Birds of a Feather

Posted on Monday, Jul 03, 2017

As I enter my senior year as an Environmental Studies major, I can say that the topic of environmental justice is more than just a field of study or career path: it’s a passion I have that extends to many parts of my life. Coming to D.C and working in an office of renewable energy professionals, I was excited to connect with others who shared my interests. In just a few weeks, I have already learned so much about the value of solidarity and friendship between those who are determined to tackle some of our planet’s biggest issues.
I’ve found it in my mentor and co-workers; people who have followed paths that fascinate and inspire me. Hearing stories about those who have traveled all over the world to work on climate talks or international development excites me for what is possible. I have also found it in my fellow interns, who come from different fields of study but still found themselves drawn to the hopefulness of renewable energy. Coming from different states, it has been interesting to compare the different cultures we grew up in while also realizing the commonalities of our generation.
On the day of the U.S withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, I found it in strangers as I joined a gathering outside the White House. People of all ages and backgrounds joined together, ignited by our hope in the future and our desire to leave a better world behind. Activists, doctors, parents, students, professors and even a few children spoke, while others held signs discussing their views about science and humanity. It was the moment I realized how much being in D.C right now really meant to me.
Talking with my mentor/supervisor at lunch one day, I asked why she chose to live in D.C. She talked about how she wanted to be in a place where people felt invested in impacting the world around them and wanted to be active participants in world events. In less than a month I have come to understood that’s what drew me here as well: when you’re following your passions, you’ll always be in good company.

Olivia Wolford
U.S. Department of Energy - Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
Washington, D.C. | summer 2017