Meet the interns: Hey, Teresa!

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WEA loves working with interns, and Teresa is one of them! Teresa, a smart, driven, and passionate woman ready to tackle some of the issues WEA cares about the most worked as our Programs + Operations intern. Thanks to Teresa’s support WEA has done even more work to empower women entrepreneurs and treat the environment with the love it needs. We are lucky to work with so many talented interns like Teresa.

Read more about her interests and amazing work below!

Name: Teresa Yu

If you had a superpower, what would it be and why? 
My practical superpower would be to know all the languages of the world and be a master of communication! This wouldn’t be limited to spoken languages either – I’d love to know all forms of language. My functional/silly superpower would be telekinesis because I would just be able to move things with my mind!

Why did you want to intern with WEA?
Amidst the most well-traveled year of my life so far, as intellectually fulfilling and exciting as it was, I yearned for an opportunity to bridge what I’d learned from my travels to my life in Berkeley, whilst still in school. I wanted to work in a place that would ground me once I came back to Berkeley. I believe that the solutions concerning environmental sustainability and poverty are already imbedded within the communities themselves, particularly within the women who lead the communities. WEA’s interdisciplinary understanding of the feminization of poverty and approach to engaging women entrepreneurs who are already working at the grassroots level embodied my desire to uplift women, while simultaneously work towards an environmentally just future.

Tell us about a woman who inspires you.
Besides my mom and all other moms in the world, a woman who inspires me is Michelle Obama. She remained true to her self after graduating from Princeton and Harvard and returned to her native Chicago, held several public sector positions that focused on the betterment of her community, and held the First Lady position with such grace and sophistication.

Why women and why the environment? 
As Katsi Cook once said, “Women are the first environment”. I remember as a child first learning that every living person once came from a woman, and I was absolutely blown away at the sheer strength and power that women held. A feminist to my core, learning the many ways in which women are disproportionately affected by poverty and climate change because of unequal access to opportunities and choices shaped my commitment to working at the intersection of the environment and marginalized communities. Women are inextricably linked to the environment, and it is impossible to separate the two when working towards environmental and social justice.

What does your life outside WEA look like? 
I’m currently in my last year of undergrad at UC Berkeley, studying Environmental Economics and Policy with minors in Global Poverty and Practice and Public Policy. When I’m not studying in Berkeley, I’m active in the Student Environmental Resource Center and other environmental initiatives on campus. I also love food, and love experimenting different ways it can be used as a platform for social activism.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the Bay Area?
The Bay Area has the best weather in the world so I try to enjoy time outside as much as possible. I started rock climbing a few months ago and that’s been mentally and physically invigorating!

What are you currently reading/watching/listening to? 
I’m currently reading Eat Up! by Ruby Tandoh, a delightful read about food and its intersection with politics, art, sexuality, gender, culture, and even class. I’m currently watching Dear White People, a hilarious and powerful show about identity politics in a predominantly white fictional Ivy League school and Annihilation, a sci-fi film about a super bad-ass team of women that embark on a super dark mission! I’m currently listening to (and loving) The Internet.

Meet the interns: Hi, Anna!

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We’re back with another outstanding intern to introduce you to, Anna! Anna joined WEA as our Communications + Outreach intern and we’re so lucky to have worked with interns, like Anna who are so passionate about empowering other women as well as creating a more sustainable environmental future. This social media savvy woman helped us keep our community up to date and informed on all our work while effectively communicating the passion we all feel for women and the environment. Thanks, Anna!

Read more about the amazing Anna below and what she’s up to!

Name: Anna Pedersen
Hometown: San Luis Obispo, CA
If you had a superpower, it would be (and why):
It would definitely have to be breathing underwater. If would open the door to exploring a whole new realm without depending on any equipment and I could spend hours underwater doing research, photography, or just hanging with the sea creatures.

Why did you want to intern with WEA?

Initially I was searching for an organization to work with alongside my minor, Global Poverty and Practice, and when I came across WEA it seemed too perfect a fit. I love that WEAs work is centered around both women and environmental concerns and the unique approach that WEA has to this area really aligned with my perspectives on development work. There’s no stepping in to ‘help’ women, its working as a support to enable women to feel empowered and able to make the changes they want to see, which is really beautiful.  

 

Tell us about a woman who inspires you.
I am always inspired by Melati and Isabel Wijsen who are two sisters from Bali that started their own non-profit against plastic pollution and worked/protested/fought to ban plastic bags in Bali. They started their organization when they were 10 and 12 because they saw an issue and wanted to address it. They did everything in their power to make the changes they were so passionate about, from beach cleanups-to a hunger strike. Eventually, their voices were recognized by the Governor of Bali, as well as other countries and now they are spreading their voices globally to ban plastic bags. Their story always inspires me, their passion, their dedication, their bravery and the way they are making things happen!
Why women and why the environment?
Because women are amazing! And the environment needs a lot of love right now. The way in which women are marginalized in so many different ways around the world is something that needs to be the center of focus and change if we want to create a healthy, sustainable and equitable planet for life to thrive on. The way things have been going for the last bit of time have taken us in a direction that won’t last long unless we create a paradigm shift and I believe women and the environment both need to be at the center of that shift in moving forward.
 

