Tom Cotter (environmentalist)

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Tom Cotter
Born Thomas Cotter
Robins AFB, Warner Robins, GA
United States
Occupation Manager, Social Entrepreneur, Activist, Consultant
Nationality United States
Subject Theology, Creation Care, Stewardship, Sustainability, Simplicity, Solar, Social Media for Good, Electric Vehicles, Public Speaking
Notable awards Eagle Scout
Spouse Christi Gaither (1996-present)
Children 3

Tom Cotter (born 1972) is an American conservationist, social entrepreneur, renewable energy advocate, and ordained evangelical minister living in Clovis, California.


Early life and inspiration[edit]

Tom Cotter grew up in Napa Valley, California, United States. A significant influence was the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).[1] In 1988, Cotter was awarded the title of Eagle Scout.

Professional career[edit]

In 1997, he was ordained clergy at First Christian Church in Napa, California. He served as a pastor at Clovis Christian Church in Clovis, California from 1996 to 2006.

From 2006 to 2015 he worked in the U.S. Photovoltaic Industry, starting at ReGrid Power, which was later acquired by Real Goods Solar, and later Sunrun.

He is currently Regional Sales Manager and Strategic Account Manager at Renew Financial for the California counties of Fresno, Madera, Tulare, and Kings.

He is a public speaker,[2][3][4][5][6][7] writer[8] and blogger addressing environmental topics such as solar, alternative fuels, electric cars, sustainability, stewardship and creation care. Cotter is frequently consulted by various groups and the media about these topics.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17]

Personal life[edit]

Cotter resides in Clovis, California with his wife, Christi Gaither, and their three children.[citation needed] The family has a solar power and solar thermal system on their home. Mr. Cotter drives a 100% electric Nissan Leaf. Mrs. Cotter drives an alternative fuel VW Jetta TDI. The Cotter family uses vermiposting to turn kitchen scraps, junk mail and paper packing materials into nutrient rich soil for their garden and yard.[citation needed]

Cotter is a part of the California Climate Ride, a 320-mile bicycle benefit ride for bicycle advocacy and renewable energy down the coast of California from Eureka, California to San Francisco, California.

Sustainability education and advocacy[edit]

Tom Cotter on PBS TV being interviewed about the future of solar.
Tom Cotter on PBS TV being interviewed about the future of solar.

In 2007, Cotter and Socient CEO, Victor Ramayrat, co-founded Green Fresno,[18] a free online community and information portal (in 2012 it was relaunched as Green Central Valley).

Cotter is the organizer and curator of the annual Fresno Solar Tour[19] part of the American Solar Energy Society's National Solar Tour.

Cotter has taught as adjunct professor[20] of Theological Ethics and the Environment at Fresno Pacific University.

Cotter is an Organizer of Fresno Earth Day, purposed to inspire and mobilize individuals and organizations to demonstrate their commitment to environmental protection and sustainability.

Cotter is founder and coordinator of Fresno Green Drinks, an informal monthly gathering of environmental field professionals, educators, public servants, activists, and people wanting to learn and inspire each other towards broader ecological stewardship in the Fresno metro area. As of May, 2012, Green Drinks was active in 642 cities worldwide.

Cotter is the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors at the International Green Industry Hall of Fame,[21] which promotes ecological sustainability worldwide through recognizing individuals and organizations for outstanding achievement(s) in the Green Industry and provides an educational forum for the international public.

In 2012, Cotter became a Climate Leader in the Climate Leadership Corps with the Climate Reality Project.

Board of directors[edit]

Cotter currently serves on the board of directors for three non-profits.


Cotter is a producer of the short documentary film, Forest Man. The film chronicles the story of Jadav Payeng, an Indian man who single handedly planted nearly 1,400 acres of forest to save his island, Majuli, India.[22] The film is directed by William D. McMaster of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The film was released in the summer, 2013.


In 2010, Cotter worked with California's No on Prop 23 Campaign.[citation needed] This proposition would have suspended AB 32, a law enacted in 2006 legally referred to as the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Prop 23 was defeated by California voters during the statewide election by a 23% margin.[23][24]

In 2012, Cotter joined the board of directors for Restore Hetch Hetchy.

In 2012, Cotter worked to get the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to expand net metering in California.[citation needed]

In 2012, Cotter worked towards the passing of Proposition 39 - California Clean Energy Jobs Act.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "RHH Board Member Profile". Restore Hetch Hetchy. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  2. ^ "Quality of Life - Alternative Energy". Terry Phillips. KVPR Valley Public Radio. Retrieved 2008-12-09. 
  3. ^ "San Joaquin Spotlight on Green Fresno". Sevag Tateosian. KSFR Full Spectrum Radio, California State University Fresno. Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  4. ^ "The Future of Solar Power in the Central Valley". David Hosley. PBS TV & Great Valley Center. Retrieved 2010-04-10. 
  5. ^ "Fresno neighborhood goes green with solar". Christine Park. ABC30 TV. Retrieved 2010-04-23. 
  6. ^ "Sierra SIR Echo" (PDF). Sons In Retirement. Retrieved 2008-12-09. 
  7. ^ "Earth Day Celebration at Fresno State". California State University, Fresno. Henry Madden Library. Retrieved 2008-12-09. 
  8. ^ "Tom Cotter: We can all do our part". Tom Cotter. Fresno Bee. Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  9. ^ "Study: San Joaquin Valley Has Potential for 100,000 Local Clean Energy Jobs". BreAnda Northcutt. California Business Alliance for a Green Economy. Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  10. ^ "Central Valley on its way to being the green tech capital". Amanda H. Miller. Central Valley Business Times. Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  11. ^ "California valley hires a ton of solar workers". Amanda H. Miller. Clean Energy Authority. Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  12. ^ "San Joaquin Valley To See Cleantech Boom". Susan DeFreitas. Earth Techling. Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  13. ^ "Solar Energy Resource Guide". Claudia Wentworth. Northern California Solar Energy Association. Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  14. ^ "State Green Jobs Initiatives Need Federal Legislation". Richard Matthews. Green Conduct. Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  15. ^ "Fresno Leaders Highlight Economic Benefits of Solar Net Metering to CA's Central Valley". Vote Solar. Retrieved 2012-03-22. 
  16. ^ "Solar industry flourishes in the Central Valley". Juanita Stevenson. ABC News. Retrieved 2012-04-10. 
  17. ^ "Fresno Earth Day 2012". Bill McEwen. 940 KYNO Radio. Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  18. ^ "Green Fresno". Victor Ramayrat. Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  19. ^ "Fresno Solar Tour". Tom Cotter. Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  20. ^ "What's the Big Deal with Earth Day?". Jessica Mast. Community Alliance. Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  21. ^ "International Green Industry Hall of Fame Board Members". Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  22. ^ Manimugdha, Sharma. "The man who made a forest". The Times of India. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  23. ^ Summary of Ballot Measure Voting, California Secretary of State
  24. ^ County Summary Status for the November 2, 2010, Statewide General Election, California secretary of state, 3 November 2010