Impactfully No. 85: Climate Tech Island

New York is sowing the seeds of a global climate center on Governor's Island, and Virginia takes steps to eliminate legacy admissions at public universities.

Impactfully No. 85: Climate Tech Island
Photo by Zoshua Colah / Unsplash

Governors Island in New York is shaping up to be a nexus for climate action in the near future, and it's just a short ferry ride from Manhattan. Multiple tech companies have received grants to test their products on Governors Island, and the public can play a part in making cities more sustainable. Separately, legacy admissions continue to be challenged in state legislatures. Virginia has become the latest state to ban the use of legacy in student admissions at public schools, improving equity for students seeking higher education. Let's get to it!

I'm taking a breather next week while I'm on the road, so I'll be back in your inbox on March 26th with a fresh slate of job opportunities and social impact updates. Enjoy your week, and catch you soon!

~ Greg

What we're reading

Governors Island in New York is kicking off a series of climate tech projects that bring the public face to face with climate action. (Bloomberg)

  • Each of the projects receives fee-free space for research and development plus a grant to support their work.
  • More broadly, I just love what New York is doing to develop Governors Island as a climate center.
    • Education is a key focus: Stony Brook University is building a $700 million campus focused on climate, and there's a public high school focused on maritime education.
    • Any new development on the island is required to be free of fossil fuels.
    • And of course there are the aforementioned climate tech projects, hopefully the first of many that promote entrepreneurship and our planet's health in equal measure.
  • The next time I'm in NYC, I might have to take the ferry over to Governors Island. It's not too far from the Statue of Liberty.

Virginia has banned legacy preferences at public colleges, meaning students whose parents are alumni or donors will not be given preferential treatment in the admissions process. (WaPo)

  • After the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action policies, schools and stakeholders have been targeting legacy admissions as a way to improve merit-based admissions and diversity.
  • This type of legislation is gaining popularity around the country – multiple states are poised to take up the issue, and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle view it favorably.
  • It strikes me as a small, simple step to take to make college more equitable. There are a number of very popular public schools where this will make the most difference. Legacy has an outsize impact at top universities.

Job of the week

When it comes to social impact companies, you couldn't come up with a more on-the-nose name than Purpose, a self-styled social impact agency. They're like a cross between a change management consultancy and a marketing agency working at the intersection of branding, campaigns, and social impact.

If that sounds like your cup of tea and wish to stir in a dash of climate action, you'll want to check out their Senior Director, Global Climate Strategy role based in New York City. You'd be in charge of their revenue growth with their philanthropic and corporate partners, and on your days off, you can check out Governors Island and all the climate action activities it has to offer.

Community roundup

  • Oregon is on the cusp of overturning parts of Measure 110, which decriminalized small amounts of illicit drugs. Lawmakers passed HB 4002 earlier this month, and the Governor has signaled that she will sign it into law. (KOIN)
  • A man has been charged after allegedly smuggling hydrofluorocarbons, a greenhouse gas originally used as a refrigerant, from Mexico to the United States. This is a first of its kind prosecution for the Department of Justice after the U.S. made it illegal to import HFCs in 2020. (CNN)
  • Developers are getting creative with new solar projects, from buying up old golf courses to setting solar arrays afloat – like a project in New Jersey that supports 1,400 homes. (Bloomberg)
  • The Inflation Reduction Act invests $195 million into the National Park System to support climate resistance. For example, Biscayne National Park has received $1.1 million to help protect coral reefs. The amount will be distributed over 10 years. (National Parks Traveler)
  • Rivian unveiled two new, smaller electric SUVs last week, the R2 and R3. This continues a trend of EV startups releasing more expensive vehicles then pivoting to more affordable options to drive mass market appeal. The R2 is expected to start around $45,000 when it goes on sale in 2026. (CNN)
  • In the wake of high-profile police killings of Black Americans, legislatures around the country passed a series of reforms aimed at transparency and trust. Now crime is taking the spotlight, and police departments are getting more power back – like increased funding, lawsuit protection, and fewer surveillance restrictions. (WaPo)
  • The SEC is requiring publicly-traded companies to disclose their emissions, except for the main one: they don't have to disclose "Scope 3" emissions that result from the products they sell. (Grist)

Hot job opportunities

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Looking for a job? Submit your resume to our talent pool, and let social impact companies come to you.

Resource of the week

I scrounge the internet for all sorts of job opportunities, and most of them come from private companies or nonprofits. But you know who I often overlook? Those equally impactful government roles.

Before you shrug off the idea, my first engineering job was as a government employee. It was pretty great! Lots of intelligent, thoughtful people trying to make the world a touch better than it was the day before.

Seriously, I'd encourage you to check out USAJOBS, which is the landing page for finding a federal career. As an example, I searched for "climate" and turned up over 300 jobs across the country. Maybe you're one search away from an unexpected fit.

Test your knowledge

Last week, we took a trip to Death Valley where Lake Manly reemerged for the first time since 2005 – did you have the right year?

When it comes to B Corps, few are as recognizable as Ben & Jerry's. Even before B Corps were a thing, they made social impact a core component of their business: you can often find flavors dedicated to social causes if you want to indulge in some charitable work while you satisfy your sweet tooth.

There's one flavor in particular that really helped Ben & Jerry's take off, and you might not have realized that they were the ones who came up with it. Which flavor is it?

There's just one problem with this trivia question. Now I want ice cream...

Email me your guess, and I'll send one lucky winner a couple of One Work stickers!

I am rethinking how to find a doctor after Last Week Tonight's wild story about medical board oversight. You can find me on LinkedIn and Threads.

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Jamie Larson