The Last Week

Last week was my final week of my internship for the summer. This also means, this is my final blog post of the summer. This summer and internship really flew by. It seemed as though I blinked and July was gone. I couldn’t believe that last week was the final week I’d be making my way into the office, going to meetings, and helping to educate the public on how to be more environmentally conscious. I’ve learned so much from this experience. But the main take away I got from this experience was how to take on projects and make them into my own. Working at a small non-profit , I got to experience taking a leadership role in creating passion projects and make it into my own. I was able to work on two projects: Mobilize U and an anti-straw campaign. With these projects I did research on how these projects would benefit the parties involved.

When it came to the Mobilize U, I created a tool-kit for students at Universities to use in order to educate their peers. This includes tabling at school and giving “swag” to entice people to make a change in their lives to benefit our planet. Not only did I create the tool-kit, I also made a sticker that we plan to send to Universities to give out when students do table. It is well known that young people are the one’s that tend to take charge on a college campus when looking for a change. Earth Day Network originally had this project geared towards faculty educating about being sustainable on campus. However, I pitched to the staff that it would be beneficial to encourage the students to take charge because it is ultimately their campus that they are living on, they should take charge to change and become more sustainable. They loved the idea!

As for the anti-straw campaign. I did research to encourage the restaurants in the area to stop using straws, or only give upon request. This meant me not only researching the benefits, but also going and talking to the companies themselves. I had to tell them the pros and cons of going straw free. This was a very difficult task, however, I’ve never felt so accomplished when I got a restaurant to agree to stop using straws or use biodegradable or just only giving straws upon request. I would often come back to the restaurant to check and see if they were following through and many of them did. It was so exciting to see those restaurants continue to make a difference.

Overall, this internship has been such an amazing experience. I’m so happy the Dickinson was able to give me the opportunity to be across the country for the summer and work on things I am truly interested in and excited to help with. This wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the Dickinson Grant scholarship that they school offers. I’m very happy and excited for my next adventures to take place.

Whistleblowers

This week was very interesting! Monday July 30th is a day seen as National Whistleblowers Day. Earth Day sent me and one other intern to a conference on Capitol Hill to hear what they had to say about whistleblowing today and how it relates to wildlife conservation and environmental justice. A lot of this conference was speaking to people that have blown the whistle on really big issues that have taken place. Legally a lot about the cases were not allowed to be spoken about. However, when it came to wildlife conservation and environmental justice, the speakers spoke to the idea of encouraging more whistleblowers into this field. This was something that should be spoken of more, however, many don’t think to speak out against it because it primarily takes place outside the US. However, the one’s profiting off of this industry is global, and it should not be allowed.

This conference was very eye-opening. I also was able to sit next to two very interesting people. One man I was sitting with is a member of Canadian Parliament. The other is a former attorney for the Department of Justice working specifically with wildlife conservation. I was even able to get the business John Webb, the attorney from the Department of Justice. Both of these men were very interesting and happy to speak of their jobs and loved to hear about my studies as well. Overall, this conference was very captivating.

It’s meetings like these that make me remember how lucky I am to have the opportunity to have this internship. None of this would have been possible without the help of Dickinson’s grant scholarship. Because I was able to apply and was granted a scholarship I am able to be part of such fascinating meetings and conferences as well as build my skills that will help me later in any job I’d like to have later in life. This has truly been a great summer with a great  organization. I’m sad to think that I only have one more week. Well,  until next week, for my last blog post!

The Research Continues

This week, like many other weeks, was filled with research. There have been quite a few projects that have come into our office where we have had to find quite a bit of information and fast. In my opinion, it makes it that much more exciting to do the research when you are under a time crunch. It exhilarating to find that one thing you’ve spent so much time looking for and you’re the one to find it.

We’ve been looking into bans on single-use plastic around the world. A group of us interns even created a map to put on our website in order to show different cities, counties, and countries that have or are working towards bans on plastic bags and plastic straws. It’s been a lot of work. But to be able to go onto the Earth Day’s website and see your work up and have it published with your name is very rewarding.

