Solana Beach entrepreneur shifts his focus to sustainability efforts for water conservation and the creation of solar farms

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Lane Sharman Photo/Jon Clark

By Arthur Lightbourn

Lane Sharman describes himself as a “social entrepreneur.”

Or, more specifically, a management and financial consultant specializing in water conservation and the development of solar farms for harnessing electrical energy throughout the sunny and water-challenged southwestern United States.

His stated personal objective is to advance the mission of making the southwest a preeminent capital for sustainability and renewable energy.

Sharman, a Solana Beach resident and fifth generation Californian, is a local partner in the Spain-based Solarpack Development Corporation and the founder of the Borrego Water Exchange.

He is also the lead organizer of the Sustainability Forum scheduled for March 4, at 6:30 p.m., in Solana Presbyterian Church’s Debin Hall.

March is Sustainability Month in Solana Beach.

The forum is directed at young people from throughout North County, 25 and younger, who are being urged to become active participants in the sustainability movement. Admission is free and a Firewire surfboard will be raffled off.

We interviewed Sharman in the editorial offices of this newspaper in Del Mar.

At 58, Sharman is sandy-haired, blue-eyed, tall and trim — 6 feet, 190 pounds — and keeps in shape surfing, swimming and lifting weights — and eating the good stuff he grows in his organic garden.

“As all of us get older,” he said, “we become a little bit more concerned about this lease on the use of our local home as well as our planetary home; and all of us who are, I think, sensitive and informed students of civilization feel that civilization is at risk right now … based on the collapsing systems that support life.”

Yet, despite the seriousness of the threat, he believes, because of the relative comfort of many in America today, “we almost are anesthetized by that comfort” compared to the concern and willingness of young people in the 1960s who challenged the status quo.

“And it concerns me,” he said, “because what they [young people] are going to take on and what they are taking on is objectionable. It’s an objectionable future in which they are also a party to the complacency by their willingness to either tune-out or unwillingness to tune-in to the opportunity to make a difference.”

Sharman was born in Los Angeles with deep family ties to both Los Angeles and San Diego County’s desert community of Borrego Springs.

His maternal great grandfather, George Jacob Kuhrts, helped launch the Los Angeles Transit Railroad.

His father was a Louisiana-born aviator pioneer who was a pilot with United Air Lines for 36 years until he retired in 1968. His mother, now 86, has been a life-long activist for social justice, women’s rights, the rights of young people, and was the former head of the San Francisco United Nations Association.

His maternal grandparents were pioneers of Borrego Springs in the 1930s.

From an early age, Sharman sensed that water was a long-term concern of his family in Borrego. The area’s total water source comes from one aquifer which, given the current rate of usage, will dry up in 50 years.

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