Reflections

November 1, 2019

By Emma Dolce. 2019 Environmental Fellows pose for a selfie in front of the US Capitol after the Congressional Convening on Environmental Justice hosted by the House Committee on Natural Resources. Going into the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA) Annual Retreat, I didn’t really have a good idea of what to expect. When my friends asked me where I was going for the week, I just told them that it was “a conference for environmental groups” because that was what I understood it to be. What I did experience was very different from any conference I had ever been to, and that is in large part by design... more

November 1, 2019

By Cally Xi. Being an Environmental Health Sciences student tends not to be the most cheerful of disciplines. This is especially true when one specializes in environmental quality and sustainability. I can list off the harmful chemicals the everyday person may encounter in air we breathe, food we eat, personal care products we use, and the furniture that we sit on. I used to struggle to keep information to myself because 1) I didn’t want to scare anyone and 2) a lot of the time, there is very little that we as individuals can do to avoid exposure to these toxins. At the time, I feared that change – in the... more

October 10, 2019

By Cyatharine Alias. Neighbor to Neighbor is a multi-issue, grassroots, environmental justice organization based in 4 chapters within Massachusetts: Lynn, Worcester, Holyoke, and Springfield. Neighbor to Neighbor’s base is rooted in the “new majority” – people of color, immigrants, working class, and women in each of these cities. In my short time there, I actively worked on several projects that included public transportation access, displacement gentrification, natural gas pipeline prevention, and police brutality. Though the campaigns for each chapter differed, the chapters are unified in the belief of a deep... more

October 10, 2019

By Laura Grier, MS. My summer as an Environmental Fellow came at the culmination of my graduate education in Environmental Justice and Policy at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability. I had spent two years discussing human destruction of our natural environment, the trend that communities of minority and low-income status are disproportionately burdened with the impacts of this destruction, and our urgent need for strong environmental policy to address related social and ecological concerns. While my education had been solutions-focused, I didn’t realize what it had lacked until... more

October 10, 2019

By Faizah Barlas. October 10, 2019 Faizah Barlas (EGA Fellow) engaging in a discussion about which grant applications will be funded during the Grassroots Fund’s Participatory Grant-making Retreat. This summer, I was tasked with creating two Toolkit Reports each of which will function as a resource for grassroots organizations to understand the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund’s (Grassroots Fund) Guiding Values and provide action items for them to be able to measure their progress. The reports will focus on two of the Grassroots Funds’ core values: Just Transition and Shifting Power. The Grassroots... more

October 10, 2019

By Saachi Das Kuwayama, MS. Saachi Das Kuwayama representing her organization, Appalachian Voices, at a solar energy symposium. While at Appalachian Voices, I learned just how deeply embedded politics are in all types of environmental work.  Meetings on topics from water testing to coal reclamation and pipeline advocacy always included in-depth discussions about the politics of relevant stakeholders and political implications of proposed actions.  For instance, discussions about the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines typically involved conversations about how allies in the General Assembly would react if... more

October 10, 2019

By Karen Goldburg, MS. The Colorado River When I first started working in the nonprofit field, I was intrigued by the concept of grantmaking.  I was amazed that philanthropic groups could afford large sums of money to nonprofits, in order for those organizations to carry out their programmatic efforts.  From this vantage point, it seemed to me that foundations played an incredibly significant role in both enabling and guiding the nonprofit sector toward positive environmental outcomes. I ultimately decided to pursue a graduate degree in order to explore the themes of environmental decision-making and... more

June 25, 2019

By Antionette Fowlkes. The drive to Minneapolis, MN from Ames, IA for my summer environmental justice fellowship with Pillsbury United Communities and the North Minneapolis Environmental Justice Coordinating Council (EJCC) was a peaceful and exciting ride. Often, I pass up the opportunity to take a road trip, but this one was necessary. As I made my transition from an active learning space on the campus of Iowa State University to an applied learning space in North Minneapolis, I asked myself a set of questions. I asked myself (1) how will my time in North Minneapolis make lives better (2) what does success look... more

June 25, 2019

By Stephanie Hung. From the EFP orientation, I was under the impression that my placement site would give me an assignment related to diversity, equity, and inclusion or environmental justice. When I arrived at PSE Healthy Energy, I was tasked with identifying the chemicals in oil and gas wastewater and evaluating the efficacy of existing wastewater treatment technologies to treat those chemicals. I was thrown into a heavily quantitative research project that involved analyzing lists of hundreds of chemicals and reading about multiple advanced and complex technologies. Where was the “justice” component? I had... more

June 20, 2019

By Rebeca Villegas. Alliance for the Great Lakes at the IBM Corporate Service Corps Program kick-off, welcoming the consultants that will be joining the organization to develop a long-term green infrastructure maintenance model and supply chain analysis to advance local work force development in Southeast Chicago Left to right: Kimberly Cham, IBM Consultant; Katrina Jucaban, IBM Consultant; Rebeca Villegas, Clean Water Access Affiliate at Alliance for the Great Lakes; Angela Larsen, Community Planning Director, Alliance for the Great Lakes; Gomathi Rajan, IBM Consultant; Kelem Jordão, IBM Consultant. As a... more