I started my career in a technical field completing a Bachelor of Science in Honours Chemistry with a focus on environmental chemistry and a final year thesis in atmospheric chemistry. After working at an environmental consulting company, I returned to school to obtain a Master of Applied Science in Environmental Engineering. It wasn’t until designing my Master’s thesis project that I started to become more aware of a world outside of academic science and engineering that could potentially be just as impactful as the technological solutions I was hoping to create.
If you had told me in January of 2017 that I’d be traveling to Bonn, Germany later in the year to witness world discussions on climate action, I would not have believed you. You see, at that time, I had yet to travel outside of the United States because I was terrified of flying over the big, blue ocean! Oh I had dreams to travel abroad, but I’d never acted upon them because of my fear.
I have answered this question more times than I can count since September. My colleagues, friends, and family members have been curious as to why someone who studies plants, can suddenly switch to studying fish for a semester.
World renowned climate scientist, Michael E. Mann, recently co-authored a Washington Post article titled, ‘Harvey and Irma should kill any doubt that climate change is real.’ This is a sentiment likely shared amongst those most familiar with the influence of rising sea and air temperatures on extreme weather, or those who are generally just concerned about climate change.
We’ve all heard the phrase that science should be explained on the level of sixth- to eighth-graders to be understandable for a general audience, right? But who has ever tried to explain science to actual sixth- to eighth-graders? I can now proudly say I have, and I’ve lived to tell the story.