Members of the Student Conservation Association's (SCA) Green Cities Sustainability Corps program have fanned out throughout the region to work to implement climate action plans. It is all part of the service-learning projects taken on by the students and young adults in the program that aims to introduce initiatives to ensure a sustainable future.
Miriam Parson, the program coordinator for SCA Green Cities Corps, said the effort was modeled after other programs. "SCA saw that cities across the nation were creating climate action plans and this was a great opportunity for us to build conservation leaders by placing young people with cities to implement these climate action plans," Parson said.
The organization was launched in Pittsburgh and began with only two fellows in 2008. Today, the nationwide program has expanded to 18 fellows in the Pittsburgh region. Parson said SCA's interns continue to contribute to the effort even after they complete their ten-month term.
"One third of our Green Cities Corps alumni have stayed in Pittsburgh, employed by Pittsburgh organizations, working on conservation and sustainability, and then the other two thirds go off to be employed or go to grad school, still in conservation and sustainability," Parson said.
The program focuses on several areas, such as greenhouse gas emission reductions, water conservation, and other sustainability best practices. The goal is to implement the solutions across neighborhoods, residents, and local government operations.
Parson added businesses of all sizes have also benefited from projects started by SCA interns. "They go out and work with businesses to implement sustainable best practices and then give those businesses credit to basically increase the local market's expectation that sustainable practices are part of business practices," Parson said.