Matthew Taylor is a senior policy analyst for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. His work involves many facets of sustainability and environmental policy, including managing teams responsible for the administration of sustainability programs, helping divisions learn how to overcome budgetary shortfall issues, and understanding how the state will implement new federal regulations. However, he has not had any formal training in environmental policy, so when he heard about the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to come to UC Berkeley and engage with some of the world’s foremost environmental experts.
In his time in the Beahrs ELP, Matthew found that what he learned from his fellow participants was just as valuable as what he learned from the instructors. He had the chance to engage and collaborate with environmental leaders from around the world, including two participants who represented their respective countries at the Paris Climate Agreement. He also got to work with people like Diego Tabilo, Executive Director of Fundación Tierral Austral (Tierra Austral Landtrust), who is making huge gains in land conservation in Chile. As many environmental issues are global and crosscut demographics, Matthew and his colleagues were facing similar problems, yet their variety of backgrounds and experiences led them to different solutions. With fellow participants who had rediscovered species thought extinct for over two decades, or who represented organizations working with Indigenous and traditional communities across the world, it was easy for him to tell that the people he was surrounded by were leaders in their respective fields. The opportunity to learn from and form connections with them was unique and invaluable to Matthew.
After completing the three-week program in 2019, Matthew was able to lead the successful passage of new legislation in Tennessee, which works to encourage food donation in order to address food waste. This legislation expands donor liability protections by allowing direct donation, aligning state protections with federal protections provided through the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act, as well as improving state legislation relating to feeding food waste to animals. Matthew believes that participation in the Beahrs ELP provided him with the confidence and experience necessary to meet with members of the state legislature and make the policy change sell to them.
Matthew Taylor's Testimonial
"Of all the amazing academics and professionals we had the opportunity to connect with through the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program, I was most blown away by the expertise, knowledge, and experience of my colleagues in the program. That is by no means meant to take away from the lecturers/presenters, which included Nobel Laureates. However, we had participants that represented their respective countries at the Paris Climate Agreement, that had rediscovered species thought extinct for over 2 decades, that are advocating for environmental protection and issues in countries with limited legacy of governmental role in environmental protection. The quality of the students in the program was unbelievable and I was so incredibly honored to have the opportunity to connect and learn from them. The professors and lecturers certainly share incredible knowledge and wisdom with Beahrs ELP participants, but the opportunity to connect with legitimate world class professionals in the environmental and conservation fields is something you won’t experience anywhere else."