Our Stories

Tom Kahan, founder/chief catalyst of Time To Get Smarter

Although I was born in California, I’ve always felt I was not only American  but a citizen of the world. It’s hard not to when your parents have both lived in Hungary, Belgium and the U.S., your mother speaks three languages and your father spoke seven.

It’s also hard not to become a nature lover when you’ve had wonderful times traveling and camping all over California with your father as a youngster. Even though we had many differences about the environment and politics, his turning me into a nature lover trumps any disagreements we had about those topics.  Thanks Dad.

It’s also hard not to have your love of nature grow even stronger when you’ve also spent many wonderful years mushroom hunting in the forests with your step-father. Thanks Remo.

Finally, I’m the Jewish son of a Holocaust survivor,  a history major in college and afterwards a high school American and world history teacher.  Not only was I raised with a focus on justice and how one should treat others in this life but I also grew up with a keen awareness, which I hope to have also imparted to my students, that millions of people can die because of insane ideas completely detached from reality. Thanks Mom.

Leanne Grossman, advisor to Time To Get Smarter

Even as a kid, I loved nature, and to protect it, I wrote my first letter to Congress at age 12 to protest development on San Gregorio Mountain in southern California. I failed to stop it, but have been working on related issues ever since. I am a member of the board of directors of Crude Accountability and I feel fortunate to have met and partnered with environmental and women’s rights activists in many countries through my work.

I previously served on the boards of Global Greengrants Fund and Girl Child Network Worldwide. I was the deputy director of ISAR, an NGO that supported environmental activists throughout the post-Soviet Union, and the communications director at the Global Fund for Women for several years. Back in the day, I earned a BA in criminology (and am now a certified criminal), and an MA in international policy studies. When not making trouble, I enjoy writing, playing West African drums, gardening and finding adventure in wild places.