jon headshotThe Masters in Sustainability program is pleased to welcome Jon Clift as the new Associate Director of Outreach. Jon graduated from Duke University with a Masters of Environmental Management from the Nicholas School of the Environment and has a background in design, marketing, and natural resources. In this new role, he will work to create connections for students that spark ideas and reveal undiscovered passions and opportunities for innovation.

1.  How did you become interested in issues related to sustainability?

Initially, through fishing. As far back as I can remember I’ve been really interested in the sport. That led to an interest in fish and their habitat, then the ecosystem, then our impact and so on.

2.  What are the most pressing sustainability issues we face?

One word, from my resource bias: water. Population growth, especially in urban areas, and the likelihood of increasingly extreme events associated with climate change pose real threats. With these threats in mind, we start to see the absence of water where people, industry and the environment need it. The world won’t run out of water on shorter than geologic time scales, but it will become more difficult to manage it for our needs. We have to focus on adaptive management, innovative policy solutions, and examine closely municipal water supply and our aging infrastructure. It will take a collaborative, interdisciplinary effort in preparation for the future.

3.  How has your background prepared you for your role with the Master’s program?

I come from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke, so I understand the perspective of the student. I also understand the environmental issues all of us in the program are continuing to learn about. Additionally, I have a design background, and that knowledge and the ability to engage with outside organizations is proving to be a great asset.

4.  What excites you about the Masters in Sustainability program?

The students. I can’t wait to see the innovation they bring to the program and the people they become in their time here.