Marley Kimelman
Marley Kimelman, S/SSH’18, visited a community garden in the Philippi, a township of Cape Town, South Africa, where he interviewed workers there and blogged about his visit to help increase visibility for the city’s green map initiative. Photo courtesy of Marley Kimelman

by Greg St. Martin

Marley Kimelman, S/SSH’18, spent his first co-​​op expe­ri­ence at North­eastern immersed in one inter­na­tional city’s green ini­tia­tives and envi­ron­mental projects. He learned them, walked them, pitched them, and blogged them.

Kimelman, a rising third-​​year stu­dent and com­bined major in envi­ron­mental studies and inter­na­tional affairs, was on co-​​op from Jan­uary to July in Cape Town, South Africa, in the city’s Envi­ron­mental Resource Man­age­ment Depart­ment. He said his proudest achieve­ment was helping to rein­vig­o­rate a stag­nant water her­itage project. The city wanted to show­case water appre­ci­a­tion and its impor­tance to the city’s his­tory, and Kimelman’s boss tapped him and a col­league to design an ini­tia­tive that would accom­plish this objective.

Ulti­mately, they devel­oped a walking tour across the city fea­turing stops at water tun­nels, dams, treat­ment plants, reser­voirs, and a yet-​​to-​​be-​​built museum. Kimelman con­ducted exten­sive research and wrote a fea­si­bility report out­lining the project, including the route, the budget, and the eco­nomic impact, as well as his own recommendations.

The goals of the project, he said, are two-​​fold: to explore the city’s rich water his­tory and to raise aware­ness for pro­tecting and con­serving water resources.

That was the coolest part of the co-​​op, working on this project every day from start to finish,” said Kimelman, who passed the project along to another city employee upon com­pleting his co-​​op. “It’s been given the go-​​ahead, and it was very rewarding to be a part of it.”

Public out­reach
Beyond this project, Kimelman was involved in the city’s green ini­tia­tives in many other ways. He attended city meet­ings on sus­tain­ability issues and did out­reach to pro­mote these efforts to busi­ness and com­mu­nity stake­holders as well as to the public at large.

Kimelman noted that his co-​​op in Cape Town came as the city pushed to rein­vest in and attract more people to its green spaces, one of which is Trafalgar Park. He said this park, located in the Cape Town suburb of Wood­stock, has been under­uti­lized and was fenced off from local busi­nesses. Part of his job was going door-​​to-​​door pitching busi­ness owners on the ben­e­fits of investing in the park, some tips for which he sought from other thriving city park man­agers. He also worked on a pro­gram to bring a day­long out­door class­room in the park for teachers and stu­dents from nearby schools.

Marley Kimelman visited Spier Wine Farm's bird of prey rehab center
Marley Kimelman vis­ited Spier Wine Farm’s bird of prey rehab center, and he blogged about the center’s work. The wine farm also uses bio­dy­namic agri­cul­tural prac­tices. Photo cour­tesy of Marley Kimelman

Green blog
During Kimelman’s co-​​op, another unex­pected oppor­tu­nity arose: bringing increased atten­tion to the Cape Town Green Map, which high­lights the city’s many green spaces and sus­tain­ability projects. To help pro­mote the map, he started a blog that fea­tured his first-​​person accounts of vis­iting loca­tions such as a recy­cling facility, an organic com­posting farm, and a wine farm that uses bio­dy­namic agri­cul­tural prac­tices. The blog, he said, helped “bring a voice” to these inter­esting places, and his posts were pro­moted via social media.

Kimelman explained that he gained invalu­able expe­ri­ence on this co-​​op, par­tic­u­larly with regard to learning how a city’s sus­tain­ability pro­grams go from incep­tion to imple­men­ta­tion. He’s looking for­ward to applying his new knowl­edge in the class­room this fall and in his role as director of mar­keting and public rela­tions for the Husky Envi­ron­mental Action Team, the stu­dent orga­ni­za­tion also known as HEAT.

I learned more than I ever thought I could,” Kimelman said of his co-​​op, adding that the expe­ri­ence opened his eyes to other work oppor­tu­ni­ties in the envi­ron­mental sector beyond city gov­ern­ment. He pointed in par­tic­ular to a poten­tial career with an envi­ron­mental law firm, a social enter­prise, or a non­govern­mental organization.

Originally published in news@Northeastern on July 27, 2015.