This fall, the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions welcomes a new addition to our staff. Daniel Bellerose joins us as Program Assistant, helping not only with administrative details of the Center, but bringing some new experience and ideas on programming. Daniel is a recent graduate of Houghton College, where he studied International Development and participated in a variety of sustainability programs.
Daniel comes to the Center with a deep passion for working with climate issues that grew out of the intersection of his faith, and the first hand experience of seeing climate impacts. “I see climate change as an issue of justice. Having spent four and a half months working and studying in Tanzania I saw firsthand the effects that climate change was having on poor farmers there. Age-old traditions no longer made sense, as the seasons were rapidly changing, and drought or flooding became more significant threats. Having come from a relatively well-off, Western background, I understood that my actions have contributed to those problems.”
Coming from Quaker and Mennonite Church backgrounds, Daniel was particularly attracted to CSCS’s work as a catalyst for change in the Anabaptist tradition. “I love and appreciate the values of EMU, Goshen and MCC, and having the opportunity to work with each of the partners was just too good to pass up.” Work with different faith communities has brought an understanding of how difficult it is for people of faith to change their convictions on issues that are viewed as politically charged, such as climate change, but also how powerful voices can be if they do change their convictions.
From working as a sustainability assistant at Houghton College, to a Project Leader with Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, to founding and directing an interfaith environmental organization (the Global Symmetry Project), Daniel comes with a depth of experience uncommon for a recent college graduate. The Center especially welcomes his experience with advocacy organizations such as the Friends Committee on National Legislation, and his work with student focused programs such as the EcoLeaders program of the National Wildlife Federation. “I am excited about providing opportunities to students who are passionate about sustainability to further their careers and passions, through internships, on-campus programs, or media put out by the center.”
Daniel’s fit with the Center goes beyond his climate interests, as he embeds himself in the local culture of the Shenandoah Valley, “I love playing Appalachian folk music, classic rock and indie. My wife sings with me on many projects, and much of our time together is spent singing and learning new songs. I have been happily married for two years to my college sweetheart, and we live together with our dog Mandy and college friends close to EMU.”