Passion First, Influence Next: A Talk by John Lanier Strikes a Chord With First-Year Undergraduate

A Story from the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business

I’m not quite sure how I discovered my love for the environment. Was it when Ms. McDonald showed our class Before the Flood, a film about climate change? Or was it on family vacations when mom would take me out to the beach—just to gather litter? I honestly can’t pinpoint an exact starting point. However, I thank my lucky stars that I know my purpose in life: to make this world a better place.

Now, I am a first-year earth and atmospheric sciences major at Georgia Tech. Recently, I joined a new publication on campus, 3484 Magazine (named after the coordinates of the City of Atlanta). The magazine strives to report on a variety of events and topics in Atlanta, from politics to societal developments. To fuel my zeal for environmental issues, I plan to write on local environmental problems and climate solutions.

For my first article, I am looking into the Atlanta Climate Action Plan of 2015, specifically what, if anything, it has achieved thus far. On September 17, I interviewed Jairo Garcia, who developed the plan. He is currently chief executive officer at Urban Climate Nexus and also happens to be an adjunct faculty member in the School of City and Regional Planning here at Georgia Tech. During our talk, I learned that Garcia is an extremely passionate, informed, and talented professional in the world of sustainability. At the end of the interview, I asked Garcia if he had recommendations for other people I might interview. He immediately mentioned John Lanier, executive director of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation.

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