Robert and Franziska take Henrietta on her first trip to the coast in Cannon Beach, Oregon

Franziska Sperfeld is an environmental scientist who graduated with a specialization on environmental politics, law, and education.  Now a part of the Department of Participation and Environmental Law with ELAW’s partner organization, Independent Institute for Environmental Concerns (UfU) in Berlin, Franziska is working to establish and enforce participation rights concerning environmental matters.  She is also focusing on energy and climate law in Germany – work that has brought her to the US to team up with ELAW staff, who are working toward a German-style Feed-in-Tariff (FITs) renewable energy law in Oregon.

With her husband, Robert, and one-year old daughter, Henrietta, Franziska is traveling the west coast for six weeks, studying how US citizens can combat climate change beyond energy saving measures at home.  She is especially interested in the participation in rule-making and planning processes with an impact on climate change.  She is spending three weeks of her time in Eugene working directly with ELAW staff and meeting with area activists who organize citizens and public outreach campaigns to approach climate protection initiatives.  “I am impressed how citizen participation in rule-making seems so natural here.  Although it is an informal process, information and involvement of civil society and civic organizations is so comprehensive,” says Franziska.

Not surprisingly, the family is making some time to check out a few of the west coast’s beautiful natural areas.  Although Franziska and Robert lived in Russia for a year, their first sighting of a bear was in the Olympic National Forest only a few days after arriving in the states.  Franziska hopes to visit the Oregon coast, Crater Lake, and the Redwoods before heading down to the Bay area in a couple of weeks to continue her work.

Franziska has obvious energy and enthusiasm for her work.  Her commitment to giving the public a voice – like that of so many ELAW advocates – is inspiring and refreshing.  We are thrilled to have her in the office and are already looking forward to a return visit.

Lauren Ice
Office Manager