Leah Bridle is an intern with Landesa’s Climate Change team, advising on the risks and opportunities of carbon markets. This summer she focused on arriving at actionable recommendations for the organization, given Landesa’s expertise and mission to advance gender-equitable and socially inclusive land rights. Originally from the Midwest, Leah is entering her second and final year pursuing a Master’s of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.
What brought you to Landesa?
Working with Landesa was an opportunity to spend the summer actively contributing to a team with a clear focus on tackling poverty and climate change through land rights. I appreciate global organizations that bring uniquely influential expertise and a strong track record achieving policy change in partnership with local community advocates. In Landesa’s case, this aligns well with my personal values and career aspirations: supporting the rights and resilience of rural communities, particularly for women, youth, Indigenous Peoples, and other local communities living land-based livelihoods.
What was your favorite part of interning at Landesa?
Engaging with Landesa colleagues in a consultative, inclusive, and evidence-informed way, from Seattle to India, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Kenya. I appreciate the openness to understanding and responding to complex challenges where there are no simple answers or checklists, but serious risks and complexities to responsibly designing, implementing, and financing good work.
What is something you’ve learned so far?
Beyond a lot of new knowledge about the fascinating and layered topic of voluntary and compliance carbon markets, my work this summer more generally reaffirmed what I learned from my experience in the research world. Good intentions are not enough, and there are no shortcuts to thinking critically and listening carefully while working in local communities, acting in policy arenas, and advising even well-meaning corporations and national governments.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I love the natural beauty of the Bay Area and its proximity to my family and friends. You can find me playing volleyball, walking the hilly neighborhoods appreciating all of the beautiful drought-tolerant gardens, dogs on walks, and free-range outdoor cats, or making mugs at my neighborhood ceramics studio.
What do you hope to do moving forward?
I’m pivoting from a career managing impact evaluations with development economists to focus more directly on addressing the causes and consequences of climate change. At least the next seven years are a critical inflection point for the international community: to make serious strides reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting natural ecosystems, and addressing socio-economic inequalities. I hope to help lead an effective and thoughtful team playing an active role improving climate resilience and sustainable land use.
Describe your vision for a better world.
Where people can live their own conception of “the good life” in community, without harming others, and in more healthy relationship with natural ecosystems.