EcoFellows Take New York

EcoFellows, Jorge and Morgan, happy to be in NYC!

EcoFellows, Jorge and Morgan, happy to be in NYC!

By Morgan O’Connor, Market & High Performance Building EcoFellow

Last month the Center for EcoTechnology sponsored Willow, Jorge, and I as EcoFellows to attend the International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD) in New York City. The conference was an eye-opening experience as we were exposed to new applications for sustainable development practices from around the world.

The ICSD was started in 2013 in Dakar, Senegal, in hopes of creating solutions to the complicated problems standing in the way of developing sustainable communities. Realizing that there was need for a larger conversation, the conference grew to international levels, partnering with the Global Association of Master’s in Development Practice and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Now the conference runs annually, hosted by the Earth Institute of Columbia University.

The first day of the conference was a series of talks directed to all conference attendees. It was inspiring to learn of some of the solutions that are taking place around the world, such as Ghana’s implementation of a community health training program to increase access to healthcare across the country. It was also empowering to hear from a panel of international women leaders during, “Behind Every Global Goal: Women Leading the Way to 2030.” Dr. Alaa Murabit, an advocate of the Sustainable Development Goals, reminded us that, “There has never been enough people like [her] to give [her] solidarity in a room.” She used her story as a way of empowering us to know that if we are at a table where we are different from the rest, that makes our opinion one of the most valuable in the room, whether it be because we are the youngest, of a different gender identity, or race. This was encouraging to hear as a Fellow, and I was happy to hear her speak.

The conference also allowed us EcoFellows to listen to and learn from global leaders, while providing us with opportunities to network with other like-minded individuals working in the field of sustainable development. We talked with graduate students from around the world, learning about a variety of programs to obtain a Master’s in Development Practices.

The conference also allowed us to each explore areas of sustainable development that we thought sounded interesting. During break-out sessions we attended panels on topics such as sustainable development challenges in urban areas, gender and sustainable development, water security, the role of natural resources in peace-building, clean energy, the economics and demography of natural disasters, indigenous approaches to sustainable development, and sustainable consumption and production.

The EcoFellowship is unique in that it allows us to shape our experience, and I would like to thank the Center for EcoTechnology for encouraging us to take our professional development into our own hands to seek out opportunities that are of interest to us.

To learn more about what the EcoFellowship is and how to be a part of it click here.

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