Thanks for taking the time to cruise my site. If you would like to connect with me, please reach out! I would love to get to know you on a deeper level. Here’s a little about me, Natalie Lessa.
I’ve always understood there was something more. When I was eight years old, I would run around the front yard barefoot with my skin baking in the warm California sun. My mom would leave the sprinkler on for hours to make sure we had the perfect green lawn. It deeply upset me. Where was the run-off water going? Why doesn’t she care? I would stomp across the lawn in a frenzy, carrying anything that would hold water to catch the spill over – dish bowls, vases, watering pots – and stack them along the sidewalk to collect water for our indoor plants. No one told me to do this. No one taught me to care. It was a part of me, and that same passion for preserving our resources is still very much alive.
People ask how I got so into environmental work. I point to a field trip around the time of the lawn incidents. We went to a grocery store to learn about the shipping and receiving of food from the store and how the material is recycled in a big container crusher. I was amazed at the huge amounts of food that wasn’t being sold (40+ billion pounds in the US per year directly to landfill). I think kids understand our connection to natural resources even more than adults do… Still to this day, my fascination lies in developing effective waste recovery programs in grocery stores, restaurants, schools, office buildings, and any other community waste I can get my hands in.
For the past 3 years I have been employed with R3 Consulting Group, Inc. as a Senior Project Analyst. I’ve had the pleasure of getting my hands dirty in lots of impactful waste projects – from conducting waste audits, writing zero waste plans, disaster debris management plans, developing creative solutions for California recycling and organics legislation, contract management, State reporting, grant writing, and overseeing firm marketing and leads. Prior, I completed an intensive 10-month fellowship in San Francisco so I could get my foot in the green door with Climate Corps Bay Area. Here, I taught preschoolers (18 month olds to 4 years olds) across the diverse social setting of Alameda County how to reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot (pictured above). This taught me that anyone is capable of learning how to sort there waste (hint: the key is to make it convenient and fun!). In college, I found myself deeply more interested in internships than sitting in a classroom. I kept myself very busy learning from experiences in student-elected and paid positions, mostly in various leadership roles. I explored human behavior and how to incentivize people to make their lives and consumption patterns more sustainable.
This is the stuff that makes my heart beat and I will stop at nothing to shift the metaphorical tide so our physical one doesn’t. Are you with me?