As I prepare to leave my internship at Climate Generation, I have been reflecting on this summer and the experiences I gained through being the Education Intern. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was thrilled when I was hired. After taking climate change classes and learning the reality of the issue, I was excited to work in an area that is so important.
Working for Climate Generation further reinforced my belief in the importance of environmental education. If people don’t know habits and practices that are damaging the environment (and by extension themselves and their communities) they aren’t going to make any change. I didn’t take any classes that focused on the environment until I got to college. Once I learned about environmental issues, I was inspired to do something about them. Most of the people I’ve talked to who do not care about climate change simply don’t understand how important ecosystem services are and the magnitude of the issue. Environmental education is so important for the future; the more people learn about how their actions affect the planet, the more they care and make change.
Another valuable part of my internship has been getting a glimpse into the nonprofit world. I’m not sure if I want to go into the nonprofit sector or do more hands on science work after I graduate, but seeing all of the work the passionate people put in at Climate Generation has been great! Being able to listen and observe has taught me much about how a nonprofit functions. It was informative to see how all of the positions come together to achieve Climate Generation’s mission.
My biggest takeaway from this summer is that there is hope! Climate change is such a daunting issue, but now I know there are thousands of people working for change. I was astonished by the amount of organizations in the Twin Cities I came across this summer that I had never heard of. It’s hard to hear bad news about sustainability and climate change, but I’m relieved to know there are so many people working towards solutions to keep our planet healthy. A large part of my internship was helping with the Summer Institute for Climate Change Education. I loved connecting with so many educators and presenters who are working to learn more about climate change and spread that information to others. Each teacher reaches at least one classroom of kids, who go on to talk to their families and friends. It’s easy to be discouraged by the immensity of climate change, but knowing so many people are working for a sustainable future gives me hope.
I am glad knowing Climate Generation is out there working to make a difference, and I look forward to seeing the work Climate Generation does in the future!