So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

Feb 28, 2020

by Daniel Parkhurst

Clean Air Carolina says goodbye to Policy Manager Daniel Parkhurst.

Working for a nonprofit can be challenging. Often you feel like a scrappy bunch of idealists working against institutions and companies with hundreds of times the staff and thousands of times the money in fights that can feel nearly impossible to win.

But when you are able to win, when you can head home knowing for certain that you’ve made a difference, a positive difference, those are the days that keep me coming back.

This will be my last week as Policy Manager at Clean Air Carolina. I leave with gratitude for the work I’ve been able to do and for the friends and colleagues I’ve been able to work with. I’ve been challenged by the work, but have loved almost every minute of it. From working with community organizers to taking on billion-dollar companies and coming out on top, I’ve been able to do work I believe in and work I know has made a difference.

During my short time here we’ve been able to get pollution controls installed on major sources of emissions, improve the construction equipment used by the state to reduce their pollution, support protections that will limit human exposure to toxic substances, and work towards transitioning North Carolina’s electric sector towards 100% renewables by 2050. We’ve been able to do meaningful work.

There is still so much to do. There are so many projects that need to be completed and policies that need to be passed. Climate change remains a looming crisis. We need to become more resilient in preparation for the next extreme weather event. Dirty fuels still power our homes. Sources of dirty air still threaten our health and the health of our families and children. But I’ve been able to work with a team of folks that are up to the task. I was able to work with rockstars at Clean Air Carolina and across North Carolina.

Nonprofits are meant to make a positive difference in the world and to stand up for core values. At Clean Air Carolina, my work has always been guided by air quality, environmental justice, and climate change. And I know that this team has made differences in all those areas, and will continue to.

Leaving is bittersweet, but I am so thankful to the entire team I’ve had the privilege to work with at Clean Air Carolina, thankful for the wider environmental movement in North Carolina, and thankful for all of you.