Reflections

May 21, 2019

By Lorena Cortés Torres. As a part of the Environmental Fellows Program (EFP) I was placed with the non-profit organization Clean Wisconsin and I didn’t know what to expect. I wanted to break out of my comfort zone and get some experience in unfamiliar topics and issues which is why I believed this placement was a good fit. I come from a science background (Bachelor’s in Environmental Science/pursuing a Master’s in Conservation Ecology), and I was now delving into an organization that deals with environmental issues mostly through environmental policy and legal action. Despite some slight anxiety in the couple of... more

May 21, 2019

By Gloria Desanker. When I tell people I’m going to the ‘Big Apple’ or ‘the City That Never Sleeps’, no one thinks ‘Oh, what a great place to see some nature.’ Heck, even I didn’t think that! NYC is not known to many as a metropolis of biodiversity, even though the city has a decent amount of vegetation. This is understandable since there is a greater appreciation and knowledge of many of the landmarks like Times Square or the Empire State Building. Compared to the smaller suburban and somewhat rural places I’ve lived, NYC is no comparison. Unless you’re headed to Central Park, ‘natural’ is not a commonly used... more

March 26, 2019

By Genora Givens. In my time as a student and practitioner of environmental management, I have generally chosen to steer clear of energy and oil and gas conversations. My hesitation to dive deeply into the world of oil and gas stemmed partially from a being engrossed in the water resource world. Often when the fossil fuel industry is discussed it is in the context of atmospheric carbon and climate change, topics that did not pique the interest of my water-centric mind. So when I learned that for my fellowship I would be conducting a research project with Clean Water Action’s Oil and Gas Team, I was unsure what... more

February 4, 2019

By Quenton King. How many different ways can you introduce yourself? There’s “Hi my name is…” No, that’s too eager. “Hello -” No, too formal. “Good morning…” No, they’ve probably heard good morning ten times by the time I’m up there. (Also, what if it’s during that awkward 11:30AM “is it still morning” time frame?) You might think these trivial, but these were just a few of the nervous thoughts that I couldn’t shake in the days leading up to the Environmental Grantmakers Association Retreat in October, where I had the opportunity to speak on the main stage about my experience as a 2018 Environmental Fellow.... more

January 23, 2019

By Sahar Arbab. Image from: (Creative Commons, 2018) I have had many conversations with friends and colleagues about how to mobilize people towards action on climate change and environmental injustices. Often, we are left asking the same question: “Why do some people still not care despite all the evidence?” There is a scientific consensus that climate change is occurring. There are data and maps to prove environmental burdens are disproportionately present in lower-income communities and communities of color. Nonetheless, some people have yet to mobilize, vote, or behave in ways that reflect concern for... more

January 23, 2019

By Helen Gutierrez. Coming from a tropical country, climate change was always a very real and immediate concern for me; but, I was always intimidated by the magnitude of it – where to even begin? Yet, my main concern was never so much with the causes or technicalities of climate change (much to my father’s chagrin, I never wanted to become an engineer), but rather, how people would be impacted by it. Recent events have made it painfully clear that the people most affected by climate impacts also fit into the category of “traditionally” vulnerable or “marginalized” groups, who have limited access to resources.... more

December 20, 2018

By Kayla Hunter. I graduated from one of the top historically black colleges in the nation, also an all-women’s college called Spelman College. At this institution, young women of color are trained, mentored and conditioned to be servant leaders that aspire to change the world in any way they can. Studying the social determinants of health that exist at the intersection of politics, economy and environment I was made aware of large powerful forces that are continuously at work to maintain the status quo. Although very intimidating and scary, Spelman College constantly assured us that we would have what it... more

December 20, 2018

By Tiffany Taulton. As environmentalists, fully persuaded that climate change is real, it can be hard to accept that others doubt this fact or the need to act quickly to stop it. In our minds, the evidence is so overwhelming that the only logical explanation for doubt must be willful ignorance. This apparent denial can leave us feeling frustrated and angry. However, my experience as an intern this summer has taught me to welcome expressions of doubt. Why? Because doubts are a reminder that needs have not been met. When I saw the application to be an Environmental Fellow, I doubted it was for me because my plan... more

July 30, 2018

By Tianna Bruno. As a scholar studying in the field of Geography, I’ve heard time and time again in my graduate student seminars that “Geography matters.”  I mostly took this as the field’s plea to justify its presence in the academy.  Many have written on Geography’s battle for relevance and distinction in academic institutions (Massey 1999).  But, I don’t want to rehash an Intro to Geography seminar, so I will not weigh in on that conversation here.  Instead, I want to talk about where I actually learned that geography matters, which was not in a Eurocentric seminar that retold the glorified stories of... more

June 7, 2018

By Kareem Heshmat. My name is Kareem Heshmat and this summer, I represented Texas Southern University as an Environmental Fellow at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Baltimore, Maryland. Established in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization dedicated to ensuring the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminating race-based discrimination. My research at the NAACP centered around green infrastructure projects that used equitable development principles, including an analysis of green... more