Reflections

November 15, 2019

By Aaron Neal, MS. Aaron serving a government employee at the Sustainability Action Agenda picnic where we thanked, honored, and planned with stakeholders, government employees, and Detroit community for support in releasing Detroit’s first sustainability plan. Working in Non-Profits and doing community engaged work I was not initially excited about the prospect of working for the government around issues of sustainability. What vested interests could the City of Detroit have in sustainability? In Racial Equity? In Social Justice? At the nexus of these three topics? The reality is that this work does happen in... more

November 12, 2019

By Donny Hearn III. At the Solidago Foundation in Northampton, Massachusetts, a national funder with a longstanding history of early funding, idea incubating and grassroots grantmaking, I was allowed to research within their climate and environmental justice portfolio. Coming from Michigan and rooted in an academic background of evolutionary anthropology and public health, I was able to apply unique lenses to a three-pronged exploratory process in the space of climate philanthropy. I honed on the network of philanthropy. I found myself exploring the nexus of health and climate through interviews of national... more

November 12, 2019

By A.J. Hudson, MA. How Did I Apply my Skills to Community Organizing Work? The Environmental Fellows Program (EFP) was really special for me. I had a deeply gratifying experience where I effectively got to return home and apply the skills I gained in grad school to the communities closest to my heart. Through my placement at UPROSE, a community organization in Sunset Park Brooklyn, I did Climate Justice work in low-income communities across Brooklyn and New York and build coalitions for people of color on the same blocks where I had lived and worked for years. I got to fight for my neighborhood, and for... more

November 12, 2019

By Kamari Durley. In early August, nearing the conclusion of my summer fellowship experience with the Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative (VEJC), I scheduled the last of my two informational interviews with Quan Williams. Quan is currently the Civic Engagement Coordinator at the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy however she also has a Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy and was an integral figure to the conception and early start-up phase of the VEJC. For these reasons, I thought she would be the perfect person to talk to as I was trying to grapple with exactly what my various... more

November 5, 2019

By Rachel Correll. It’s Monday morning. The coffee pot is empty. Staff of the Huron River Watershed Council (HRWC) are filing into the South Conference room. It’s my first staff meeting and chance to meet everyone. Going into this internship, I felt a severe case of imposter syndrome. I had only ever known academia, spending the last 21 years of my life in school, college, and now a doctoral program. This was truly going to be a whole new experience. In the first afternoon I was assigned three tasks to complete this summer: find ways to incorporate climate change into watershed management, redo all the GIS maps... more

November 1, 2019

By Cassandra Osei, MPH. My fellowship experience in New York City pushed me as a leader and challenged my understanding of what it means to fight for environmental justice. New York City is a bustling metropolis that houses brilliant activists in the environmental justice movement. I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to network with some of these activists and contribute to the movement with my own experience. While working with NorthLight Foundation, I conducted collaborative research with the New School to help inform the advisory group and Foundation’s consideration for a new potential area of support at the... more

November 1, 2019

By Jeffrey Wong. This summer, among the verdant hills of Vermont, I had the pleasure to work with the incredible team at the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC), a nonprofit dedicated to advancing climate mitigation and adaptation action through trainings and capacity building for industry, governments, and local communities in the US and abroad. I joined the organization at a pivotal transition as leadership and staff were reorienting their strategy to embody greater equity in their work. I learned that not only has ISC dramatically diversified its staffing from one person of color to almost half of... more

November 1, 2019

By John Nguyen, MS. This summer, I worked with the William Penn Foundation (WPF) who hosted and funded my summer fellowship. While there, I collaborated with their environmental grantmaking team to tackle stormwater runoff issues in Philadelphia and the greater Delaware River Watershed. Part of my summer activities included meeting our grantees along the Delaware River where WPF had funded projects for stream restoration and community action. On one site visit, I joined a community paddle event for World Fish Migration Day organized by WPF grantees and discussed the environmental advocacy work that was... more

November 1, 2019

By Delia Mayor, MS. Having lived in the DC area before, I was familiar with the common expression “draining the swamp.” Although not necessarily rooted in the factual ecological history of the area, which according to Carl Abbott (2017) in his piece Draining the swamp: A guide for outsiders and career politicians, more closely resembled a hilly landscape with beautiful vistas, this expression is customarily used to describe lobbyists and corrupt politicians involved in the federal political process. When I searched the address of Clean Water Action/Clean Water Fund’s office where I would be working, I noticed it... more

November 1, 2019

By Ta-wei Lin, MPH. EGA Retreat field excursion through the beautiful Napa redwoods. Driving through Napa Valley, it’s difficult not to be mesmerized by the seemingly endless vineyard rows surrounded by the lush Vaca and Mayacamas mountain ranges. As I gazed upon the unique agricultural landscape, I couldn’t help but wonder how differently this place must have looked hundreds of years ago. What was life like in this valley prior to the European colonization in the early 19th century? We received a glimpse of this during the kickoff to the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA) Fall Retreat. The Welcome... more