Jackie Weidman

MPI Alumna Featured in Forbes

Congratulations to MPI alumna Jackie Weidman, whose work in clean energy leadership was recently featured by Forbes! After her time with Manna Project, Jackie went on to co-found the Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI). See the article by Lyndsey Gilpin here or read more below. 

Not long after she graduated from college, Jackie Weidman moved to Ecuador to teach environmental education with Manna Project International, hoping to focus on the impacts of climate change. After studying the subject in school and watching how the US remained in denial that climate change was occurring, she figured she’d be fighting a similar battle in the communities she worked with.

Instead, she experienced quite the opposite. “Everyone was like, ‘oh, duh,’ we obviously believe it.” The community got 80 percent of its water supply from a glacier that was melting at unprecedented rates, and because of that, Ecuador has some of the most progressive water conservation regulations in the world.

The people in Ecuador knew developing countries were at the root of the problem, too, and they couldn’t do much to stop it. So Weidman focused on agricultural and environmental education for the year she spent there, getting to know the stakeholders in the communities and how cliamte change impacted people at the local level.

When she arrived back in the US, ready to begin a career in federal environmental policy, she realized she felt incredibly removed from the politics of climate change. The BP oil spill and the fail of the cap and trade bill to reduce carbon emissions had both occurred the year she was abroad.

So Weidman decided to go straight to the source—to Washington DC to embed herself in the workings of energy and environmental policy, and she hasn’t left the District since.”
                                                                              MPI Ecuador Team, 2009-2010

                                                                              MPI Ecuador Team, 2009-2010