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    3 Lessons I’ve Learned as a Green Philly Intern

    For the past three months, I’ve had the absolute pleasure of serving as Green Philly’s editorial intern. It’s been a summer of doing the two things I love most — learning and writing — about sustainability.

    I started identifying as a proud “tree hugger” in elementary school, when I embarked on my vegetarianism (12 years goin’ strong!) But over the years, that passion for environmentalism went through phases of dormancy, taking a backseat in my mind to other interests. It’s easy to lose hope when it comes to issues like climate change and waste and pollution — they just feel so insurmountable.

    But this internship has reignited that fire. Philly is home to countless environmental change-makers, a handful of whom I’ve been fortunate enough to meet. It’s impossible not to be awe-struck by their innovation, determination, and above all, compassion. These are people who care about making this city and planet a better place — so much so that they’ve rolled up their sleeves and done something about it.

    Sustainability isn’t hopeless at all. In fact, it may be one of the most hopeful fields out there. It’s about lamenting problems, yes, but it’s also about finding solutions. And as I’ve seen through my reporting, those solutions work. There’s much more progress to be made, but I’m more inspired than ever to do my part. Thanks to my time at Green Philly, I’ve decided to add a last-minute minor as I enter my senior year of college: Environmental Studies.

    3 Lessons I’ve Learned as a Green Philly Intern

    This won’t be the last time you see my byline on Green Philly — I’ll contribute when I can. But in the meantime, here are some of my biggest takeaways from this summer, which I’ll be sure to remember as I continue to nurse this reignited fire.

    1. Sustainability is ABOUT PEOPLE

    Overbrook Youth Environmental Stewards

    Environmentalism is about serving the earth and protecting it from humanity’s destructive activities. So why help people when people are the problem? Well, because people are the ones who suffer the most from environmental decline and the ones who stand to gain from improving it. They’re also the only ones who can improve it.

    Not to mention, there are so many intersections between green issues and social issues. I learned from writing about Hestonville Rain Garden and Overbrook Environmental Education Center in our roundtable recap that sustainability can also be harnessed to revitalize communities and save lives. We can clean up our rivers, grow more trees, and pick up trash, while also addressing poverty, poor nutrition, and high crime at the same time. Why? Because people and planet are inseparable. And if we show love and care to one, we should do the same to the other.

    2. Harness Your Unique Talents

    Environmentalism is often seen as a scientific field. And of course, that aspect of it is essential. But you don’t have to have a degree in biology or engineering to contribute — in fact, any cause requires a diverse mix of skills and expertise in order to succeed.

    I learned that from muralist Eurhi Jones. She realized that she could use her artistic talents to raise awareness about green issues, and has done so with stunning results. So whether you’re an event planner or a coder (or a writer like me!), there’s always something you can do to tackle the many problems facing our planet — all while being your wonderful self.

    3. We’re All Students

    CJ Sapong

    As I wrote in my piece (watch out for it next week!) about nonprofit Sacred Seeds, CJ Sapong started a nonprofit about urban gardening, even though his background is in professional soccer. Still, he was eager to learn about nutrition, hydroponics, and early childhood education, and still acknowledges he so much more room to grow.

    Just because someone’s graduated from school doesn’t mean the learning process has stopped. It’s never too late to become an expert in something! And we shouldn’t let a lack of knowledge hold us back from opportunities, especially when those opportunities are likely to be invaluable learning experiences.


    This is especially true of sustainability. Expert or not, we need all the help we can get. We need you. So let’s take these lessons, roll up our sleeves, and get to work.

    Brianna Baker

    About Brianna Baker

    Brianna is a senior journalism major Temple University. While studying abroad in Fall 2017, she interned at WHERE Rome magazine, and has also worked for Baltimore STYLE, QWERTY Philly, and student publications like Templar, The Temple News and 14th Street. In addition to writing, she loves re-watching her favorite sitcoms, going to concerts, and doing yoga (when she’s not feeling too lazy).

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