The Role Empathy & Compassion Play in Environmental Science

My name is Annie Weaver and I’m honored to be a new contributor at PowerHouse Growers! Since I’ve started my internship here, I’ve really begun to reflect on the choices and experiences I’ve encountered in my life that have directed me towards an environmental science path. My nature-loving ways emerged when I was a toddler, when my bird-watching parents started taking my sisters and me on rugged camping adventures throughout the Pacific Northwest. My early exposure to the wilderness instilled in me an undying love and respect for our Earth and an incessant determination to solve our planet’s problems. My childhood was probably the root of my passionate motivation to have a career in environmental studies, while my college education and study-abroad experience were the sources for my climate-change direction within the field.

I grew up in a somewhat unconventional household where my parents stressed the importance of resourcefulness and respect for our planet. Instead of going to Disney World, I went camping to remote areas throughout Oregon and California. I wasn’t allowed to watch cartoons and stay inside all day playing Barbies; instead, I played in the dirt in my backyard or went searching for frogs in the creek in my neighborhood. My identical twin and I were essentially the “tree-hugger” twins.


“I believe that my being a twin is the source for my compassion and empathy towards not only other people, but towards the planet as well.”

Being an identical twin has really taught me to value the importance of teamwork and it’s truly the core of my identity. I believe that my being a twin is the source for my compassion and empathy towards not only other people, but towards the planet as well.

My undergraduate career at the University of Oregon involved courses in both environmental studies and business administration because I wanted to couple my two interests to create sort of a sustainability specialization. It wasn’t until my junior year when I realized that environmental science and learning about climate change were my true passions within the environmental field. I participated in a unique study-abroad backpacking trip my senior year of college that really opened my eyes to field research and hands-on data collection. This journey of mine took place in the remote landscapes of Patagonia; it was here where I realized I needed to go to graduate school to deepen my understanding of the environmental sciences.

I’m planning on returning to school in the next year so that I can continue my education in environmental science and eventually earn a PhD in the subject. My ultimate career goal after school would be to work as a climate scientist at an organization such as NOAA or NASA so that I can be a part of the movement combating the Earth’s greatest challenge. In the meantime, working as a researcher and contributor at PowerHouse Growers will allow me to share some insight about sustainable solutions to our readers as well as gain some experience in the sustainability industry. I’m excited to become a contributor at such an extraordinary organization!

About The Author

is a recent graduate of the University of Oregon where she earned a Bachelor of Science in environmental studies and a minor in business administration. Growing up discovering the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest gave her a passion for both conservation and sustainability. She hopes to expand her knowledge of climate change by earning a Master’s degree in environmental science and specializing in biogeochemistry. As a foodie, her interests lie in cooking and baking, as well as traveling, camping, and exploring the outdoors.