One of the most pressing issues facing the international community is how to address the impact of climate change. Rising oceans, food and freshwater insecurity, urbanization, and many other issues prompt global action to preserve the planet for future generations.
The weight of this issue led me to pursue a new role this Fall with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a global non-profit focused on environmental issues in 79 countries and all 50 states. The Worldwide Office in D.C. coordinates the organization’s work which brings together scientists, policy experts, and local leaders to tackle climate change, protect lands and waters, provide food and water sustainably, build healthy cities, and connect people and nature. TNC is a great place to work with smart eco-geeks, environmental policy wonks, and other upbeat and motivated colleagues.
My responsibilities as a Contract Specialist focus on ensuring money-out agreements for TNC’s global initiatives adhere to legal standards and TNC policies. The day-to-day of the job has required me to guide program teams through the contract and grant-writing processes, review and approve agreements, manage extensive records, and more. Some of the projects I supported include: mitigating the impact of climate change on indigenous communities in the Amazon; advocating for international action on environmental issues at UN summits; and cleaning up polluted river basins in Latin America. One recent work day began with me video chatting a team in South Africa, consulting with our legal office about a Chinese project, and finishing the day by guiding a West Coast office through a contract revision.
The role has been very satisfying—serving as an expert point of contact for staff around the globe addressing a large problem in diverse and meaningful ways.
Bart Kassel is a recent graduate of the MAIR program. He also interned at the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Social Media in summer 2019.