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October 2014 QUOTE OF THE MONTH: “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” - Native American Proverb
March 13
Save the Bay!
Riley Felt, JMIS, Moraga

April 12
Clif Bar & Company Interview with Ella Rosenbloom
Pallavi Sherikar, Irvington HS, Fremont

March 12
Bicycle Activist
Riley Hope, Joaquin Moraga IS, Moraga

February 12
Professional Profile: Ellen L. Trescott, an Environmental Lawyer
Payton Ellis, Juaquin Moraga IS, Moraga

November 11
Professional Profile: Debra Berliner, Ecology Center
Pallavi Sherikar, Irvington HS, Fremont

October 11
Highlighting Local Professionals: Amanda Seaton
Gloria "Jack" Mejia-Cuellar, Media Academy, Oakland

September 11
Katharine M. Noonan
Stephanie Hang, Oakland HS, Oakland

April 10
An Interview with Michele Perrault, Int'l VP of the Sierra Club
Sydney Liu, Campolindo HS, Moraga

September 09
An Interview with Rebecca Smith
Jessie Kathan, Sophie Barrett, Campolindo HS, UC Santa Cruz,

July 09
An Interview with Alex Brendel
Nicole Cogar, Diablo Valley College, Concord

April 09
Building Green: Harmony at Centerstone
Eveline Hooper, Sycamore Tree Academy , Rancho Cucamonga

February 09
Aiman Arif
Sydney Liu, JM (Joaquin Moraga), Moraga

September 08
Interview with Marvin Salazar--Climate Champion Contest Winner
Aiman Arif, California Virtual Academy, Fremont

January 08
This month with Athena Honore from Save The Bay
Sowmya Murali, Miramonte HS, Orinda
Alaskan Wilderness Struggles to Survive
Stephanie Parriera, Casa Grande HS, Petaluma
Interview #1: Dyani interviews Lauren Selman
Dyani Main, St Mary's College HS, Berkeley

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Professional Profile: Debra Berliner, Ecology Center
By Pallavi Sherikar
Grade 11
Irvington HS
Fremont, CA


Pallavi Sherikar(P): What is your role at the Berkeley Ecology Center?
Debra Berliner (D): I work as the Climate Action Coordinator. In that position, I coordinate, develop and lead trainings and workshops all focused on engaging people in reducing their personal green house gas emissions, and motivating political and social change.

P: How did you become involved in environmental work?
D: In grad school, I studied public health. Through my studies, I became increasingly aware that a healthy society depends on a healthy environment. For example, on the micro level of a household, contaminants like lead paint can impact residents’ health outcomes for a lifetime. On a macro level, an adaption of bike lanes or healthy food choices can have tremendous impacts on public health and environmental safety.

Following grad school, I began working as a Program Associate at Community Toolbox for Children’s Environmental Health. In that role, I worked with communities and organizations across the country started by parents and grandparents whose kids were dealing with environmental health threats such as mercury contamination from coal fired power plants, lead paint in their homes, and Superfund sites polluting their communities. We worked with them to improve air quality, water quality, and food safety and accessibility and to empower them with the technical skills and programmatic skills to run an organization.

P: Why the Berkeley Area?
D: I went to grad school at Cal and quickly fell in love with the area. It’s a place you can easily make your home. I appreciate that Berkeley residents are very engaged and very dynamic. There are always new people to reach out to join in activism. At the same time, Berkeley – and the Bay Area in general -- is not so big that you feel anonymous.

P: What has been the most difficult part of your job?
D: The most difficult part, I would say, is that even though climate change inevitably affects everyone, not everyone realizes it. It may not affect a particular group of people today, but it will eventually. And communicating the urgency of taking action on climate change in a way that mobilizes people but doesn’t paralyze them with fear is always a challenge that I take very seriously. Successfully reaching out to people who don’t realize why they should care about climate change, and finding that right message is always a work in progress.


P: What do you like best about your job?
D: I like that I can go to sleep at night feeling like I am working on issues that are critical. I like that I’m not just crunching numbers or pushing papers for an unknown purpose. I get to be very in touch with the reason that I am working. I also really love that I get to constantly be collaborating with people, either as a participant or as a facilitator.


P:What are some of the credentials necessary for your job? (education etc)
D: My job officially requires a college degree. However, based on the work I do, I know that having experience in event planning, curriculum development, and outreach and promotion as well as some background on climate science and community organizing are all essential.


P:Who does your work impact?
D: Ideally, the program is completely open to anyone who wants to participate. I hold plenty of workshops for youth 2nd grade to college. Most often I work with college students and adults. But we always welcome the participation of students. It is always exciting to go out and offer programs for youth.


P: Any advice for teens going into a “green field”, as they term it?
D: I have two pieces of advice:
Don’t feel like you need to become an expert on everything out there. There are a lot of different issues that the sustainability world encompasses. Pick one or two and really dig in to those -- get your hands dirty! And reach out to and seek the mentorship of activists on that issue.
I really can’t emphasize this next piece enough. Your voice as a young person is incredibly well respected. You have, on average, more power than most adults. So when you decide to stand up and say your part, you get a lot more attention from the media and politicians because it is clear you are coming from a place of passion and deep concern rather than being motivated by some other agenda. So if you choose to be an organizer of any sort, don’t be shy. Speak up -- there are a ton of opportunities out there to take leadership.


 


 


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