Who We Are

The team at Environment Counts


Rick Higgins’ business career spanned some 40 years. This included eight years in government, 12 years in management consulting and 17 years in the GIS and AM/FM software development business. If that doesn’t add up, the missing time was well spent climbing mountains, paddling rivers and traveling with his wife Christine, his two daughters and friends in remote parts of the globe. EC came about when he was interested in becoming informed about the Copenhagen Conference; along with ex business colleagues and friends he felt the conference sponsored information and communications was poor, and that in general it was difficult for busy people to “know who or what to believe” about the environment and related issues.


Geoff Zeiss has more than 20 years experience as a technologist in the geospatial software industry developing enterprise geospatial IT solutions for the utilities, communications, and public works industries. Currently he is active as a geospatial technology evangelist focusing on the utility sector with a special interest in mapping underground utility infrastructure. Based in Ottawa, Canada, Geoff is a speaker at geospatial and utility events in Europe, North America, South Africa, and Southeast Asia. His background is in science, having received a doctorate in physical chemistry and having worked for several years as a published researcher in theoretical chemistry. His spare time is devoted to pursuing an interest in the scientific observation and measurement of our climate and paleoclimate.


Frank Schwartz has over 30 years of experience throughout Canada, in the USA, and in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. His career as a management consultant involved strategic planning, facilitation, organizational support and development, and economic and socio-economic analysis for clients in the private, not-for-profit, and public sectors. Frank is an avid bicyclist and pedals about Halifax, Canada and further afield, weather permitting. He loves traveling and observing how cultures deal with and adapt to their challenges. He considers himself a scientific skeptic; wanting to look at all reasonable points of view, but dealing with them through science-based lens. His interest in things environmental were abruptly awakened when, about 20 years ago, he saw a poster in an office in Bangladesh which proclaimed that “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” (Interestingly this proverb is of Native American origin.) Having four children, this idea stuck with him and he brings this keen interest to Environment Counts.


Wendy Aritenang lives in Indonesia, he was born in Jakarta in 1954. His career mostly in the government which includes as the Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Secretary General of Ministry of Transport , Director General of Railway, now he serves as Senior Advisor to the Minister of Transport for Environment Affairs as well as at Board member of an airline company. He received a PhD in Composite (Steel and Concrete) Structure in 1989 from University of London UK at Imperial College of Science and Technology. Beside environment and climate change, his interests includes civil engineering, technology and industrial policy, transport, and energy. And during his spare times he does painting.


Mike Clark was Professor Emeritus (Geography and Environment) at the University of Southampton, UK, and was the founder and Director of its GeoData Institute from 1992.

Mike was a founder and Director of EnvironmentCounts.org. Mike died in April, 2014. He made a seminal contribution to the definition and development of our organisation and led our discussions on focus and methods. He was a trenchant critic of any movement away from our focus on primary data. He is and will continue to be remembered and missed by our team.

In his academic career Mike focused on environmental management (specifically water resources and coastal zone management) and on the interactions between society and risk in a context of uncertainty and change (notably climate change). His work over the past decade concentrated on issues of food security (in conjunction with the UN-FAO) and on community and stakeholder involvement in poverty alleviation, water supply and health care in Asia/India (China, Tibet, Assam) and Africa (Libya, Tanzania, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe).