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My Green Jobs Pathway

Matt Browning_NLN By Matthew Browning, Sierra Club Youth Delegate and Panelist for the Good Jobs Green Jobs National Conference

 In preparation for speaking at the 2011 Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference in Washington D.C., February 7-10th, I’ve been reflecting on what has given me the employment opportunities I’ve had so far in environmental-related fields.  Some of it is just being “at the right place at the right time.”  But what brought me to that right place? 

The first step is for young people to get excited about the outdoors and green jobs before it is even time to get a job. I have been lucky enough to have a family that took me backpacking when I was still an infant, and despite the facts that my two brothers and I are all married and my parents are in their mid-60s, they have not stopped taking the entire family into the wilderness.  Following their inspirations, I’ve explored many wild places, from the parks around my home to the Pacific Crest Trail and even on to the Himalayan Mountains. 

Without a doubt, these experiences have fueled my interest in pursuing a green job. Realizing the deeply moving and striking beauty of the natural world has really defined my life as being centered around protecting the environment and providing all people with as many rich outdoor opportunities as I have had.  And so I found myself interning with the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service, and serving as a commissioned Special Peace Officer at the top of the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River at Mount Mitchell State Park. Additionally, I have been integrally involved in the development of the Natural Leaders Network, which is empowering a worldwide youth movement to strengthen the bond between children and nature.  Founded in 2008, the Network is the result of a partnership between the Children & Nature Network and Sierra Club’s Building Bridges to the Outdoors, with corporate support from The North Face. 

Today, I continue to walk my own green jobs pathway as a Master of Environmental Science Candidate at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.  I’m excited to share these ideas and more as a member of the Sierra Club Youth Delegation at the upcoming Good Jobs Green Jobs conference. Hope to see you there!

Matthew Browning is a panelist for “Sowing the Seeds for a Greener Future: Preparing Youth for a Green Economy” on February 8th, 10:30am, at the Good Jobs Green Jobs National Conference


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