A journey: From ‘Tree Freaks’ to researching greenhouse emissions in transportation

Photo: Allison Piazzoni at graduation.

by Allison Piazzoni, Intern with The Climate Center

All too quickly, my internship with The Climate Center has come to a close. During the five months I spent with the Center, I made lasting connections and learned valuable skills that I will take with me into my professional life. With the guidance of Executive Director Ann Hancock, I conducted research for the Center’s Solutions Advisory Panel regarding transportation emissions in California. I designed and implemented a research project from start to finish. Ann Hancock and I developed the idea of interviewing transportation professionals on the issues of current transportation practices, speed-and-scale solutions to reduce emissions, and how to achieve emission reduction. From there, I decided to follow up the research survey with a literature review. I conducted hours of research using scientific journals and reports to synthesize the responses. Overall, the research paper produced viable solutions and an urgent call to action for the transportation sector.

As my bachelor’s degree came to a close, I reflected on the decisions I made that lead me down a path of environmentalism. I believe that my life was largely shaped by the time I spent growing up in the outdoors. When I was eleven, my friend has just learned how to code HTML and taught me how to make websites. After that, I created a website called “Tree Freaks” and I filled it with pages about saving the environment. I think the website has since been deleted, but it was something I researched and read about from a young age. Then, at thirteen, my Girl Scout Troop worked to design a community service project. I came up with the idea of Project Can Man, a recycling campaign at my middle school. We bought recycling cans and hand designed every single one with Can Man or Bottle Babe as the mascot and icon for what to recycle. The project evolved into a permanent recycling program at the school that continues today. Looking back, it comes as no surprise that I pursued a career and life centered around the natural sciences and environmentalism.

When I first met Executive Director Ann Hancock, she asked me what I wanted people to remember about me when I was gone. After pondering for a few seconds, I responded with something like, “I want people to remember that I loved what I did, that I loved the people in my life, and that I did something with my life that truly made a difference.” I believe that I have learned valuable skills to help me achieve that goal during my internship with The Climate Center. I am eager to follow my passions and pursue a career that combines my love for wildlife, ecology, environmental activism and the outdoors.

How to significantly reduce GHG emissions in the transportation sector in California by Allison Piazzoni, June 2019 (pdf)

Allison Piazzoni is a graduate of Sonoma State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies, Conservation & Restoration and a minor in Biology.

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