues are of most concern to you?

Climate disaster is the most concerning to me. Every day we see new climate impacts — the recent ice melt in Greenland that wasn’t supposed to happen until 2070; the 85% rise in fires in the Brazilian Amazon since last year; and the beginning of the sixth mass extinction, just to name a few. Our world is radically changing before our eyes, and humans are not known to be adept at dealing with large-scale instability. While I began working in sustainability to try to prevent climate calamity, the time has come to focus on resilience in the face of widespread ecological changes.

What do you think are some challenges and opportunities facing women in the environmental movement today?

I think that for many women in the Bay Area it’s hard enough to get by, let alone think about larger societal problems. Parts per million of CO2 don’t matter when you’re having trouble paying rent. The hierarchy of needs dictates in large part the energy some women have to devote to environmental issues.

I’ve been heartened by the rise of environmental justice advocacy, and it’s helping to make environmentalism more inclusive. However, local environmental problems are still worst in poorer areas – my neighborhood in Richmond is in the shadow of a refinery and has bad air quality because of all the coal trains going to port. We’re making progress, but there is certainly ample opportunity for more environmental equity.

Want to connect with Rebecca? Connect with her on LinkedIn.