Julian Powers, known as “Mr. Global Warming” to his friends, died Tuesday. He was 88.
The retired Spokane engineer worked to educate local residents about the atmospheric buildup of greenhouse gases and why they should be concerned about warmer winters, scantier snowpacks and melting polar ice. He talked at Earth Day fairs and college campuses, sounding the alarm long before most Americans knew what global warming was.
“He had a vision so far ahead of cultural consciousness,” Grant Pfeiffer, eastern regional director for the Washington Department of Ecology, said in a 2012 interview.
Powers received the Ecology Department’s Environmental Excellence Award that year. The award also recognized his work on aquifer protection, air quality and bike transportation.
Powers first became aware of global warming in the 1970s when reading “Hothouse Earth” by Howard A. Wilcox, an environmental scientist who was one of Powers’ supervisors in the U.S. Navy. The book made a lasting impression on him.
“My biggest single concern is for future generations,” Powers said in a 2012 interview. “We’re at an advanced stage in environmental degradation. Our grandchildren will inherit an Earth that isn’t nearly as hospitable to Homo sapiens.”
Arrangements are pending at Heritage Funeral Home in Spokane.
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