Environmental stewardship and spirituality

Haifa, Israel

Hannah Doherty '10, Operations Analyst

Major: Environmental Studies

Concentration: Geoscience


Graduate Program: Masters of Environmental Management, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University

Employer: Baha'i World Centre

For my Environmental Studies Senior Seminar, our final project could be on any subject of our choosing. I decided to use this opportunity to take a break from my academic focus, which was water resources, to explore the potential connection between young environmentalists' passion for environmental stewardship and their relationship with religion/spirituality, two things very dear to my heart. I so thoroughly enjoyed the process of this study, I remember remarking after my presentation, how I hoped that one day I would be able to combine these two passions of mine - the environment and faith.

To my complete delight, the opportunity presented itself two years later when I was working at the Baha'i World Centre (BWC) in Haifa, Israel. The BWC is the spiritual and administrative centre for all Baha'is, a faith of which I am a member. Having made it a point to get involved with water conservation for the organization in whatever way I could, when the opportunity presented itself, I was recruited to be the first staff member of the Centre's newly created Office of Water and Energy Conservation as Operations Analyst. In this role, I interfaced with an international staff, monitoring water and energy consumption and working with others to inspire resource stewardship.

Currently, I am studying water resources management at Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment, expected to graduate in 2016. Since the start of the program, I have continuously been reminded of the stellar preparation I had through my Environmental Studies degree from Mount Holyoke. Though I am no longer at the BWC, the path of mixing both my faith and my academic passions continue, with this past summer designing and facilitating a five-day workshop delving into water stewardship at one the leading Baha'i schools in the United States.

After graduating, I will work at the intersection of water resources planning and inter-basin cooperation and conflict.