Talia Resnick: Exploring Companies’ Roles in Combating Climate Change
Columbia Climate School’s inaugural class of students will don their blue caps and robes for Commencement and Class DayThis week. However, classes may be over but the students will still be working in exciting internships this summer before officially graduating in August.
Talia Resnick, one such student in the Climate School’s Climate and Society ProgramShe will spend the summer working for a law firm as a coordinator of their efforts in addressing social and environmental responsibility. She’ll receive internship credits for this role, then continue working there full time after graduation. In the Q&A below, she tells us more about what drew her to this line of work and her long-term plans for the future.
We would love to know a bit more about you and your history.
I was always interested environmental issues. I spent most of my childhood summers in the Northern Woods of Wisconsin, where I was born, and felt a strong attachment to nature in general. It wasn’t until high school where I became more interested in environmental justice and the climate crisis. I was fortunate to be in an undergraduate school that allowed students to choose their own major. This gave me the opportunity to focus my studies on understanding the colonial and historical legacies that have led to climate and environmental injustices today. I wanted to better understand the scientific aspects of the climate crisis and use that knowledge in policy and corporate responsibility spaces — hence why I ended up in the Climate and Society program!
This summer, where will you be interning? What is the work like?
This summer I will be starting a full-time job at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP as their new environmental and sustainability program coordinator. I will be in charge of the firm’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and support environmental- and climate-focused causes via pro bono work, bringing in guest speakers, reporting on greenhouse gas emissions, internal education and awareness days, and more.
While I hope to one day be doing work in the climate justice policy sphere, I am also greatly interested in the roles of companies/corporations in combating the climate crisis. I am excited to learn more about how a law company can play a part in this. I feel that my experience in an ESG-related position will be very beneficial for my long-term career goals.
How did the Climate and Society Program help you prepare for this role?
In many ways, the Climate and Society program has helped prepare me for this role. First, I have a strong scientific and mathematical background in climate variability and climate dynamics which has influenced my work and interests in the socio-economic consequences of the crisis. I was also able to take courses on the socio-economic impacts of corporations and businesses, which helped me understand the role of the private industry in shaping policy, something I didn’t know before.
Being able to work with such a talented group of students in the Climate and Society program has been the best thing. I feel I have a network with the brightest minds from diverse academic and professional backgrounds who I can turn to.
What do you hope to learn from this experience
I want to be able to build partnerships and collaborate with companies and other organizations. Also, I want to better understand the effects of the private sector on climate crisis. I would like to gain a better understanding of responsibility sharing in relation to the climate crisis.
How does this work relate to your career goals? What do you want to do after graduation
I hope to one day work in climate justice policy, whether it is through political work or non-profit work. Although the job I was offered isn’t necessarily the same, I am grateful and excited to start work in the ESG Sector. I believe I will gain important skills and knowledge about the interconnectedness between the private and public sector.