What does your life outside WEA look like?

I’m currently on a boat out in the Pacific right now, working as a Marine Naturalist for a children’s conservation program on board, so its life at sea for a little while. While I was with WEA though, I was studying Conservation and Environmental Biology at UC Berkeley, with a minor in Global Poverty and Practice. I was wrapping up my last year and spending a lot of time camping, going on adventures to the ocean in Santa Cruz or Marin, and going to different events around the Bay Area.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the Bay Area?

Drive up Panoramic way and just sit and watch the whole Bay Area. It puts so much of what’s happening in this space into perspective and helps me reset. It’s also such a magical view up there. 

 

What are you currently reading / watching / listening to?

I don’t watch too much TV and haven’t had a lot of time to read (sadly) but I’ve been listening to a lot of Parov Stelar, Glass Animals and Flume lately. And when I’m feeling nostalgic, I’ve been throwing it back to Jack Johnson and Pepper.

[In the News] Pulling the Planet Back from the Brink, One Farm at a Time

Project: Planting Seeds of Resilience in Southern India

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Here at WEA, we have spent the last 7 years committed to small scale, regenerative farming practices that restore rather than deplete our lands. Currently, industrial scale agriculture is consuming Earth’s resources in a grossly unsustainable manner and is a primary driver for the destabilization of the worlds ecological balance. A revolution of ecological agriculturalists is necessary to shed light on and bring momentum towards the shift to regenerative farming, a practice that incorporates ecological principles into closed loop farming systems to provide more sustainable means for food production.

This article from The Rockefeller Foundation discusses these issues and the mindset shift that’s needed to make a change.

Photo: Rockefeller Foundation

“As a farmer, I have spent the last few years making transformative changes to my own thinking and agricultural practices… I have studied how other farmers are applying this approach in Australia, Africa, and North and South America. The results, as on our farm, have been remarkable: Healthy landscape function was restored, production increased, biodiversity rebounded, climate change factors were ameliorated, and vastly healthier food was produced.

It is our beliefs that will determine our fate. And there’s reason to believe a new cohort of ecological agriculturalists can alter the course of our civilization with new ideas and practices. They understand that we must embrace a new way of feeding the world, or there won’t be any people left to feed.”

Check out WEA’s support for regenerative farming through our Seeds of Resilience project, and Shakti: Empowering Women Farmers to Lead, an exchange and training project.

A note from WEA’s Founder

This year-end note from WEA’s Founder, Melinda Kramer, is one way we keep our community up to date on the important news impacting our work and world and ways you can get involved!

In this year’s letter, Melinda shares our dream for the kinds of contributions that can best support WEA at year-end:

  1. 20 monthly supporters step forward at the $25, $50, or $125 level. Pooled together, these monthly gifts cover the costs for a woman leader to participate in a year of WEA training;
  2. 5 donors join our Giving Circle, a dynamic group of supporters who pledge $5,000-$50,000 each year for 3 years. This gives us the runway we need to plan our multi-year programming, serving our grassroots partners in a sustained way;
  3. 40 people make a one-time gift of $75 before Dec. 31st so we can meet a $3,000 match made by a generous WEA champion;
  4. 3 people agree to host an event or house party for WEA in 2018, introducing their community to our work;
  5. One person joins the Founders Circle of our Ripple Academy, a group that underwrites the program that will scale our impact across multiple regions.

Read the note in its entirety here, and be sure to sign up on our website to get all our updates in the future.

Who are the trainers of the WISE Clean Cookstoves Training Project?  Meet Regina Poto.

“The women have gathered together to be pioneers of this clean cookstove. I see a lot of passion in them – passion to change lives, passion to go out there and talk to people about the usefulness of the clean cookstove – and I believe with time and with the enthusiasm I see in them, it’s going to go beyond the shores of this nation…clean cookstoves will become a household name.”

Regina Poto has been an invaluable member of our WISE Clean Cookstove Training team!  She is currently serving as Financial Advisor to the 30 women clean cookstove ambassadors and has brought a wealth of knowledge in entrepreneurship, financial management, profitability, marketing, scalability and long-term sustainability.  We are thrilled to have her as a Financial Advisor on this project because of her long tenure in the banking sector — she has been a perfect fit for our WISE team!

In August 2017, Regina led a refresher course on the financial topics and tools covered during our April and May training intensives for the women entrepreneurs. Since then, she has been working with the women to regularly update their business plans based on real order numbers and operating costs they’ve experienced since being in the field.

In the video below, Regina talks about the WISE Clean Cookstoves Training program and the promise of this work:

To learn more about the WISE Women’s Clean Cookstoves Project, be sure to visit our project page!