PKG Social Impact Internships: Elliott Yarwood (’22)

My name is Elliott Yarwood, I am a rising senior majoring in Materials Science & Engineering. I grew up in Tucson, Arizona and during my time there I worked at Saguaro National Park and it was there that I first encountered all the problems facing our environment up close and personal. From invasive species purposely introduced to feed cattle to global warming I really saw the impacts that humans could have.

WWF Deforestation Fronts Drivers And Responses In A Changing World

This summer I am working with the World Wildlife Fund to help create a guide to help combine deforestation free & greenhouse gas emissions frameworks. This will hopefully help to guide large agricultural industries such as soy, palm, and cattle to have a lower environmental impact  by clearly outlining what they can do. This is in response to the increasing deforestation across many tropical regions of the world which has a massive carbon emissions impact.

One of the largest frustrations I have had this summer is coming to terms with just how much has to go right for there to be real large-scale change in the right direction. In order to drive that change everyone at every level of the supply chain from plantation to consumer has to have a reason to make sacrifices for the sake of helping to save our planet and that seems like an impossible task. Consumers have to be willing to pay more for a more sustainable product. Processors have to put in the extra work to verify that what they are using is actually as sustainable as they think it is and producers have to be willing to only plant on more sustainable land. What really helped me get past this is that currently there is a lack of tools available for anyone to be able to make informed decisions about what product is more sustainable or what land is less environmentally damaging. Even if we may not be able to completely solve all the problems we will at least be pushing in the right direction and allowing people at every level to have the ability to make their own decisions while being informed on the consequences of those decisions.

Throughout the summer at times it has been easy to lose hope and not be able to see a bright future but seeing everyone at the World Wildlife Foundation and countless other similar organizations working has made it possible to see that tomorrow has a chance of being better than today.

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Tags: Climate Change, Social Impact Internships, Social Impact Internships Summer 2021

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