As an engineering major, most of my work experience has involved spreadsheets, learning different types of software, and overall just doing work in front of a computer. As I started to realize that I would like to use my major to solve environmental issues, I recognized that having some experience in climate policy would allow me to obtain a broader sense of the problems I will have to solve in the future. In theory, this would facilitate the creation of solutions in addition to providing me with an edge over other engineers who solely have a solid background in math and science. Moreover, I have also grown a liking for participating in opportunities which push me out of my comfort zone. These factors are what motivated me to apply for this opportunity in the first place. When looking back at my college experiences, it was the opportunities that I was most uncomfortable in that created the biggest rewards. Not only were these fantastic learning opportunities, but realizing I was able to excel in something I initially did not think was suited for me provides a great confidence boost. Ideally, I want every opportunity to be like this. At the beginning of Our Climate’s fellowship, I desired to obtain a better grasp of of climate policy and  how policy is created.  I began to attending working group meetings that were created after the passing of the CLCPA. These meetings allowed me to see the types of solutions being considered for New York and potentially other locations to reach net zero emissions. Moreover, I observed talks on upcoming policy.  I wanted to actively utilize this information and have it ingrained in my mind. Moreover, I knew that with this information, and the resources provided by Our Climate, I was in a better position than most New Yorkers to help bring about the changes in environmental policy many of us want to see. Thus, I decided to host a lobby meeting with the Assembly member from my district. It was a bit intimidating both organizing the event and even in the beginning of the meeting itself. However, after realizing I was well prepared for this encounter through my preparation beforehand, I relaxed and the meeting went very smoothly. Ultimately, my Assembly member agreed to support the bill we discussed and was open to discussing it further in the future.  This event truly opened my eyes to just how easy it is for anyone to influence change in their community if they wish to do so. Moreover, I now have the experience and resources necessary to enable others to do the same. This can also be useful for any organizations I may work with in the future. Currently, in addition to creating small projects like this blog post and posts on Instagram, I am starting to place a greater emphasis on improving my facilitation and organization skills through the latter half of this fellowship. With the support of my Field Organizer Jenille Scott, I recently hosted an hour long conversation with Ugbaad Kosar, Deputy Director of Carbon 180 and am currently developing a plan to reach out to public schools to educate students and teachers about Our Climate’s mission. Considering I never imagined doing this type of work just a short while ago, these activities are a bit nerve wracking, but this only means it’ll be easier for me to work on similar challenges in the future. While I ironically applied for this fellowship to step away from the computer-centric engineering student lifestyle, this fellowship has been filled with novel experiences which have improved me holistically. If I am ever in the position to implement significant solutions to environmental issues through my career, my experiences at Our Climate will undoubtedly play a role in what I ultimately decide.   By: Safir  Thajudheen Safir (say-fur) Thajudheen is a senior majoring in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering with a minor in Environmental Studies at NYU Tandon. Born and raised in New York, he has held executive board positions for both environmental and food waste related clubs on campus, interned for Wavelength Lighting, a startup focused on helping NYC companies comply with newly instated energy policies, and conducted research on alternative battery design.
Published On: March 5th, 2021 / Categories: Blog /