Engagement and Communications Lead, Carbon Leadership Forum
Meghan Byrne works to support collaboration and communication across the CLF Community and CLF Regional Hubs.
by Meghan Byrne
Climate change can be incredibly overwhelming and disheartening; between daily news, large scientific reports, and arguments with your climate-denying family members, it’s difficult to remain optimistic.
After graduating from Franklin & Marshall College with a joint degree in Environmental Studies and Public Policy I began the Masters of Environmental Studies program at the University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in Policy. During my time at Penn, some of the most valuable experiences came from working with and learning from local communities. My research at Penn explored the intersection of lead exposure, gentrification, and environmental justice. Through this work, I was fortunate enough to work with communities, students, and organizations that taught me about the realities of environmental racism and the failures of policies meant to protect the health of communities and their environment.
Working closely with EJ communities in Philadelphia taught me the importance of communities: listening to and learning from impacted communities is needed to create solutions based on lived experiences. These solutions and ideas may look different from traditional environmentalist approaches to climate change mitigation but can have the opportunity to be the most impactful. Incorporating perspectives from different communities, backgrounds, and organizations can create an invaluable opportunity for discourse and learning that is critical to climate change mitigation solutions.
These perspectives fueled my interest in how to work with, learn from, and leverage communities within climate change mitigation. From local communities to global organizations, there are always opportunities to draw on experiences and fuel effective solutions. That’s why the work that CLF is doing to encourage collaboration and engaging networks in the embodied carbon space is pertinent to producing effective solutions. I am hopeful that the work CLF is doing to further embodied carbon research, policy, and tools will continue to chip away at the current climate change impacts.
Despite the weight of the climate crisis, the work CLF does to further embodied carbon research and collective action creates a feeling of optimism for a more sustainable future.