Saving the Environment Remotely: By Meriam Elawad

This semester, I am interning at Environment America, as an events coordinator. I want to be an environmental lawyer, and what attracted me to this internship position with Environment America was that after sitting in a classroom for 5 semesters, I was finally going to get the chance to do something hands on and apply all that I have learned so far. I found this internship originally on Handshake, and then learned more about it on their website. (https://environmentamerica.org/feature/ame/more-nature) Between handshake and their website you will find everything you need to know. There are several campaigns happening at any given moment, and all of their hiring dates are different.

Environment America has so many representatives, legislatures, and firms that they work closely with, along with different coalitions. These are all people, companies and organizations that believe in the importance of a green earth. This aligns great with not only my career aspirations, but also my moral compass. I know in life you must work with people who hold different beliefs than you, but when it comes to things like climate change, it is so nice to know everyone you work with is on the same page.

In the More Nature branch, I am an events coordinator for the Boreal Forest Campaign, designed to maintain the integrity of the Boreal forest. This campaign is largely aimed Procter & Gamble, better known as P&G. Procter and Gamble is an American company that sources largely from virgin tree fibers from the Boreal Forest in a very unsustainable manner. The first event I had planned happened on March 3rd, at 6:30pm central time, via Zoom. The event was called “Craft & Chat: Birds of the Boreal Origami Night”. For this event, I communicated with several bird specialists and ecologists who taught me about some of the billions of birds that call the Boreal home, and how deforestation would threaten so many of those species into extinction. For my event, I will be talking about those birds, then teaching the participants how to make those birds in origami form! I created this event with the intention of spreading awareness in a unique way. While learning about the birds, and making our origami versions, I will tell the audience about P&G, and how important it is that we get them to be more sustainable, because they are putting all these awesome birds at risk.

The event went over so well, I was asked to do it again! Part two of this event is happening this Thursday, April 15th at 6:30pm. You can RSVP at this link! https://environmentamerica.webaction.org/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=1108

My favorite part of being an intern for Environment America would be when I am given a task at the weekly meetings. My supervisor will give me a very generic task, and it will be up to me to make an understanding of the task and see it through until it comes to life. This is the first time in my life where I am being given the ability to have free reign over my projects and assignments, without having a grade tied to it. There is no rubric that I must follow. I can do whatever I want on a project, so long as it fits the vision and intention of our campaign and our organization. My least favorite part would have to be how I do not get paid. I mentioned this in papers 2 and 3, but it is still something that bothers me. At times I lose motivation because I know I am not being compensated for all the work that I am doing. The experience of the whole thing has been great so far, but I could also be getting experience while also getting paid. It is also discouraging at times having to sacrifice hours at my paying jobs, in order to do the same amount of work that I would be getting paid to do at those other jobs. There are times in which I find myself hard at work, then remember that I must act my wage, and start to slow down my efforts.

What keeps me going is how I get to work for an organization that maintains the same values and ethics that I have. The environment should be protected and conserved for the sake of nature. Often times when talking about conservation, the environment gets its value from what it can offer for people, rather for what it is and its wonder as a whole. I think remembering that nature is something that essence brings peace to our civilization is a good thing to remember too. Not to mention all the creatures that we are responsible for taking care of, since we as people have wreaked havoc on their homes due to industrialization. think the most memorable part of this internship was when my old manager, gave me assignments on a random Monday, and then quit that Wednesday! From what I hear though, he left on good terms. The next memorable thing would have to be my first event that I thought of and got to bring into fruition! Everyone that I work with is amazing, but my supervisor Len has been one of the most remarkable people I have ever met. She is tasked with so much and oversees the entirety of the More Nature campaign which has several sub campaigns within it. All this, yet she is the most joyful person I work with.

I never would have thought that my environmental internship would be online, but I think it was the best online environmental internship a girl could ask for. I feel really prepared to do this type of work in person!


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