For over ten years, I have changed broken systems to make them work for the common good. And that's what makes me feel alive. I was born during a civil war and grew up in a country with a damaged economy. Learning about and harnessing policy opened my eyes to new ways to deliver change and fight for what I believe are the most pressing issues in our generation.
In 2017 I began working with Stanford alum Tom Steyer on building an effective climate justice policy plan that was community participatory. In 2018, I traveled through 48 US states and met with hundreds of investors, innovators, civic leaders, and climate activists. What I saw was scary. Rising sea levels depleted drinking water in southern Florida, displacing thousands. Fires scorched the West. Floods across the Midwest drowned crops, making farming harder and food scarcer. Increased maritime access to previously frozen Alaskan waters heightened foreign tensions and undermined our national security. This experience shifted my focus to climate justice. Along with other climate leaders, we built an investment platform that has been providing the expertise and capital necessary to scale vital and urgent climate solutions.
Climate change is more than a national, unilateral issue. It requires a collaborative international approach. In 2018, I started working with El Salvador's Vice President Felix Ulloa on a 35-year plan to tackle forced migration caused by climate change. That same year, along with the Minister of Labor, Rolando Castro, we began a pilot project to train Salvadorans in green and sustainable infrastructure. We drafted a plan to invest billions of dollars in renewable energy and create thousands of high-paying jobs. Even with the pandemic hitting our economy, El Salvador remains committed to our goal. It is set to become the second country in Central America, after Costa Rica, to achieve decarbonization and reach net-zero emissions by 2055. For so many years, El Salvador has been stigmatized in the region for the increasing number of gang-related violence. Still, I'm more than confident that we are set to become regional leaders in renewable energy and the transition to net zero.
Over the summer, I worked in the Executive Office of the President Nayib Bukele and Vice President Felix Ulloa of El Salvador. I advised principals on issues related to Central American integration, political communications, clean tech, and climate change, among others. I worked with the legislative branch to successfully pass a law allowing the introduction of electric vehicles and charging stations free of taxes. This law is one early step in the process of preparing the infrastructure for the next generation of transportation. The passage of this law proved to me that the government is ready and committed to joining the green revolution. My time in El Salvador helped demonstrate the impact that one Stanford graduate student can effect through policy.
This experience was possible with the support of the MIP team, funding through the MIP Summer Internship Stipend program, the Stanford family, and the Executive Office of the President and Vice President of El Salvador. I'm confident that this is just the beginning of a fundamental transformation that is urgent. The task of combatting global warming is monumental and complex. I am committed to climate justice and have joined the fight.