In celebration of Earth Day we asked some of our coworkers what inspires their green streak. Here’s what we heard.
VALERIE | HUMAN RESOURCES
My tipping point was during a trip to Laos where we hiked to a remote village and stayed one night…
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Basic necessities, like clean water and septic systems, were all things that most of them had never experienced. They hauled jugs of water back and forth each day from a clean water source a mile away. Cooking happened over an open fire and candles were used after sundown. I realized that if something were to happen to their rice crop, not only would they have nothing to eat but also no source of income. In one night, I was enlightened and realized even basic water pump irrigation systems or renewable energy sources would absolutely change their lives and protect them from unforeseen climate changes. It made me feel incredibly lucky that I grew up where I did and want to do what I can to help to make their lives easier.
JASON | FINANCE
My interest in environmentalism grew gradually…
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I didn’t realize I cared so much during the 4 months I spent hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. I just knew I loved being in nature. I noticed in the months after, when I was digesting my trip and sleeping on the floor of a New York City apartment, that the biggest adventure of my life was on a strip of land 2 feet wide.
MEGAN | UTILITY PARTNERSHIPS
Growing up in northern California, my family spent summers at a cabin in Lake Tahoe…
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The days were filled with hiking and fort building with my brother. Year-round, this early appreciation for the wilderness informed my everyday activities, eventually leading me to study Political Science and Environmental Studies. So for me, there wasn’t a “tipping point” or ah-ha moment. I just never conceived another way to be. It’s always been my dream to help build a future where the wonder of our world’s wilderness will be protected, valued and accessible.
GATES | ORIGINATION & TRADING
I grew up “off-grid” in a communal family arrangement in rural Vermont…
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So naturally, in my teens and early twenties I rebelled and sought materialism. Post-college, after a few years of 80-hour work weeks and New York City life, it felt wrong. So I quit. I took a low-paying job at a back-country lodge on the Appalachian Trail. One morning while baking bread for the guests at 5 a.m and desperately sipping coffee, I looked out the window at an under-cast sky. I saw an ocean of clouds with the mountains peaking through and suddenly understood why my parents chose to raise us the way they did.
LESLIE | MARKETING
I’m an animal lover – and that’s what motivates my environmentalism…
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I want our planet to be a safe home for everything we share it with: kittens, sharks, snakes, you name it. I realized it when I was 15 growing up in Tampa Bay. I had the chance to hand feed a manatee. Her mouth opened horizontally and then vertically. It was amazing. All my life I’d seen commercials and signs warning boaters to slow down. But it was in that moment, with the manatee, that I realized I should do something to help protect them too.
KELLY | UTILITY PARTNERSHIPS
I grew up in Bluemont Virginia…
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It’s in a region of our country where MTR (Mountain Top Removal) is a fact of life. Every day at home I was surrounded by beautiful mountains. I never imagined a world where they would be gone. Then I watched The Last Mountain and realized how close Appalachia is to a dramatic restructuring. I knew we still needed energy but I thought there has got to be other options. While majoring in Environmental Studies at VCU I interned at a biofuel company and quickly learned that other people want the choice too.
LISA | UTILITY PARTNERSHIPS
Sometime in late 2000 I met one of the authors of Cultural Creatives…
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That’s how I learned that there are 50 million people in the US that care about health, environment and other issues that also mattered to me. I’d been working in investment banking and telecom but was ready for something more inspired. Not long after the meeting, I won a position at a green building materials retailer and quickly recognized that the building industry was a transforming market. Together the two experiences opened my eyes to a different, better way to approach business and that I could be part of doing something beyond business as usual.