Stephanie Kennard | May 8, 2014
It’s almost time for EDF Climate Corps’ small screen debut on Showtime’s Years of Living Dangerously, a documentary series on climate change. Leading up to the May 26th episode featuring three EDF Climate Corps fellows and host organizations, we’re rounding up the three EDF Climate Corps fellows starring in the Showtime series for a behind the scenes look at filming with the Years Project. First, we spoke with Jenise Young, a returning EDF Climate Corps fellow at Texas Southern University. Read on to learn more about Jenise’s time in the spotlight and be sure to watch her in action on Showtime Network, Monday, May 26th at 8pm.
EDF: Tell us again about your EDF Climate Corps fellowship experience.
Jenise Young: Being an EDF Climate Corps fellow was not just a great learning experience, it was an awakening for my career goals. So much so, that I’ve expanded my vision for utilizing my doctorate degree in Urban Planning and Environmental Policy to provide value in corporate organizations and academia.
EDF: What was it like when you learned about Showtime’s interest in following you last summer?
Young: I never expected for anything like this to happen to me, so at first I just didn’t think much of it. When the phone calls and emails started to become more consistent, I actually started believing this was going to happen. Then, I met the producers in San Francisco, and it was real. This was happening.
EDF: What was filming like?
Young: I first met with the producers on campus to discuss logistics and run through my day-to-day activities. Most filming days were a full eight hours and the producers followed me for about five days throughout the summer. There was a lot of walking around campus in Houston 100-degree summer heat in business attire, and some days, I even had a microphone secured under my skirt, taped to my hair or down my back. In addition, we all did daily video diaries where we talked about our day, our challenges and our successes. Overall, I had fun and just soaked it all in.
EDF: What do you think is unique about your perspective in the series?
Young: Out of the three EDF Climate Corps fellows in the series, my project is unique in that I did more than uncover energy savings opportunities. I also helped to amplify the significance of including, intentionally, perspectives from vulnerable populations in conversations and solutions to fight against climate change. In my project recommendations, I included a focus on building partnerships and networks that help to engage diverse communities, something I hope more climate solutions and conversations will include as well.
EDF: What do you hope your story in the series will inspire?
Young: I hope that our story will encourage more diverse, young adults to get involved in sustainability initiatives. I also hope that my story, in particular, inspires investors to fund climate projects that intently engage minority communities.
EDF: Have you watched the series yet this year?
Young: I have a watch party every Sunday, and I still can’t believe I’m part of something so big. With all the major stars involved in this series, it feels amazing to be a part of this story. Being a part of this has just inspired me to continue to act on climate, and I’m excited to continue working as an EDF Climate Corps fellow again this summer.
EDF:What are you up to now?
Young: My commitment to climate change protection for vulnerable populations has grown stronger because of this experience. I’ve extended the focus of my research to include cultural perspectives surrounding climate change and energy efficiency. I’m working now on finding ways to help organizations marry scientific information with cultures to spread awareness and action within vulnerable populations. In addition, I’m still actively working to advance sustainability initiatives on campus here at Texas Southern University. Recently, I was able to pass a green fee with student government that will fund sustainability projects on campus. I also helped to secure a green partnership with University of Texas, Austin to be like a big brother to TSU and lead us in the completion of sustainability projects and in inspiring student organizations to build a culture of sustainability on campus.
EDF: Picture it: America, 2044. Another film producer approaches you to document your career. What do you hope that story will say about you at that point in time?
Young: Working under Dr. Robert Bullard and Dr. Beverly Wright and watching them dedicate their career to leaving a legacy that provides a voice for minorities in environmental justice has inspired me. I hope to carry on their legacy while developing my own by contributing solutions that marry science and culture to engage and include all communities in action against climate change.
Stay tuned for interviews with our two other Showtime stars, Brendan Edgerton and Scott Miller. In the meantime, you can learn more about the work of all three fellows here.
About EDF Climate Corps
EDF Climate Corps (edfclimatecorps.org) taps the talents of tomorrow’s leaders to save energy, money and the environment by placing specially trained EDF fellows in companies, cities and universities as dedicated energy problem solvers. Working with hundreds of leading organizations, EDF Climate Corps has uncovered nearly $1.3 billion in energy savings. For more information, visit edfclimatecorps.org. Read our blog at edfclimatecorps.org/blog. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/edfbiz and on Facebook at facebook.com/EDFClimateCorps.