An Internship with Sierra Club Connecticut

Transportation and Climate Initiative

Heba Naqvi

My name is Heba, and I have recently completed my third year as a student in the Urban and Community Studies major at UConn Hartford. In the final three weeks of the semester, I interned at Sierra Club Connecticut focusing on sustainable transportation and the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI). 

 

The start of my interest in environmental sustainability can be credited to involvement in my elementary school’s Earth Club when I was in the third grade. From a young age, I learned to view the world as more than a place where we conveniently live. I see the world as an important part of myself, and myself as an important part of it. It has always been clear to me that our actions have consequences. Everything we do is for the sake of the future, whether it be a minute, month, or millennia from now. What we hope to see in the future of our society, may already be the reality of another.

 

One thing we have a strong control over is how we treat our planet. While other countries are advancing in environmental sustainability measures in various sectors, we seem to be falling behind. The main contributor to CO2 pollution in the United States is the transportation sector. Seeing as this major issue is also a necessity for most people, we can look to reduce air pollution by improving transportation technology. Connecticut is a part of the Transportation and Climate Initiative, a regional collaboration seeking to implement modern, environmentally sustainable transportation throughout the Northeastern United States. TCI’s commitment to “…design a regional low-carbon transportation policy proposal that would cap and reduce carbon emissions” will help Connecticut and the region dramatically decrease pollution from transportation while investing in clean alternatives that we want and need. The program aims to make progress in alternative vehicles and fuels, freight efficiency, and sustainable communities, and explore regional policies to improve transportation and reduce emissions. 

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Once implemented, TCI will financially support clean transportation and complementary policies in each participating state, looking to improve the condition of the earth and people’s lives in the long-run. The states will have the freedom to pursue independent or collaborative sustainability projects. With TCI, Connecticut could invest in a broad range of sustainable transportation projects such as replacing diesel-fueled school buses with electric school buses, installing electric vehicle charging stations, making systemic changes within the public transit infrastructure, and improving bike and pedestrian routes.

 

Though we are living through a global pandemic, the effort to address our environmental challenges continues. To build the better world we wish to see, we must plan and execute measures to make it happen. A better future would surely include the cleanest and most efficient transportation systems we could ever imagine, and TCI will help us get there.

 

Heba Naqvi completed an internship with Sierra Club Connecticut focused on sustainable transportation.