A PASSION TO SAVE THE PLANET

by DOUGLAS KING

Meeting Trammell s. Crow is an experience you will not soon forget. He is a man who is leaving an indelible mark on this earth so that he will never be forgotten. Crow’s latest focus is on inspiring environmental leadership across all sectors and party lines. Part of his path to accomplishing this initiative is founding EarthX (formerly known as Earth Day Texas), which has grown to become the largest annual exposition and forum for showcasing the latest initiatives, discoveries, research, innovations, policies and corporate practices that serve to reshape a more sustainable future.

To provide a list of all Crow has founded and accomplished might take up the entire length of this article. Here is a snapshot: He is a member of the board of directors of the Crow Collection of Asian Art. He serves on the board of directors for ConservAmerica and is a co-founder of Texas Business for Clean Air and Texans for Clean Water. He is also a long-term supporter of the Texas Conservation Alliance, the Nature Conservancy of Texas, Texans for Lawsuit Reform, Log Cabin Republicans and the League of Conservation Voters. Crow’s philanthropy benefits various nonprofit organizations that are active in family planning, education, the environment, community initiatives and political causes.

As if that weren’t enough to keep someone busy, Crow is the president of the Crow Family Foundation, which operates and manages the Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art as well as the Trammell Crow European Sculpture Garden. Crow is the son of Trammell Crow, founder of the Trammell Crow Company, and his wife, Margaret.

Crow was also involved in the development of the Anatole Hotel and later worked at the Dallas Market Center when it expanded by more than 2 million square feet. By 1985, he developed the Dallas Communications Complex, the Studios at Las Colinas, INFOMART and the Dallas/Fort Worth Teleport.

On the eve of this year’s EarthX festival, we talked with Mr. Crow about his passion for the environment, art and more.

Q: You have been involved with the development of space for design, film and art. What drives you to work in these specific fields?

A: I grew up in a house full of art, culture and history. My parents’ travels were my introduction to the world, and cultural literacy was abundant in what we read, talked about and experienced. I believe in Dallas as a highly cultured, international city, deserving of opportunities for risk and experimentation, and I want to support the innovators as much as I can. I want to help these creatives find their growing edges because I know it makes our city more vibrant and evergreen.

Q: What excites you about the Crow Collection of Asian Art?

A: Our decision to transfer the museum to a home with the University of Texas at Dallas gives it two things: access to almost 30,000 students and an infinite future. Additionally, the communities residing in the cities north of Dallas will have the opportunity to enjoy the collections and exhibitions. I hope the museums (the Arts District Location isn’t going anywhere!) will create a sense of belonging for all students but especially to those with Asian American heritage. As one of the families leading the way for arts and culture at UT Dallas, I am thrilled to imagine how a major museum complex will impact student life and student learning.

Q: You are a founder of EarthX. Why is this so special to you?

A: It began at an early age. My parents found it was important to share their passions, particularly with the public. There are many environmental issues, and I thought it was important to highlight them in one large event and possibly find solutions by bringing the right groups of people together. The species of the world are declining at an alarming rate, the coral reefs are disappearing, the vast majority of the species of fish in the ocean are being wiped out, the tropical rain forests are in a rapid downward spiral, just to mention a few of the problems our planet is facing. But there are no significant measures being taken at this time. The EarthX event is strategically poised to have an amplified affect on the nation. Texas in particular is a leader in so many arenas. For example, we are the energy state. There is a solid business reason for us to lead our nation to become the major supplier and supporter of renewable energy. EarthX is the platform to spread this message—a vessel to connect business leaders from around the nation and inspire change within our governments to see this mission through to real change.

Q: What new EarthX initiatives do you have planned?

A: Currently, we have the expo, film festival, hackathon, conferences, banquets, meetings and other sustainable initiatives, and every year we strive to bring more to the event. This year, we expanded our film festival to its zenith, surpassing other festivals in its field with a spotlight on our interactive Virtual Reality zone. Our next step is to collaborate with colossal American institutions specializing in nature film and video, like the Smithsonian and National Geographic, which we welcomed at our 2019 event. We have revived the connection between Texas and Colorado with our support of the ski industry, which is experiencing difficulties due to climate change and snow melt, and all their efforts in the area of sustainability and helping solidify the United States as a leader in climate change initiatives. Another exciting initiative new to this year’s event is our Mexico pavilion. After a successful EarthxMéxico expo in Mexico City, we brought the pavilion to EarthX in Dallas. Complemented by all of the elements mentioned above and the support of the Mexican community, we are optimistic that we will be an international player next year.

Q: Does Texas Business for Clean Air tie in with EarthX in any way, other than the obvious environmental angle?

A: Texas Business for Clean Air was part of the spark in which EarthX was created and grew into what it is today. We organized to oppose plans to build 11 new coal burning plants in East Texas; we took this fight to the state capitol and won. It changed my perspective on the environment. Texas’ place in this battle of climate change left me to wonder what was missing and how I could contribute to the cause. It solidified the need for a leader to take steps toward action. It will take more than political muscle power or corporate funds, but a resurgence in education and advocacy to the public at large. From there I wanted to revitalize the enthusiasm around the annual Earth Day celebration and thus Earth Day Texas (now EarthX) was born.

Q: What do you feel Dallas could be doing better to support design and the arts?

A: We need more edge—more counterculture. Our design programs are strong, but Dallas needs to be a place artists and creators are both attracted to and can stay and grow roots. The components are here: a swiftly changing downtown, lower cost of living when compared to other big cities and room to grow. Artists of all genres need space to work, experiment and encounter others who are trying to push our ways of thinking and being. We need more risk and more support to the citizen artist.

Q: With all you have accomplished to date, is there anything you still hope to accomplish?

A: There is so much work left to be done. So many people we need to reach, so many conversations that need to be had and an urgent need for people to change their way of living. I hope to bring as many people as I can to EarthX, to learn, even if it’s only one thing they may not have known about the environment and apply in real time to their life. The small steps turn into big actions. I would hope these kinds of change would make their way all the way to the top. To inspire people to demand change from their governments, their businesses and every facet of human life. I want to reach as many people as I can.

Q: What is one item you cannot live without?

A: I carry glass globe marbles wherever I go. It’s a way for me to meet people, to start a conversation about EarthX and about my passion to save the planet. It is my life’s work and I couldn’t live without the ability to spread the word about the urgency to change.