Mentorship Spotlight: Local Climate Resilience

Mentee Sara Papanikolaou is a graduate student in the Climate and Energy Policy program at Johns Hopkins University, where she is completing her Masters thesis examining applications for renewable energy within the adaptation space.  She is the Washington Campaign Organizer for Oceana, and also runs a local chapter, 350 Eastside, near Seattle, where she works on climate advocacy and in particular, public education around natural gas, including the recent short film she co-directed, ‘Yehow’.

Mentor John Phillips is the Director of Integrated Watershed Management at Parametrix. He manages the firm’s approach to natural resources and infrastructure development in watershed planning, management, restoration, and climate change adaptation. Prior to Parametrix John worked for King County, managing the Combined Sewer Overflow Control Program. Over his 20-year career, he has managed and developed the Green Stormwater Infrastructure and Climate Change Adaptation programs. His climate work has been referenced in both the IPCC and National Climate Assessment reports. He is Past President of the Pacific Northwest Clean Water Association.

Both based near Seattle, Sara and John have been exploring regional climate resilience challenges, including flood risk mitigation, threats to transportation infrastructure, and food systems. One of the biggest takeaways from their conversations to date has been the comprehensive nature of climate adaptation- how it touches nearly every aspect of modern life, and will increasingly do so as climate change continues to advance.

John and Sara appreciated being able to connect on local areas they both had connections to. For example, John was involved in siting the wastewater treatment facility (and adjacent park) that Sara takes walks at on a weekly basis. Sara ran a winery in the Woodinville area of Washington. It is exciting when people can have direct experience with the food-water-energy nexus.

Thanks to both for sharing what they’ve learned!