Amory Lovins: Energy Analyst and Environmentalist

The Plowboy Interviews spotlights Amory Lovins, energy Analyst and environmentalist and author of the 1976 essay, "Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken?"

| November/December 1977

Plowboy interviews Amory Lovins, the author of the 1976 essay, "Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken?"

The Plowboy Interview: Amory Lovins, Energy Analyst

Last November, when Friends of the Earth president David Brower nominated 29-year-old Amory Lovins for the Nobel Peace Prize, darn few people outside the energy policy community had ever heard of Lovins before. But that was a year ago. Since then, Amory Lovins's name has appeared repeatedly in a bafflingly diverse array of publications, ranging from FOE's Not Man Apart to The New York Times, CoEvolution Quarterly, and such staid journals as Science and New Scientist. Amory Lovins, in short, is now a widely read and widely admired man.

The sudden rise in Lovins's popularity began shortly after the publication of his landmark essay, "Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken?", in the October 1976 issue of Foreign Affairs ($12 per year — four issues — from 58 E. 68th St., New York, N.Y. 10021). Seldom has a single 10,000-word article been the object of so much controversy . . . and so little apathy. Science magazine heralded the piece as "easily the most comprehensive and technically sophisticated attempt to put together an energy program compatible with the environment". Not Man Apart reprinted the essay last November under a banner that said, "The Most Important Issue We've Ever Published". New Scientist hinted that Lovins's statement would become "the cornerstone of the anti-nuclear, pro-renewable-energy movement". And indeed it is becoming just that.

Amory Lovins — make no mistake — has become a force to be reckoned with in matters of energy policy. But the question remains: Who is Amory Lovins, anyway?

Amory Bloch Lovins was born November 13, 1947 in Washington, D.C. and spent most of his early childhood in Silver Spring, Maryland. After a distinguished high school career (Amory won awards and citations from General Electric, Westinghouse, the Atomic Energy Commission, and the American Nuclear Society), the young Lovins entered Harvard in 1964, where he studied for two years before transferring to Oxford, England.

Upon completing two years of study at Magdalen College, Lovins became a Junior Research Fellow at Merton College (still at Oxford) and began working toward a Ph.D. degree in physics. Then, in 1971 — disenchanted with academic life — he resigned his fellowship, took a Master of Arts degree, and became the British representative for Friends of the Earth . . . a post that Amory has held ever since.

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