Episode #
9
Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Shawn Taylor: Empowering Future Climate Leaders Through Land Restoration

In this Episode
Shawn Taylor
he/him
Site Supervisor
Landforce
Matt Scott
he/him
Manager, Storytelling & Engagement
“If you’ve got the wind in you, come and walk with me. You can walk out some of your frustrations, anger, and maybe find your next goal in life, just by walking.”
In this Episode
Shawn Taylor
he/him
Site Supervisor
Landforce
Matt Scott
he/him
Manager, Storytelling & Engagement

Shawn’s Story

Shawn Taylor is a crew leader and site supervisor at Landforce, helping to draw down climate emissions through land restoration, tree planting, and trail management. In addition to restoring and maintaining green spaces, Landforce is also providing meaningful employment and workforce development for new environmental management professionals who are marginalized and may have experienced incarceration. Landforce is preparing environmental stewards to feel confident and capable in careers that are helping to address climate change. Landforce crews plant trees every year around the Pittsburgh area, which helps to restore polluted lands and supports stormwater management, which helps with flooding and reducing pollution runoff before it goes into waterways. Landforce also has been personally meaningful for Shawn to find hope and guidance navigating his own path in life, and he is committed to investing in a new generation of climate leaders, to see new possibilities.

Discussion Questions

One of the most important things you can do when it comes to climate change is talk about it. 

  • Shawn shares that over his lifetime he has witnessed how Pittsburgh has changed for the better. “Thirty years ago, Pittsburgh had a lot of pollution, abandoned homes, crime,” which was part of the city’s history transitioning from an economy based in coal and steel. Now, Shawn says that Pittsburgh has been revived into a beautiful place to stay, and it is because people have invested in the community. What do you love about the community that you live in? How can you invest in beautifying efforts to make it better for the future?

  • Shawn grew up in Homewood, on the east side of Pittsburgh, which has a reputation for not being the best place to live. He credits his grandparents who took him to the wilderness, just north of Pittsburgh, to camp over summers and weekends. Shawn recalls how these experiences helped him to get out of the neighborhood and into nature. Now, Shawn is drawn to being in nature and says that it helps to clear his mind, walk-off frustrations, and reflect and set new goals. Have you had opportunities to get out of your everyday environment and into nature? What is the importance of immersing yourself in wild places in our natural world?

  • In nature, growing up, Shawn learned skills like how to chop wood and had access to tools to create and build. He shares the importance of having access to tools to learn hands-on skills: “I believe if you have tools, you will never be broke.” What are some tools that you use to create things that make your life easier? What is a hands-on skill that you would like to learn more about, and what do you think it could inspire?

  • During Shawn’s high school years, his family experienced financial hardship, and he felt he had to make some hard choices to make money for his family, which led him to get into trouble with the law. Shawn describes that it was personally challenging to find positive ways to get through, and that took away from the energy toward school, a career, and a positive future. As an adult, Shawn has been able to reflect on his experiences, set new goals, and decide that his future had to be on a different path than his past. Landforce has been part of that positive change. When thinking about your future and the impact you can make, what is a goal that you want to set that will help you get there? Who are people in your life who can help you be a positive change in your community?

Learn More

Learn about the solutions in this story.

Explore Climate Solutions 101, the world's first major educational effort focused solely on solutions. This video series combines Project Drawdown’s trusted resources with the expertise of inspiring voices from around the world: drawdown.org/climate-solutions-101.

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