This whole planet-saving thing is our job...and our passion
This Earth Day at KLA, we’re not just celebrating a day-long commitment to protecting our planet, but a life-long one.
KLA is unique. Every single one of our team members is in this line of work because we truly care. We’re a group of passionate people whose hearts are in the act of saving the planet — who better to help our local governments address climate change?
To inspire you and help you understand why we do the work that we do, we wanted to share some of our team members’ stories. We asked the KLA team to share their “green spark” — the thing that drove them to pursue a career in sustainability, whether it be a moment, place, idea or event.
“You can track my two decades-long sustainability career back to a Scholastic News article about baby seals being clubbed in the Arctic, which prompted me to map out a plan to partner with polar bears to attack the poachers. Flash forward to today, and I am still driven by a passion to protect the planet for all living species by partnering with local governments to plan for and take action on climate change.”
Kari, Director of Sustainability Services:
“I became a sociology major in college because I was fascinated by how our social structures generate various behaviors and outcomes. But it wasn’t until a senior seminar in Environmental Sociology when everything 'clicked' and I became passionate about environmental justice issues, which quickly evolved into a passion for climate justice. Perhaps it’s part of my Libra nature, but I have always been deeply upset by unfairness and injustice. Climate change and its impacts are symptoms of an underlying illness of injustice and I can’t help but to keep playing whatever role I can in correcting it.”
Maggie, Sustainability Planner:
“As a curious, nature-loving middle schooler, one viewing of An Inconvenient Truth was all it took to convince me that climate change was happening and required action. I learned more about climate change and grew frustrated with the denial and failure to prioritize this global issue. I assumed that if enough people looked at the scientific facts, they would appreciate the magnitude of the crisis and eagerly find ways to combat the problem. It wasn't until college and beyond that I began to understand that garnering support for climate policy comes not from getting people to care about carbon emissions, but getting them to see how climate change impacts the things they already care about. Realizing my own privilege in discovering climate change through a documentary—and not through lived experience—has motivated me to pursue a career in equitable environmental planning centered in effective climate communication.”
Meddy, Sustainability Planner:
“Raising chickens. Growing up in a rural, wooded area provided plenty of opportunities to get outside and explore the Maine forest and I felt connected to nature very early on in my life. It wasn't until I raised my own flock of chickens that I began to see the complex connections between humans and the natural world. I loved taking care of ‘the girls' and learned about agriculture, wildlife and food webs (and even began a vegetarian diet at age 12!). My interests have evolved to include holistic human systems and preparing ourselves for a healthy, resilient future where we can celebrate and honor our earth.”
Therese, Director of Sustainability:
“Just a year into a career as a research chemist, I had an epiphany that just because a problem was hard to solve didn’t make it worth my effort, if the solution wasn’t making peoples’ lives better. Recognizing myself as a systems thinker, I realized that the problems most worth solving are messy, interconnected and human, and require both left-brain and right-brain approaches. My fascination with these 'wicked problems' eventually became a singular commitment to environmental sustainability when I realized that a healthy planet was fundamental to solving any other challenge facing society.”
Talia, Sustainability Planning Manager:
“I’m not sure that can point to a green spark exactly. My version of a green spark is a slow burning flame that’s grown over time, fed by many kinds of kindling (if I had to extend the metaphor). I guess I could say that my interest in this work stems from a belief in the power of strong communities and healthy environments to support the well-being of the people living in them. It probably comes from a combination of curiosity about the communities, rituals and environments (built and natural) that nurtured me growing up, as well as a gravitation toward people who were approaching big-picture problem-solving in a way that centered care for the people and things around them. The steps I took to get here were not so linear, but looking back, I can see how it all fits together!”
Kelly, Communications Intern:
“I’ve always had a deep respect for nature (thanks to plenty of family road trips to National Parks growing up). But, it wasn’t until the end of high school that I began to understand the full severity of climate change. In college, hungry to learn more, I’ve dived into environmental classes and realized even more the threat climate change poses to not just our planet, but humanity. As a young person, I see climate change as the single most urgent and important thing I can focus my efforts on. I don’t see how I could not devote my work to sustainability; without a stable planet and thriving environment, none of us are promised a happy, healthy future.”
Annie, Director of Marketing:
“Fur coats. Let a 7th grader watch a TV show about clubbing baby seals, and suddenly she's posting “Fur is Dead” signs all over the neighborhood, then agitating for recycling bins on the beach, then her license plate reads "SV EARTH" and — boom — her entire career is devoted to protecting the planet. It feels like a hot enough passion to think it was always inside me, but that one show certainly got things started.”
It’s so easy to get caught up in the fast-paced nature of life that we often forget to reflect on our passions and motivations. Earth Day is the perfect time to remember the bigger picture and why we do the work we do.
What's your green spark?
Tell us on Twitter @theKLAteam or LinkedIn