By publishing his new book, Los Altos Hills resident and activist Mark Breier hopes to move the citizens of Los Altos – and other towns – to take proper action in resolving problems they encounter in their communities.
He said the advice offered in “The Backyard Activist: 21 Tips to Mobilize Your Community, Your Town, Your World” is meant to move residents from the “perspiration stage” to the “inspiration stage” as they seek solutions.
“Don’t perspire against a bad idea – inspire with a better idea,” Breier said of his self-published book, released in November.
Over the years, Breier said he’s noticed that though area residents make an effort to resolve problems in their communities, they often come up short.
“A lot of energy and angst and human time are thrown into it, and it doesn’t go anywhere,” he said.
Breier’s initial interest in writing the book was sparked by a bad experience at town hall, when he brought forth the issue of neighborhood speeding. With his background as a student activist at Stanford University and marketing experience working at companies such as Amazon and Kraft Foods, Breier said he expected to shine. Instead, he found himself standing in a room full of aloof people.
“They’re waiting for someone to get out in front of the room,” he said. “You need to get a white board, you need to say, ‘All right, let’s go.’ Then do follow-up work with the civic leaders and make it happen. But this doesn’t happen often.”
This isn’t Breier’s first stab at writing a book. He previously published “The 10 Second Internet Manager” and spearheaded campaigns for charter schools and saving leatherback turtles. He has been featured on TV shows such as “Today,” “Good Morning America” and “The Colbert Report.” He’s also been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal and appeared on CNN.
Breier is now working on a campaign to reduce the use of plastics in hopes of saving oceans and the aquatic life at risk.
“They’re saying by 2050, the plastics will outweigh the fish in the ocean, so this is a big deal,” he said.
The first step in his plan is to limit the use of plastic in daily life, especially plastic bags.
“I use reusable cups, and I make sure that my family doesn’t use straws,” Breier said.