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Pairing a passion for change with a positive future: A climate career social

by Ivy Stuart, The Climate Center

The Climate Center’s Youth Advisory Board (YAB) once again demonstrated their passion and commitment to positive action in response to the climate crisis with the Green Careers Pathway Social. Environmentally-savvy youth from high schools across Sonoma County joined together with peers and panelists to discuss and learn about environmentally-conscious careers.

The Center is structuring a career pathway for the next generation of Sonoma County’s creative thinkers and problem solvers. One of the goals of the program is to encourage young people to gear themselves toward careers that focus on climate, sustainability, or the environment. This social event introduced high school students to young professionals who have successfully blended their passion and skills in a variety of climate-centric careers. Students expanded their thinking about career options and heard stories and gathered information necessary to start them on their path.

Heading the event was YAB member Lily Lynch, a senior at Windsor High School. Panelists from many different fields of work – including everything from resource management to solar installation – shared with students about their respective careers and gave the highlights of what they do and how they got to where they are. “I never thought of banking as a climate career,” said Sloane Tibbens of Piner High School. “But after talking to Kimberly Williams of Redwood Credit Union, I realized how much they are doing. She was so well put together. I thought, ‘I could do that!’”

Other presenters included the head storyteller from TrimTab Media, and communications coordinator for Sonoma Clean Power. Panelists gathered with small groups of students for round table discussions and gave them a rundown, answering the student’s questions. Neal Ramos, from the Sonoma Land Trust, even pulled a map off the wall to get to the heart of the conversation. Everywhere you looked students and young adults were talking, laughing, and eating ice cream. The event was a smashing success, the group was enthralled and everyone walked away feeling happy and hopeful.

The Youth Advisory Board is supported by the ECO2school program staff, Redwood Credit Union provides sponsorship, the Sonoma Land Trust donated the space, and Straus Creamery provided ice cream. A very special thank you to all the young professionals who volunteered time to support our youth: Chaz Mathis of First Response Solar, Neal Ramon of Sonoma Land Trust, Nina Turner and Kevin Anderson of The Climate Center, Claudia Sisomphou of Sonoma Clean Power, Kimberly Williams of Redwood Credit Union, Micha Hedges of Trim Tab Media, Julia Walker of W-Trans, Allison Jenks from Climate Core/ Strategic Energy Innovations, and Tony Passatino of Sonoma Ecology Center.