Climate Change, Inclusion and Diversity

Celebrated globally on March 8, International Women’s Day recognizes the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. AECOM has devoted the Impact blog to featuring women leaders across the globe throughout the month of March. Join us here as we recognize the accomplishments of our staff around the world, embrace diversity and promote gender parity.

Did you know that February 2016 was the warmest month ever recorded, beating the one-month old record set in January 2016?

My team works to try and reduce human impact on the world’s climate caused by extensive burning of fossil fuels, agricultural practices and deforestation, as well as to adapt to the now inevitable impacts.

Luckily, I’m a glass-half-full kind of person, or I’d have given up long ago.

Work has always been a central part of my life, and I’m fortunate to have found interesting, inspiring and challenging jobs that have kept me busy and fulfilled. At the London Science Museum I produced shows on topics from solar power to the history of bicycles and fake photography and consulted with diverse museums on exhibitions, such as “The Science of Beauty” with London’s National Portrait Gallery. There, I also learned to effectively explain complex issues, including genetic disorders, nuclear fusion and climate change, to the public. I remain great friends with many of my Science Museum colleagues to this day, and we regularly catch up when I’m in London. Jobs like this, I’ve found, are full of the kinds of people you want to spend your time with.

While I’m told by some that I work too hard (not everyone appreciates my work-life balance), I play hard too — rock climbing in Yosemite, back-country skiing in Tahoe and trail running in the Marin Headlands. When I’m not working or spending time outdoors, I’m building relationships with organizations like CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) and the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Program, which has led to interesting trips all over the world meeting people dedicated to trying to solve the problem of climate change and adapt to the effects that we are seeing all around us.

My career at AECOM started in London with legacy firm FaberMaunsell. There, I worked with local, regional and national governments on sustainable design and construction solutions with a focus on renewable energy, eventually working on the first-ever UK Government technical planning policy guidance on climate change. I even made the case for AECOM to undertake its first carbon footprint calculation back in the mid-2000s. Sure, I worked hard, but it was all cool stuff.

What has benefitted me, I think, is my belief that I can. I’ve always been attracted to strong role models, like my grandmother (who taught me self-sufficiency by showing me how to grow my own food) and Marie Curie (a Polish-born French chemist and physicist who won two Nobel prizes in the early 20th century), so even when I was the only girl in my science A-level classes, the possibility that I couldn’t do what the boys could do never crossed my mind — it just served to reinforce my understanding that I was their equal.

Today, my success is deeply tied to my passion for the cause and faith in the work we are doing. Please help make sure that all the projects you do for AECOM minimize the impact they have on the planet and do your best to make them adaptive for the future.

We must act now — we have a planet to save!

claire_89x100Claire Bonham Carter, a principal with AECOM’s Buildings + Places business line, is a specialist in climate mitigation and adaptation planning with more than 18 years of experience for public- and private-sector clients. She manages AECOM’s partnerships with the CDP Global Cities program and the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Program, overseeing the 16 global cities AECOM works with.
LinkedIn: Claire Bonham Carter

Claire Bonham-Carter

Originally published Mar 17, 2016

Author: Claire Bonham-Carter

Claire Bonham-Carter is vice president of sustainability and resilience in AECOM's Buildings + Places business line in the U.S. West region.