Circuit Rider

Who: Seth Zuckerman


Company: Ecotrust

Age: 37

Has Held Title For: Nearly 3 years

Previous Title: Freelance writer

Degrees: BA in energy studies, Stanford University; MA in energy and resources, UC, Berkeley

In the early 19th century, ministers traveled on horseback throughout the frontier, preaching to settlers. These men of the cloth were called “circuit riders.” Now, on the eve of the 21st century, Seth Zuckerman has brought back that title. Zuckerman works for Ecotrust, a cutting-edge environmental group based in Portland, Oregon. He spreads the word to the coastal communities that he visits.

What circuit do you ride?

I travel from Alaska to California. I explore how people are dealing with the decline of resource industries, such as fishing and logging, and how they’re creating new ways to earn a living. People can learn so much from other people’s innovations, but they often don’t have the resources to connect with one another.

How is the new economy different from the frontier economy?

The term “frontier economy” refers to a time in U.S. history when resources were almost limitless and when the challenge was to harvest them. Today, what used to be limitless has become finite. Our challenge is to conserve what remains and to embrace opportunities that the new economy has to offer.

What does a circuit rider ride in?

Everything from a jetliner to a float plane, from a skiff to a rental car.