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Meet The Interns: Hi, Arianna!

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Wondering who’s helping to keep the magic behind our social media going this summer? Please help us welcome Arianna to our WEA intern team! She a senior at the University of San Francisco, and will be using her passion for writing and social change to support our communications and the women environmental leaders we work with around the world.

Get to know Arianna better below!

Name: Arianna Casabonne

Hometown: Brentwood, California

If you had a super power what would it be (and why)? If I could have one superpower it would be to teleport. Partially because I would love to be able to easily travel the world, but also because it would be so convenient to be able to show up where ever I need to be immediately. I would never have to commute or ride the bus!

Why did you want to intern with WEA? I really wanted to intern with an organization that was doing work that I could identify with on a more personal level, and WEA is just that! The current state of the environment and where we’re heading makes it absolutely urgent that we take care of our planet. Also, for as long as I can remember I’ve always felt passionate about women’s rights and leadership. WEA’s mission is a great fit for what I’m interested in and what I want to work towards.

Tell us about a woman who inspires you. My mom, of course! She works extremely hard and handles everything and everyone around her with patience, love, and kindness. I aspire to be a woman like her who is dedicated and hardworking but also kind and empathetic to people and the environment.

Why women and the environment? Women are disproportionately affected by environmental catastrophes. When girls have to give up on their education and future careers to help their families as a result of environmental difficulties, an inequality that already exists is deepened.

What does life outside of WEA look like? I love spending time writing, drawing, listening to music, and working on crafty projects. I attend a lot of music festivals and love trying new things with my friends. I just moved back from a 5 month stay in France so I’m working on growing my plant collection again.

What’s you favorite thing to do in the bay area? There is so many it’s impossible to choose! I live in San Francisco so of course I love Dolores park, Golden Gate park, and Off The Gird. I’m always looking out for artists I love playing at small venues in the city.

What are you currently reading / watching / listening to? The Gorrilaz just came out with a new album so I’ve been listening to that a lot, but I love so much music It’s impossible to name it all. Right now, I’m reading Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Every summer I watch a show called Big Brother with my friends and my mom. Although I don’t love reality TV, we get really into this show and schedule times to watch it together.

Meet the Interns: Hey, Sadie!

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WEA is ecstatic to introduce you to one of our newest interns, Sadie! Her passion and devotion to protecting women and the environment makes her a perfect addition to our Programs + Operations Team. Sadie will be bringing her incredible skill set and warm spirit to our team for the rest of summer, and we’re so honored!

Help us welcome Sadie and read more about her below!

Name: Sadie Gray

Hometown: pacific palisades, CA

If you had a super power what would it be (and why)? I wish I had the ability to teleport because being able to travel anywhere on the planet in an instant would be a dream come true!

Why did you want to intern with WEA? As a Global Studies major with a concentration in Development, I’ve spent time studying how international development can often be more destructive than beneficial. Many development projects go wrong or go nowhere because organizations do not work on local levels, overlooking communication with those they are trying to help. WEA stood out to me because it is different in this sense, WEA’s philosophy embraces empowerment and education of women in local communities where things like climate change and contaminated water are effecting their daily lives. I’ve always been passionate about working to protect the environment, but felt as though there was so little I could actually do to effect change. Once I came across WEA, my view changed because I realized I could be involved in an organization that creates tangible change with all the right people in all the right places.

Tell us about a woman who inspires you. I’ve long been inspired by the career of Maria Shriver. She’s been a champion of women from all walks of life. During her time as first lady of California, she created The Women’s Conference which donated millions to women’s charities. Her work covers so many different bases, from investing in female entrepreneurs, to providing health care – she has always has women’s rights and empowerment as the foundation of her career.

Why women and why the environment? women have time and time again proven that they are are resilient and eager to deal with issues facing the  environment, despite being unprivileged in access to resources, education, and information. Women often face the burden of being the sole farmer and water provider for their families, but as climate change challenges normalcy of their daily routine, young girls are dropping out of school to help their mothers. This only perpetuates the inequality gap we see between men and women. That’s why its so important that we make an effort to work for and with the communities of women who are willing to improve the future of the environment.

What does life outside of WEA look like? I am a student at UC Berkeley, but when I am not occupied with schoolwork I love spending time outdoors and being active. Spending time with friends & family, cooking and drawing are my favorite ways to unwind!

What’s your favorite thing to do in the bay area? My favorite thing in the bay is hiking up the Clark Kerr fire trails at sunset, the view from the top is amazing and the hike is short but steep!

What are you currently reading / watching / listening to? I am currently trying to learn Spanish so I am re-watching Grace & Frankie on Netflix, but this time in Spanish! I’m reading Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and loving listening to Leon Bridges and Jacob Banks.

Meet the Interns: Hi, Oriana!

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Summer is almost here, which means we’re welcoming a new cohort of bright and passionate interns to our team! To kick things off, we are so happy to introduce you to Oriana — a talented, dedicated force, and a committed advocate of climate resilience, particularly for displaced communities. She’ll be bringing all of her skills and care to our Programs + Operations team this summer.

Please help us in giving Oriana a very warm welcome!

Name: Oriana Cabrera Piemonte
Hometown: San Jose, CA

If you had a superpower, what would it be (and why)? I wish I knew how to speak every language because being able to communicate with anyone anywhere would give you the ability to connect with so many people and learn so much!

