The Austin, TX Office
Rainforest Partnership was once based at an office in Austin, Texas. They worked in a very different way than we do today, conversing and collaborating in a work environment that cannot yet be matched in the virtual world. They did not use many of the softwares we are now utilizing and leveraging to reach people and collaborate across the world, such as Slack, Monday.com, Webflow and Salesforce, and were without the many key partnerships expanding our impact further today. The ways people conversed about rainforests were not the same either. But what has carried through all these years is the very same intention, hope, and drive to make a difference on behalf of rainforests and our planet.
Coming together in community and mission
I recently traveled to Austin for a trip with the intention to both work with and meet for the first time many current and past team members still in the area. I saw the office where our team used to work; I met Hazel, the only board member to have been on the board since our organization’s founding, in-person; I had lunch with a former board member; I watched a film 7 years in the making from a trip to a number of our partner communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon, because the filmmakers, once working directly on the day-to-day needs of our organization, came to a Rainforest Partnership gathering at Niyanta’s house.
Meeting all of these people who were once, or are still, a part of our team, some having been involved since the very early years, gave me the opportunity to gain a much greater understanding of what Rainforest Partnership used to be, why those people chose our organization, and how, through the work my team does now, we have remained a beacon of hope for them and others who are deeply attached to rainforests and/or fearful of a world without them.
Working in a virtual world
Here I am now, a decade and a half after the inception of our organization, most often in Boston, MA, working remotely amongst an amazingly diverse team spread across our habitable world. It is quite contrary to the stereotypical perception I had once of a rainforest conservationist to be sitting behind a computer most days of the year, focusing my work and attention on a place far from my home. Nonetheless, I have the opportunity to make a real impact while living in the place that is best for me at this time.
While I value immensely the incredible sense of community I felt in Austin (and at New York Climate week), I am equally aware of what being a remote team enables us to do. Being remote gives us powers we once did not have to bring in talented and passionate team members wherever they choose or need to live and at whatever life stage they are in, to represent a wide range of perspectives stemming from our diverse backgrounds and current locations, to create like-minded, action-oriented communities in any city where team members are located, and to stay connected with our past team members and network anywhere in the world that they may be at any hour of the day that they are online. It means that our team can have flexible working hours, collaborate asynchronously when our working hours don’t overlap, and work from wherever we decide to work, travel, explore, or visit.
It is giving every one of you reading this blog the opportunity to directly impact rainforests, whether this be your investment of time, skills and knowledge, an instant donation, the connections you can create for us, or even in ways we have not yet thought of. Partnership and collaboration inquiries are encouraged 100% of the time. Liking and commenting on our socials or following us may seem small, but it goes a long way in creating the global traction we need to end deforestation together.
Why I am here
I came into this organization as a recent college graduate with a strong desire to make a difference for the planet in the best way that I could, not knowing how, and not knowing very much at all about rainforests. So, I applied to be a volunteer at Rainforest Partnership. They met me where I stood, opening a pathway and a lifelong community. Suddenly, I had endless opportunities to learn, challenge and understand my professional skills, put my ideas and energy into a purpose I am passionate about, and be part of a large-scale, long-term, and achievable solution. With time, I was given the opportunity to work here full-time.
Having now spent almost two years with Rainforest Partnership, one of the things I like most about the work I do is helping others find their way into our organization like I did, or sometimes in very different ways, based on their professional goals, skills, interests, and time. It has already brought me so many new connections and friendships with people all over the world in almost all industries, with the added benefit of learning a great deal from everyone I am able to collaborate with not just about rainforests and science, but also website design and development, marketing, SEO, recruitment, project management, technology, AI, data analysis, strategic planning, partnership development, GIS, publishing, graphic design, videography, content creation, event planning, organizational behavior, finance and more.
By the very nature of how our organization has been built, we have a place for all skillsets, for those ready and willing to be self-starters, problem solvers, and persistent drivers of impact and change. We work as a team, as part of a movement, along with our network, on a mission to change the trajectory for rainforests.
Time is our most precious resource
Putting everything aside, we don’t have a choice but to keep rainforests standing. Every contribution of time by our committed team members is what helps us build the future that supports harmony between humans and nature. It is what drives funding to carefully designed high-impact projects and sustainable ventures led by rainforest communities. It is what brings us into connection with all who are passionate about making a difference.
We have the ability
Remote work can detach us from the physical world, just as it can connect us to many amazing in-person, real-life experiences with people driven by the same passion. So, too, technological innovation can neglect the needs of our planet or it can drive deeper understanding and more powerful tools for nonprofits like us – shoutout to software companies offering nonprofit rates; it goes a really long way. We can let destructive economies persist or we can force destructive players out of our economies with more sustainable business plans and longer-sighted compassionate ideas worth far greater long-term value to investors, all the while building a new economic paradigm that faces far less risk from climate disasters which we can all benefit from.
We can only succeed if we do this together, using all of our different skill sets and ideas in ways that support the longevity of all critical natural ecosystems, including rainforests.
To apply to volunteer at Rainforest Partnership, click here.
If you can’t volunteer at this time, giving a donation of any amount is a simple way to make an immediate impact.