Fostering Leaders on Climate: Climate Corps and Sierra Business Council

As a fresh-faced graduate from the University of Montana, I was looking for work with an organization where I could use my knowledge in sustainable business administration and climate change to help local communities. I applied to Climate Corps Bay Area for this reason, and when I learned they had a fellowship opportunity with the Sierra Business Council I was hooked.

Climate Corps Bay Area started as an AmeriCorps program four years ago. The program takes young professionals just entering the workforce and places them in yearlong environmental fellowships with government, businesses, or non-profit organizations. In addition to the skills learned on the job, CCBA also provides opportunities for monthly professional training and leadership development. For their first three years, CCBA focused mainly on mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions within the San Francisco Bay Area. CCBA grew extensively in those three years and decided that they were interested in efforts beyond climate change mitigation planning. They split off from AmeriCorps to focus their work on adaptation and broader climate change issues such as sustainable farming and renewable energy. Since then, CCBA has branched out from the Bay Area to a new satellite location with the Sierra Business Council in Truckee, which is where I come in.

COMM BH Blog CCBA Image 2013 11From the start I’ve been working with another fellow from CCBA, Karen Ritland, on ground-level energy efficiency retrofits with the Sierra Nevada Energy Watch program as well as community-wide gap analyses  and strategic energy resource reports with the Climate Planning program. Seeing the project through from start to finish has been particularly rewarding: meeting with local business owners to audit their lighting use, discussing their concerns, coming up with a solution for them to save money and provide better lighting and energy options, and finally, visiting their business again after the new lighting has been installed to guarantee their satisfaction. The Sierra Business Council has had a meaningful impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the Sierra Nevada, and it is a privilege to be a part of it.

It is hugely important to get young environmentally-focused professionals like myself trained as they enter the workforce. Working for world-class organizations like the Sierra Business Council is a great opportunity to do just that while also helping my community and addressing the threat of climate change. It is my sincere hope that Climate Corps Bay Area will be helping young professionals and organizations like the Sierra Business Council and their communities for years to come.

To learn more about Climate Corps Bay area, check out their website.