Why did you want to intern with WEA? I feel passionate about working in a field that challenges traditional development methods by learning alternative ways to combat food insecurity, poverty, and environmental destruction through grassroots organizing. This is exactly what WEA is doing by empowering rural communities and women to remain at the center of governance and management of their local resources. This is incredibly important as we face increasing climate change related natural disasters that have the ability to displace mass populations and can be a fueling force in local and international conflict. Coming from an immigrant family, I’ve always felt passionate about immigrant and refugee rights especially as I’ve learned more about the connections between climate change, human migration, and the risks that many immigrants might face when crossing borders. Through WEA’s projects, women, children, and communities as a whole have transitioned to be safer spaces that ensure climate resilience and economic opportunity, and potentially limits the number of people forced to move in search of education, employment, or safety.

Tell us about a woman who inspires you. Princess Nokia is an artist who has been a huge inspiration to me because she radically challenges societal norms surrounding gender and sexuality through her music. She talks a lot about embracing both masculinity and femininity as well as addressing intersectional issues surrounding race, women, the earth. One of the reasons I really appreciate her as a musician is because she aims at making her concerts safe spaces that prioritize women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community.

Why women and why the environment? As I became more involved studying the many intersections between environmental and social justice, I consistently found my studies leading me back to how women were most affected. I became most passionate about this when learning about illegal mining in South America and studying the impacts this had on indigenous women ranging from health impacts to increasing vulnerabilities to human trafficking and sexual violence; and in learning about the many injustices experienced by refugee women and children. Through my studies in international development I felt passionate about the lack of representation and inclusion of women in decision making for projects involving sustainability, employment, and education. Around the world knowledge has been gathered and passed down for generations by women through experiencing environmental changes and living directly in connection to their environment. This knowledge is incredibly valuable, and it must be heard and included when developing viable solutions to social and environmental issues, especially as women face increasing risks from the impacts of climate change.

What does your life outside WEA look like? I try to spend as much of my time as I can in a day outside. I love to be in the sun, whether I am just sitting outside reading or painting, out on a hike, or just walking around the city with friends. I also spend a lot of time with my family who are very involved with the Venezuelan community in the Bay Area so we spend a lot of time dancing and  cooking.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the Bay Area? I absolutely love going to the botanical gardens in Golden Gate Park. I love sitting out in the sun for the whole day or walking around and seeing all the beautiful trees, flowers, and the little birds and animals they attract.

What are you currently reading / watching / listening to? I am currently reading Life of Pi by Yann Martel and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and have been watching the shows Atlanta and The Handmaid’s Tale! Some artists I’ve been listening to lately and absolutely love are Kali Uchis, Kaytranada, The Internet, and Anderson Paak.

Meet the interns: Hey, Sally!

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A highlight of the work we do here at WEA is that we are fortunate enough to do so alongside the women who will continue to lead our communities and movements for years to come. That’s why our internship program is so important to us — because it gives us a chance to meet women like Sally! Sally will be joining us this semester to support our Programs + Operations, with a particular focus on supporting projects like the Ripple Academy and the WISE Women’s Clean Cookstoves Project.

Please help us welcome Sally to the WEA family!

Name: Sally Morton
Hometown: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
 
If you had a superpower, it would be (and why): My superpower would be able to truly feel what it’s like to be another person or another being whether that be a plant, animal, or rock. This would deepen my understanding of this world and what it means to be here. It would grow my capacity for empathy for all that exists outside of myself.
 
Why did you want to intern with WEA? My senior year of college, I met the founder, Melinda, at an event with Vandana Shiva. She gave me her business card of the Women’s Earth Alliance and I just couldn’t believe a nonprofit like this existed! Women’s and environmental empowerment are huge passions of mine and I’ve always felt they’re very connected. I looked WEA up online and was so inspired by the beautiful work they’re doing, I became eager to get involved!
 
Tell us about a woman who inspires you. A woman who inspires me is Stefani Germanotta, known as Lady Gaga. She’s maybe not the most obvious role model from first impression, but her self-love attitude and heart filled activism has inspired me since high school. She is a fierce advocate of mental health, LGBTQ+ rights and suicide prevention. She is extremely intelligent and weaves her courage, huge heart, and passion for justice into all of her public work.
 
Why women and why the environment? I’ve known in my bones since a young age that the disempowerment of women and the disempowerment of the environment are inextricably linked. The work towards a thriving future must be intersectional. Our planet is a huge system and the various systems of oppression and inequality are bound together and must be approached from all sides.
 
What does your life outside WEA look like? I’m starting a Chaplaincy Training at SF General Hospital, providing non-denominational spiritual care to any patients who want it. I work as a research assistant for Vijaya Nagarajan, a professor at the University of San Francisco. I also teach yoga and landscape. When I’m not working I love to read, go for long walks, meditate, hang out with friends and my partner Graham.
 
What’s your favorite thing to do in the Bay Area? My favorite thing to do in the Bay Area is to walk along Ocean Beach on a full moon night.
 
What are you currently reading / watching / listening to? I’m reading the book Salt Houses by Hala Alyan, a Palestinian author who reflects on the topics of gender, home and displacement. Also Battleborn by Claire Faye Watkins, a beautiful exposition of short stories about the American West. I listen to the Daily podcast from the New York Times every day.

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.