Inspired By: Pam Elardo
Once a quarter, our Seattle office invites a speaker — from any field or discipline — to share their work and vision. Called "Inspired By," the goal of the series is to learn something new and leave inspired. For our latest event, we invited Pam Elardo to share her story with us.
Pam Elardo has dedicated her entire life to environmental work. She was part of the first wave of women to graduate from the engineering program at Northwestern University and went on to become the Division Director at the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks Wastewater Treatment. In her role, she oversees a team of over 600 people in making sure Washington's water is clean and protected.
In a place like King County, clean water can be an easy thing to take for granted. But the reality is — over 2.6 billion people in our world live without proper sanitation.
In Pam's words: "That's over 1/2 of the world's population. That is not acceptable to me."
So in 1999, in addition to her full-time gig, Pam co-founded The Living Earth Institute — a small non-profit that is making a big difference. With an operating budget of only $40k a year, the Living Earth Institute builds wells and toilets in rural communities and provides job training and education to its residents. Pam & her team are changing the lives of thousands of people. And that's all done outside of her regular work day -- in her free time.
If you've ever used a toilet, you should watch Pam's talk.
Not only will she give you a new perspective on what clean water means, but her story and attitude will inspire head shaking (in a good way). The amount Pam has accomplished is staggering. I found myself making a list of what I could be doing to make our world a better place.
If you're interested in learning more, or to donate/volunteer, visit The Living Earth Institute website.