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2011 Forty Under 40: Jesse Kharbanda

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About me...
Jesse Kharbanda
Executive director
Hoosier Environmental Council
33
Web sites:
Social media:
On my hip:
iPhone
Most-used apps:
Facebook
Gmail
IBJ
New York Times
Indianapolis Star
E&E Daily
Grist
Favorite stuff:
Books, including biographies, political history, environmental science, astronomy and religion; movies, including "My Cousin Vinny" and "Jab We Met"; historical dramas, such as "Beckett, A Man for All Seasons"; TV shows, including "Fareed Zakaria GPS," "60 Minutes," "The Cosby Show" and "Highway to Heaven"; neighborhoods, including the Central Canal area, the War Memorial area, Near Northside and Fountain Square; commentators, including David Brooks, Noam Scheiber, Paul Krugman, Richard Lugar, Bradford Plumer, David Gergen and Andrew Sullivan
 

Jesse Kharbanda reels off a list of the Hoosier Environmental Council’s proudest recent accomplishments: collaboration with the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce on public transit legislation; its work with clean-energy technology companies to promote renewable energy legislation; working with the Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy on a high-speed-rail forum.

“I’d like to think,” he said, “that there’s a clear and compelling identity for HEC, one which is passionate about promoting environmental change but is grounded in good economic and scientific thinking, that is willing to be thoughtful in how it communicates, communicates in a way that’s inviting, that’s empathetic, that is open-minded, that is willing to see things from different points of view, that is willing to see merit in traditional adversaries.

“That ethic, which I’d like to think has permeated our staff as a whole, opens doors and earns trust.”

Kharbanda grew up in St. Louis with a mother who emphasized travel. By the time he was a teenager, he’d already been to 40 states and several continents and had established “a strong emotional bond with nature.”

By college, he knew environmental preservation was his future. His work has taken him from the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago to founding the Indiana Coalition for Renewal Energy and Economic Development, an organization that brought together businesses, public health groups, labor and environmental groups under one tent to promote clean-energy policy, to the Hoosier Environmental Council.

In the past few years, he has managed a statewide campaign to pass renewable-energy legislation, developed the framework and wrote legislative language for an energy and technical-assistance program in the 2007 farm bill and built support in Illinois, Indiana and other states for federal clean-energy legislation.

“I’ve helped bring the HEC in front of audiences that we have not been in front of before or were not given as much regard,” he said.•

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  1. Why not take some time to do some research before traveling to that Indiana town or city, and find the ones that are no smoking either inside, or have a patio? People like yourself are just being selfish, and unnecessarily trying to take away all indoor venues that smokers can enjoy themselves at. Last time I checked, it is still a free country, and businesses do respond to market pressure and will ban smoking, if there's enough demand by customers for it(i.e. Linebacker Lounge in South Bend, and Rack and Helen's in New Haven, IN, outside of Fort Wayne). Indiana law already unnecessarily forced restaurants with a bar area to be no smoking, so why not support those restaurants that were forced to ban smoking against their will? Also, I'm always surprised at the number of bars that chose to ban smoking on their own, in non-ban parts of Indiana I'll sometimes travel into. Whiting, IN(just southeast of Chicago) has at least a few bars that went no smoking on their own accord, and despite no selfish government ban forcing those bars to make that move against their will! I'd much rather have a balance of both smoking and non-smoking bars, rather than a complete bar smoking ban that'll only force more bars to close their doors. And besides IMO, there are much worser things to worry about, than cigarette smoke inside a bar. If you feel a bar is too smoky, then simply walk out and take your business to a different bar!

  2. As other states are realizing the harm in jailing offenders of marijuana...Indiana steps backwards into the script of Reefer Madness. Well...you guys voted for your Gov...up to you to vote him out. Signed, Citizen of Florida...the next state to have medical marijuana.

  3. It's empowering for this niche community to know that they have an advocate on their side in case things go awry. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrst9VXVKfE

  4. Apparently the settlement over Angie's List "bundling" charges hasn't stopped the practice! My membership is up for renewal, and I'm on my third email trying to get a "basic" membership rather than the "bundled" version they're trying to charge me for. Frustrating!!

  5. Well....as a vendor to both of these builders I guess I have the right to comment. Davis closed his doors with integrity.He paid me every penny he owed me. Estridge,STILL owes me thousands and thousands of dollars. The last few years of my life have been spent working 2 jobs, paying off the suppliers I used to work on Estridge jobs and just struggling to survive. Shame on you Paul...and shame on you IBJ! Maybe you should have contacted the hundreds of vendors that Paul stiffed. I'm sure your "rises from the ashes" spin on reporting would have contained true stories of real people who have struggled to find work and pay of their debts (something that Paul didn't even attempt to do).

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