Matthew Maiorana / Matt’s blogs
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What are you up to now?
Currently, I am living in Washington, DC working with the Udall Foundation’s US Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution. Congress established the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution in 1998. The U.S. Institute’s mission is to help resolve environmental disputes that involve the federal government, by providing mediation, training and related services.
My role with the Institute is Program Assistant and primarily my work is focused on projects related to water and native resources. I provided support for contracted facilitation regionally on the National Ocean Policy, overall administrative support on a number of contracts for neutrals nation-wide, and work with USIECR program managers on direct services for various projects.
In my non-work life, I have come to know the beautiful city of DC for much more then monuments and beyond the political chaos it can be known for. I frequently enjoy biking or walking around the National Arboretum which is a hidden gem of the city and not too far from my house.
Which international conferences did you attend during your time at COA?
UNFCCC COP 13,14,15
UN CSocD 45
UNFCCC Intersessional 2009
Rio + 20 Prep meeting 2010
What did you study while you were at COA?
Focused on international environmental law and policy, stakeholder engagement, and collaborative decision-making.
Senior project: ‘Many Voices at the Table: The Importance of Civil Society in International Environmental Law’
What do you and did you think the importance is of youth involvement in international negotiations?
See Lauren’s Senior project for more thoughts on this :)
But in short, I see youth as an important voice in the international process because youth help provide an outside sense of accountability for future generations, and push for ‘radical’ ideas that even if not taken into the text, help push the boundaries of the negotiation.
What is Earth in Brackets to you?
I was fortunate to know the great team of folks who started Earth in Brackets with the COP in Nairobi. The branding of Earth in Brackets so to say had not really evolved, but at the time the people who were Earth in Brackets represented the passion, ambition, and opportunity for COA students to work on the international level on environmental issues.
After a few years of COPs, CSDs, and a CSocD, almost all happening through my role as Agents of Change coordinator for SustainUS, COA decided to send a full delegation to the talks in Copenhagen. That’s when I started to see the potential of what [Earth] is now– a platform for COA students to engage internationally on these issues and provide really thorough analysis and thought pieces to share with others via the blog.
What advice would you give to young environmental justice activists?
Well for starters at COPs, my advice was always stay hydrated, make sure to eat, and sleep… even if it is behind a stairwell in the negotiation halls. But I think that speaks to a larger piece of advice for any environmental activist– you are driven by a passion that can consume you and it’s important to remember why you are engaged, chose your engagement meaningfully, and don’t get burned out. And along those lines, always be looking for ways to empower others to step up as well.