Volunteer Spotlight: Dakota Stormer
By Elise Koepke
Dakota Stormer is a lifelong climate activist and project leader with CCL’s Sugarland, Katy, and Houston chapters. He holds a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a Masters in Energy Policy and Climate from Johns Hopkins University. Dakota uses his environmental background to stay engaged as a climate advocate in local organizations and lead sustainability initiatives in and outside of CCL.
“I also serve as an innovation facilitator for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals innovation lab, UNLEASH, and enjoy helping our chapters think of new ways to collaborate to fight climate change together,” he says.
On top of his work with CCL, Dakota has bridged his engineering background with his passion for sustainability to develop a unique climate solution. In August 2019, he launched Footprint App, an interactive climate education tool that enables users to track their carbon footprints and move closer to achieving their sustainability goals. You can log your daily activities in the app, which generates a report of your average carbon footprint and shows you how you stack up on the leaderboard. Schools and corporations can compare stats within their organizations, creating a little friendly competition to encourage the development of sustainable habits.
We caught up with Dakota to learn a little more about his journey with CCL and how his app is helping to make an impact.
How and when did you first get connected with CCL?
I joined CCL in early 2018 during the regional conference in Houston, Texas. Marie Miglin found me posting on Facebook about a project called the Climate Challenge, where I was getting stories from individuals across the world about how climate change impacts their lives, and she invited me to come share about the program at the regional conference.
What did you like about CCL?
I love seeing so many passionate people coming together to make an impact on climate change regardless of political affiliation. It gives me hope that we can find a united front to address climate change together through policy and legislation as well as through education and activism.
Tell us about your main efforts or projects within CCL.
Funny enough, my company, Footprint App, Inc., was formed through my work with CCL. When discussing with chapter leaders and members about their challenges, I learned that membership engagement and retention can be difficult amidst political uncertainty and many legislative barriers. We hosted an “ideation session” with a group of CCL youth members and leaders to think about ways to engage the membership and help them track their collective impact—and thus, the Footprint app was born.
The student members also realized that the application would be useful in the classroom, too—so Footprint App, Inc. has pivoted towards the EdTech arena, offering a suite of curriculum, professional development, and a software for students to collaboratively quantify and reduce their impact on the environment together while learning about climate change.
What keeps you motivated to do this work?
I love seeing the impact this tool makes in the classroom. After two years of iteration, testing, and improvement, we’ve seen students be able to reduce their carbon footprints by 20% on average—and they enjoy the fun, collaborative challenges we offer in the application, too!
Got a suggestion for our Volunteer Spotlight series? Send the name, chapter, and some brief info about the volunteer to Flannery Winchester at email@example.com.
Elise Koepke is a communications intern with Citizens’ Climate Lobby. She is a recent graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she studied Earth Science.