Olivia Golden’18, Earthos Institute, Somerville, Massachusetts

 

Hi my name is Olivia Golden. I just graduated from Skidmore in May with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. I have been spending my summer interning with Earthos Institute in Somerville, Massachusetts (just outside of Boston). Earthos is a non-profit that conducts action-research on a method of sustainable development called Bioregional Urbanism. This involves living within ecological limits, while meeting social needs. More specifically, Bioregional Urbanism is a collaborative methodology that helps connect us (on professional, community, and municipal levels) to the stewardship of our bioregions or life regions.

For the past several summers Earthos has hosted Interns from Skidmore through the Career Development Center’s Summer Internship Program. I came across a listing for the Earthos Internship through an email sent out to Environmental Studies and Environmental Science Majors. After submitting a tailored cover letter and resume, I was given the opportunity to interview and was hired shortly after. With the financial support from the Career Development Center and generous donors I can afford to live in close proximity to my office. This has made my commute much easier and given me easy access to the much of the Boston area. I am also using a portion of the funding to pay off student loans, making the funding particularly meaningful to me.

The summer started out with a two-day orientation at the end of May. During orientation, I dove into the principles of Bioregional Urbanism and gained a better understanding of the methodology. This helped set the stage for my summer in bioregional research and opened my mind to a wider array of perspectives on climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.

I am working alongside one other Skidmore Intern (Hayden Vegh) and together we have been conducting research on topics and case studies relevant to Bioregional Urbanism. Most mornings you will find me at my corner desk, surrounded by windows. The glow of sunlight and trees just outside the windows make it feel as if I am in a tree house. This has been the perfect setting for my exploration of environmental issues.

At the beginning of the summer I was given a list of literature to review. I was also encouraged to add my own ideas for case studies to this list. I have read articles and book passages focused on topics, such as virtual water, the Pachamama (Mother Earth) Movement, and collaborative water management along the Nile River. After combing through this content, I summarized each topic into research memorandums (memos) and included my own analysis through a bioregional lens.

This summer the Earthos staff members are working to co-author an introductory book on the Bioregional Urbanism methodology. So far, I have helped make initial edits to the introduction and have created some memos that will be used to complement the book. I am currently working to transform a couple of my other memos into posts for the Earthos Blog page. Shifting between essay, blog, and memo formats has honed my writing skills. Through this process, I have become better at crafting pieces that are most relevant to my intended audience.

Sometimes my supervisor leads Hayden and I in short walks around the Boston Bioregion. As we walk, we take in our surroundings and have discussions about our observations in relation to bioregional urbanism. This allows me to reorient myself. Getting out into the bioregion reminds me why I am doing this work and helps get my creative juices flowing.

Interning with Earthos has been a wonderful opportunity to enhance my communication skills, expand my worldview, and to better understand what it would be like to work in a small non-profit setting. As my summer with Earthos comes to a close, I am gearing up for my next moves. The transition coming out of college has been a bit daunting and scary. However, after my Earthos internship I feel even more confident that I am prepared to take on the “real world”.

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