What does a resilient world look like to you?
To quote Aldo Leopold, “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” While written decades ago during a very different time on Earth, Leopold’s words guide my thinking about what a resilient world looks like - A world that has human-designed systems that support the needs of both people and the planet. A world with systems that are centered on equity. A world with systems that are powered by renewable energy, have zero waste, and build strength and resilience from diversity. As the people lucky enough to be alive during this pivotal time in history, we have the opportunity to reimagine those systems to ensure that we are resilient in the face of a changing planet.
What advice do you have for anyone interested in entering the climate workforce?
I have had incredible opportunities to play a number of different roles in the climate solutions space, and I tend to come back to this overarching question...What types of problems do I want to spend my time solving? There are so many ways we can work on climate, so I encourage everyone to find the problems they want to solve, the problems that spark joy, curiosity, and collaboration and the solutions that have meaningful, long-lasting impacts. As my friend, Jamie Alexander, put it in her TEDx talk, no matter where we work, every job is a climate job now. So, what does that mean for each of us? It means that we all have roles to play in implementing climate solutions! From solar installers to marketers to educators, we can all help support the transformations underway across all sectors to ensure that both people and the planet thrive together.
If you were a sustainable technology or item, which one would you be and why?
I would be a kelp forest, a fabulous nature-based solution. I recently moved to Southeast Alaska, home to lots of healthy kelp forests, and I would love to be part of a kelp forest providing critical habitat for amazing ocean creatures and sequestering carbon in the process.
More on Elizabeth:
Elizabeth’s interdisciplinary background spans academia, business, and the nonprofit sector. Before joining SEI, Elizabeth led Drawdown Learn at Project Drawdown where she produced Climate Solutions 101, directed sustainability efforts at the California Academy of Sciences, and designed the science content for video games at LeapFrog. Elizabeth frequently speaks about climate solutions and was invited to create the LinkedIn Learning class, “An Employee’s Guide to Sustainability” which has engaged tens of thousands of learners from around the world. An experienced environmental educator, Elizabeth worked as a naturalist in Glacier National Park, taught middle and high school science in Louisiana, developed K-12 professional development for teachers, and designed a science communication course for graduate students.
Elizabeth holds joint PhDs in Environment & Resources and Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison where she studied how video games can encourage systems thinking about complex environmental topics.
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The SEI Team
Environmental education and workforce development experts share stories from the field