It really seems as though things are coming to an end here. Many interns are beginning to leave and I’ve only just now realized after this week I only have two more weeks here at my internship. It’s been a great experience. And I’m really excited as we are moving forward and finding ways with our supervisors to bring Earth Day Network with us to school, or in my case, with me abroad. Stay tuned to find out what we have planned for our time ahead and as we make our way back to our college campuses. Until next time.

Research Filled

While here at Earth Day Network, a lot of my work is research oriented, it seemed this week our research sky-rocketed. The President of our organization had the opportunity to write an opinion piece for USA Today about the plastic bans that have been taken place across the globe. Unfortunately, we found out that meant we had to divide up the world into regions and as separate groups we had about 4 hours to research all the plastic bans, and specifically the bans on straws, across the globe. My group focused on North and South America. So, not only did we have to look into countries, but also the different cities within the United States. There were three of us researching this for 4 hours. We divided the west coast, mid-west, and east coast in order to look at plastic bans in the cities in the US. And then we divided provinces of Canada and each chose specific countries of Central and South America. It was a very hectic time, especially because we had about 3 different groups of us dividing the whole world and making sure that we were all formatting the information we had found, in the same way.

It was kind of exciting though. Every once in a while working here we find ourselves in a position where we have to work hard and act fast. When that happens the whole office gets very chaotic and wild, but I absolutely love it! I love the hustle and bustle atmosphere and the idea of having a deadline very soon. We do a lot of research here, but not many of our research projects have deadlines, so when things get crazy with deadlines coming up it automatically becomes very exciting. I really enjoyed it and honestly hope it happens again soon. Well, until next time fellow bloggers!

A Busy Week

I know a little late with this post, and I greatly apologize for that. However, I have a good reason! It was a crazy week in the office with the Fourth of July. Being that everyone tends to use single-use plastic for everything they do on this holiday, we tried to make it speak out against that idea and challenge the public to go plastic-free on the Fourth. I personally was able to take part in this movement by writing a blog post for Earth Day Network in order to help them encourage the public to go plastic free for the day.

Here’s the link to what I wrote: https://www.earthday.org/2018/07/03/refuse-the-straw-and-more-this-summer/

Now we are in the process of continuing this battle against single-use plastics. We are working on looking into countries and cities who have banned single-use plastics, but more specifically straws. It’s a very busy time of year, and banning straws is becoming more and more popular throughout the  world. It’s a very exciting time in the office when another city announces there ban. And there are just more to come. Until next time.

The Hill

This week Earth Day Network sent me to two conferences to take notes, ask questions, and report back to the rest of the team. On Monday I attended a meeting titled: Towards 21st Century Energy Systems In Central & Eastern Europe. This meeting was held by the Atlantic Council located in DC. It was a very cool meeting to be apart of. The first person to speak at this event was the Vice President of the European Unions Energy Department. Here he spoke about what exactly was taking place in Eastern and Central Europe in the energy department. He mostly spoke of the idea that many of these smaller countries like Croatia and Poland are looking to participate more in renewable energy, but so far haven’t been able to find it feasible for their economy at this time. Throughout the conversation Ambassadors came out to speak of their initiatives to find ways to make the energy sources they have, more environmentally friendly, until they are able to afford more renewable energy. However, the most interesting part of this conversation was at the end when the Ambassador-at-Large for Energy Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Hungary spoke of the Energy Security of Eastern and Central Europe. He stated he had a lot of concern for the lack of attention being paid to these smaller countries within the EU. There is a lot of combative relationships between these Eastern and Central countries with Russia and Italy. Yet, the EU doesn’t seem to do much to pay attention to or help these smaller countries who don’t have the economy to fix these situations on their own. He stated that Russia has created a pipeline that goes straight to Turkey, however, Turkey doesn’t have anywhere to store or transport this gas that is being sent to them. So they are being forced to take dangerous measures in order to ensure that they don’t get trapped with this gas they have no where to put.

The second meeting I went to was on Capitol Hill, titled: New Ideas for Strengthening Partnerships at DOE National Labs.

