Twenty years ago, John Costenbader graduated from a small New England college and felt a need to see how the rest of the world lived. Joining the Peace Corps, John served as a forestry volunteer on the edge of the Sahara Desert in Mali’s remote Dogon Plateau region. After he learned to drive a motorcycle and speak Bambara and Dogon, John worked with farmers in 24 villages to develop grafted fruit tree nurseries and improved beekeeping projects. In his two years in “Dogon Country,” John endured bouts with malaria, intestinal parasites, dust storms, and a steady diet of millet and okra, and was captivated by a desire to address the types of environmental and natural resource challenges facing his host village.
On his return from Africa, John earned environmental policy and law degrees, and has since worked to develop solutions to climate mitigation and adaptation, natural resource, and clean energy issues in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Pacific. His career includes work with Climate Focus, the International Union for Conservation Nature’s Environmental Law Centre, and Macro International (now ICF International). John has advised clients in United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Kyoto Protocol negotiations, and has counseled the governments of Colombia, Mexico, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania, Viet Nam, and Zambia on climate and natural resource issues.