Hi and welcome to my blog! Let me start by telling you a bit about myself: I’m Emily. I’m 25 years old and after living in New York City for three years, I've moved to the suburbs in New Brunswick, NJ. I am an engineer, environmentalist, outdoor-lover, vegan(ish), traveler, and free-spirit but most simply I am someone trying to live their values and make the world a better place. Read on for more…
I grew up in a house in the woods in Pennsylvania and spent a lot of my free time outdoors. When I headed to college I had no idea what to do with my life. Luckily my first college experience was an orientation trip lead by the Office of Sustainability where we went canoeing and camping, volunteered on an organic farm, learned to compost, and visited a water reservoir. Before this trip I didn’t even know what sustainability was but it quickly became a significant part of my life. I ended up studying engineering and sustainability, participating in the campus’s sustainability club, and interning in Costa Rica - I was hooked.
After graduation I embarked on the best trip OF MY LIFE – a two-month road trip from Colorado to California and then down to Arizona. I traveled with various friends and family members throughout the trip and visited 7 National Parks where I went hiking and backpacking for the first time. This trip changed my life by opening my eyes to the diverse beauty of our natural world and teaching me how content I feel when I'm immersed in nature. I decided my life's purpose was to help reduce human impact on this beautiful planet.
After this trip I started my first job at a renowned building design firm in New York City. My job was to inspect and test energy consuming systems in newly-constructed high-rise buildings to make sure they were installed and operating properly. I got to work on a ton of famous construction projects in NYC and was indirectly helping these buildings reduce their energy consumption but I never felt a connection to the job/company and desired to do MORE for the environment.
I quickly realized that I desired a position that aligned more with my values and goals, but also that it would take time to find the right job. So after months of reading blogs and Instagram posts about “zero-waste” living, I decided that even if my career wasn’t sustainability focused, my life could be. I began steering my personal life in a more eco-friendly direction and started my Instagram page @sustainable_in_the_city to document my journey.
Changing my behaviors and educating others about the environmental impacts of theirs quickly became my passion. I felt a new energy and direction in my life and found ways to make New York City feel more like my home. A few months later I landed a job as an energy engineer at a sustainability consulting company full of like-minded people. In this role I performed energy efficiency studies on existing buildings and documented credits for green building certifications like LEED.
I loved my work in New York City, but I have always felt a calling to teach and do research. I recently relocated to New Jersey and joined the Rutgers Center for Advanced Energy Systems where I get to advise engineering students and work in an energy research lab. I also help to run the Department of Energy's Industrial Assessment Program. I'm really excited to get a taste of the world of academia and work on projects that could change our planet's energy future.
Outside of work I have become a total outdoor-addict. I spend as many weekends as I can hiking, camping, climbing, biking, or simply enjoying nature however I can. Any other time I have is spent experimenting with new sustainable lifestyle behaviors, cooking and eating delicious food, and trying new things while (attempting) to be grateful for what I have and less stressed about things I can't control.
So that's where I am now...but I have many more goals on my to-do list. One was starting this blog so that I can write more in-depth articles on the topics that I post about on Instagram. I'd also like to start volunteering more of my time to help others and become involved in environmental activism. An ongoing goal of mine is to spend more time outdoors and grow as much of my own food as I can. I'm so glad you're here and I hope you get value from my blog!