Get to know Our New CivicSpark Fellow - Tallulah Pellissier Lloyd

Tallulah Pellissier Lloyd

Tallulah Pellissier Lloyd

2022-2023 CivicSpark Fellow

I’ve been interested in environmental issues since I knew there were problems to be concerned about. Before that, I simply loved being outside. Growing up in San Francisco, I didn’t realize my access to nature was limited because I still found it all around me. My preschool had crickets, which we fed to mice, which we fed to snakes. In elementary school I spent hours under bushes in local parks, planting roasted sunflower seeds and making houses for spiders. The park’s gardeners definitely hated my friends and me. At that age, I knew nothing about climate change or any of the other numerous ways humans are altering this planet. I just knew the world beyond the city, outside the bounds of what humans can design and control, was fascinating.

When I was 8, my parents decided to live in Costa Rica for a year. So my little sister and I packed up and moved to a tiny town in the cloud forest. Suddenly, I was surrounded by nature. The extent to which humans controlled that place was so much smaller than in San Francisco. When the army ants moved into our house, we moved out. There’s no point in fighting them. We just waited till they ate every living thing in our home (of which there are many) and moved on. A family of bats took over one of our two bathrooms, and a snake inhabited a bedroom. We quickly gave up on removing them. When rainstorms came, classes were canceled because it was too windy to walk to school down the steep mountain paths. Unplug your TV and landline too, because they draw lighting to your house. The undiscovered air plants grew on incomprehensibly large trees, and we all lived underneath, full of awe and sometimes terror, navigating that place the best we could.

Photo of Donner Summit Taken by Tallulah Pellissier Lloyd
Photo Credit: Tallulah Pellissier-Lloyd

It was there that I realized that people didn’t control this planet, not at all. But it wasn’t until moving back to San Francisco, after a chaotic year of scorpions and vines, that I learned about climate change. Humans might not be powerful enough to control the earth, but we can certainly affect it. In middle school, teachers drowned us in terrifying forecasts. We watched documentaries about islands of trash floating in the ocean and terrifying projections of the world when I’ll be middle-aged. Once I learned the places I’d known in Costa Rica, and everywhere, were at risk, I couldn’t think of anything else I’d want to work on in my life. 

In college, I majored in Biology and Economics at Grinnell College to understand environmental issues from multiple angles. I wanted to understand what’s happening, both scientifically to the planet and also determined by human power systems. The pandemic began during the spring of my second year of college, so classes moved online. Back at home in the Oakland, I crammed in as many classes as I could. I wrote an 80-page paper using game theory to examine how politics and global supply chains are causing deforestation in the Amazon.  

Photo of backpackers in a feild with the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the distance
Photo Credit: Tallulah Pellissier-Lloyd

I will be at Sierra Business Council for the next 10 months, and I could not be more excited. My studies on environmental issues have always been academic and abstract, never about concrete action that can be taken. I love Sierra Business Council’s focus on implementation when it comes to climate and energy: measurable increases in energy efficiency, electrification, and renewable energy. I can’t wait to work on projects that will have direct effects on the issues I care about. Over the course of my 11 months at Sierra Business Council, I am working with Amador County to increase energy efficiency and electrify facilities. I am connecting them with programs that make this possible, and help them save money on utility bills as well. Working on projects that directly decrease emissions makes climate change feel less scary and more manageable. So much needs to be done, but actually getting to work feels incredible.

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“So when I was offered a position with Sierra Business Council, I packed everything I owned in my car and drove across the country within a month of accepting the position. The first thing I did when I got here was ski, and that’s when I knew this environment was where I was meant to be. “