Inside Rayburn Building Office on Capitol Hill

While I thought this was going to be about efforts the DOE National Labs were making for the environment, it was actually more of an event for smaller businesses to pitch their companies to be funded by the National Labs. While it may not have been exactly what I thought it was going to be it was very interesting. However, during this conversation, all I could pay attention to was the amount of plastic being used. Plastic plates, forks, knives, water bottles, and serving utensils. Many of the speakers spoke to the idea of plastic pollution as they sipped out of their plastic water bottles. I came back to my office after the meeting and spoke with my supervisor about it and she said that another intern went to an event on Capitol Hill and said the same thing. This made me think about trying to create a more sustainable Capitol. I have now begun some research to see if it is feasible for the Capitol’s catering to become more sustainable. Being that they hold numerous events a week, it would be a benefit that they become more environmentally friendly. Hopefully, next week I’ll have more to share about the research I find on the Capitol’s sustainability efforts. Until next time.

Unfortunate Silence

Both sadly and happily I am working on a project, currently, that I am unable to speak of at this time. Being that I have worked on this all week, that means I don’t have a whole lot to share on this weeks blog post. All I can really say about the project is that I am very excited and honored that I have been able to work on it with the amazing Earth Day Network staff. They have been so incredible in giving me the resources and support I need in order to complete  the project with great efficiency and I’m very excited to see where it goes.

As for things that I am able to share, I am happy to say next week I will be attending two meetings on Capitol Hill. One of the meetings will be to talk about energy conservation within Eastern Europe. While the second I will be going to the Department of Energy to discuss new energy policy and tactics for the U.S. It’s going to be a very exciting and informative week and I hope to apply it to my project I’ll be working (hint, hint). Unfortunately, that is all I have to share this time, but until next time. I look forward to sharing what I will have learned at these two conferences.

Let The Research Begin

This week was chock-full of research. Currently Earth Day Network is working on the campaign ideas for 2020 being that it will be the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. So this whole week was dedicated to picking two countries and becoming an expert on what they are doing environmentally. I have been looking into Ecuador and Switzerland. These two countries are in very different spheres when it comes to their environmental impact. Ecuador has been known for burning their trash and the government said enough is enough and decided to create a landfill in order for the people to have a slightly better way to dispose of their waste. However, when the citizens heard of the idea to make a landfill, they protested stating that it would be bad for the environment. The government listened to this and decided it wasn’t best to have a landfill, sadly nothing has been changed and they are still burning their trash in order to be rid of their waste. On the other hand, there is Switzerland who have also been burning their trash. However, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Switzerland has found a way to burn their trash into renewable energy! Crazy right! Currently, with Earth Day Network, I am trying to reach out to government officials in Switzerland to get more of a word out about what it is Switzerland is doing with their waste and how to engage the rest of the world into using that system or some sort of version of it that works best for them.

As I continue with this project I hope to learn more about many different countries and I hope to be able to reach out to them in order to get them on board with our Earth Day 2020 campaign. Until next time blog viewers. And just as a final note, I’d like to say how incredibly grateful I am to have been given this opportunity to work in DC for the summer and it is truly thanks to the donors of the grant program at Dickinson that I am able to take part in this. I can’t wait to keep sharing the fun things I’ve been doing!

The First Week

It’s hard to believe that my first week at Earth Day Network is already over. This afternoon, after I got off work, I was scrolling through social media when I saw this image.

Naturally, I laughed to myself for a while as I walked home.

But in all seriousness, I couldn’t be happier working in DC for Earth Day Network. I’ve always thought of myself as someone who was very passionate about helping people and human rights issues, with a side passion for creating an awareness for the environment. However, in doing this internship I’ve already learned a lot and have become almost hyperaware of my actions contributing to climate change and what I can do to change that. I’m extremely excited to say that I have the privilege of helping EDN support the March for the Oceans  this weekend in DC. On Saturday I will be given a press badge to go back stage and will be able to interview speakers like Dr. Sylvia Earle and Philippe Cousteau. I have never been so honored to be even close to these people who have been so impactful in the environmental conservation conversation, but to have the chance to interview them too is a dream come true. I hope to say more about those interviews in my next post, but for now I’m happy to say I’m really excited for the rest of this summer internship at Earth Day Network with such nice and passionate people.