Institute at Brown for Environment and Society

A Celebration of Climate Innovation and Community: IBES Open House Highlights

On a sunny Saturday morning, students and families got an exciting look into IBES' research, curriculum, alumni engagement efforts, and more during the institute's 2023 Open House.

Sharing Innovation


Andrew Bernstein ’85, Merill Feather ’05, and Sarang Mani ’21 discuss sustainable investing, innovation, and the value of the Brown community.

At the heart of the October 14 event — held during Brown’s Family Weekend — was an hour-long panel discussion featuring distinguished Brown alumni: Sarang Mani ’21, a sustainable investor at J.P. Morgan; Andrew Bernstein ’85, founder and managing partner of Kearsarge Energy, L.P.; and Merrill Feather ’05, co-founder of The Regenerates. The panelists delved into what drives them to work at the forefront of innovative climate solutions, offered advice on future career opportunities, and emphasized the private sector’s vital role in combating climate change.

“ It’s the communities I’ve found both at Brown and beyond who, in the face of dire climate news, offer me the energy to keep working. ”

Sarang Mani '21

Bernstein expanded upon Brown’s role in shaping environmental leaders, noting that the Open Curriculum helps students cultivate a variety of interests and skills that are both applicable to and desirable in the climate job market. 

Feather offered a complementary message to Bernstein’s as she reflected on the vastness of the climate sphere. Because the environmental job market is so broad and relies on people across professional fields, "Every job is a climate job," she said.

“ Now that progress is really happening, we need to shine a light on that to keep people working on this. This is a lifelong effort that will take a lot of people in a lot of different areas. ”

Merrill Feather '05

The event, moderated by FSIcon co-president Zoe Kemper ’24, ultimately shed light on the crucial intersection of environmental consciousness and professional aspirations. Addressing over 90 parents and students, Mani recalled a key question that motivates his work: “What do I want the world, and my part within it, to look like 30 years from now?”

“What keeps me energized … is people like us, and the people who are here today,” Mani added.

Key Takeaways

Short on time to catch the panel discussion? Here are some insights:

  1. IBES launches its Alumni & Family Network, a new initiative accelerating our impact through partnerships and connections. Use the link to learn more and join over 70 community members who have already signed up.
  2. Renewable energy is now a thriving industry, providing cost-effective solutions, particularly in Republican-dominated regions of the Midwest.
  3. Storytelling is a climate solution in itself because the narratives we create influence our actions.  
  4. Investing in pioneering companies leads to transformation of traditional industries. 
  5. The private sector plays a crucial role in financing climate change goals and initiatives. Research indicates that approximately 80% of the required funding should be sourced from private contributions.
  6. The climate tech sector is booming, creating many early-stage opportunities for people to get involved in this field.
  7. Brown offers ample opportunities to engage in student organizations and extracurricular activities, which can help you build valuable networks and find mentors to explore post-graduate opportunities beyond the University.
  8. IBES is an interdisciplinary institute that welcomes diverse areas of study, empowering individuals with a wide-ranging skillset to prepare them for the challenges encountered in working in this sector.