A Journalist Educates Her Local Public
When Amy Stansbury came to the Catskills for our 2012 summer practicum, she was a journalism student at Temple University. Today, Amy is working in her field as an environmental journalist at Austin EcoNetwork. An avid outdoorswoman living in Austin, Texas, Amy has dedicated her professional career to educating the public about climate change and connecting them to their local governments. She loves local politics, energy policy, and long runs along Austin’s Lady Bird Lake.
What work do you do and what lessons from Eco Practicum do you apply at your job?
I am an editor and writer for the Austin EcoNetwork, an environmental news and networking website in Austin, Texas. During my time at Eco Practicum, I had the opportunity to take a deep dive into the world of fracking in Pennsylvania. We visited active drilling sites, spoke with real people who have been impacted by the fracking boom, and heard from experts in the oil and gas industry. Just like Pennsylvania, Texas is also in the midst of a shale gas boom and my time spent investigating fracking at Eco Practicum has given be a solid base of knowledge so that I can continue reporting on natural gas in Texas.
What are the most fulfilling and most challenging parts of what you do?
By far, the most fulfilling aspect of my job is educating the public about solutions to climate change - arguably the biggest challenge of our time. But, as rewarding as that is, writing about climate change is a rough job, especially in Texas. I am constantly confronted by the fact that more people seem to want to read stories about celebrities and cats than climate change and local politics. The job can often be lonely and depressing. During these times of momentary hopelessness, I eat a little ice cream, remind myself how important the job is, and get back to work with an even tougher resolve.
Describe a moment or situation that helped you realize your passion?
I can’t say that there was any specific moment when my love of the environment suddenly struck me. However, whenever I go on a hike, visit a beautiful place, or even see a really cool photograph of nature, I am reminded how important it is to protect this place. I never feel more invigorated than when I am swimming in the ocean or climbing a mountain. Those are my favorite places to be and I want to make sure they will be here longer than I am.
What advice do you have for people looking for meaningful work?
Meaningful work comes in all shapes and sizes. You don’t have to work at a struggling nonprofit to do something important. You don’t have to follow the same path as Pete Seeger or Rachel Carson to be a successful environmentalist. Those people are remembered so fondly today because they did something different, something that had never been done before. So do your own thing, strike out on your own path, and as long as you wake up excited to work everyday, you’re doing the right thing.
What’s one thing you think everyone should know how to do?
Everyone should know how to think for themselves. As a journalist, people are always trying to tell me what to think. But at the end of the day it’s up to me to analyze the facts, look at the information, and write my own story.
Follow your gut.
We ask our network of alumni, experts, and educators to consider the state of the world and their role in it ... here's what they have to say.