Climate Collaboration: Advantages for Higher Education Institutions

Hi everyone, I’m Maggie, a current solutions center intern here at Second Nature! 

My interest in the environment and climate change really began during my time as an undergraduate at William & Mary. I ended up taking quite a few philosophy courses my freshman year that got me thinking more about environmental issues, which led me to sign up for environmental science, geology, and physics courses. Climate change was something I barely knew about growing up, but has become the main focus of my academic and professional life since college. 

I love how broad the environmental field is and how it can be applied to so many other fields, since it affects all aspects of our lives. Over the years, I have worked for a few different organizations focused on the environment: an impact-investing group, a sustainable materials innovation organization, a sustainable fashion start-up, and now Second Nature! The main takeaway from my internship at Second Nature and working for other environmental groups is that there are so many great people working in this field. The people I have met at Second Nature are passionate about their work, always looking to learn, and want to create a better world for us all to live in. That gives me a lot of hope.

During my time at Second Nature, I have also gotten to see firsthand how higher education is combating climate change. I think the higher education sector has a unique ability to lead in climate action because of their students. The younger generation tends to care about climate change and schools have the ability to control their own actions. While many schools have started making steps towards climate neutrality, I think higher education could do an even better job of working together. It seems obvious to me that schools near each other (especially in the same city/state) could benefit from each other more. These schools are often operating within the same context, city, and climate–which they should use to their advantage! There can be a lot of power in working together and sharing ideas.

After my summer internship with Second Nature, I’ll be back at Tufts for my last year of graduate school. I’m getting my degree in Urban and Environmental Policy & Planning, which I kind of discovered as an interest of mine over the pandemic. I read about sustainable and biophilic cities for the first time and loved the idea–so I decided to study it in grad school! And that’s what caught my eye about Second Nature…I imagine universities and colleges as mini versions of cities!