Greening the Airwaves: Andrew Bernier '07

Andrew Bernier ’07 stays in Ithaca an extra year and hosts a radio show about things he learned at IC. by George Sapio

When friends and strangers describe your baritone as “godlike,” you might get the idea a radio career ought to be in your future. “I’ve had this voice since I was 12,” says Andrew Bernier ’07. “People were like, ‘You should do radio!’ and I was like, ‘Okay!’ ”

But his voice is just one reason Andrew created and hosted Your Impact, a show about sustainability that began airing in fall 2007 on WICB. The other reason is that, well, he’s passionate about his subject.

The environmental studies major conceived the show during his senior year, when he applied for a start-up grant from MTV and General Electric. He didn’t get the grant, but created the show anyway after deciding to stay in Ithaca for a year after graduation. Andrew thought he could apply toward an important cause the skills he’d picked up as an undergraduate working as a WICB DJ. “One thing that gets overlooked a lot about sustainability is effective communication,” he says. “If you can’t convey the idea to somebody and make it easier to understand, then what’s the point?”

Your Impact features news segments on sustainability issues, interviews with community environmental leaders, and suggestions for simple, everyday things listeners can do to decrease their carbon footprint. Producing Your Impact was a learning experience, Bernier says. By the end of the year the program had doubled the number of shows airing per month (from one to two) and featured such segments as an interview with the founder of Diaper Duty, a local delivery service that picks up, cleans, and returns dirty cloth diapers in the name of protecting the environment. Sustainable Tompkins, an area organization that is leading the way in environmental, social, and fiscal sustainability education and programming, recognized Bernier’s efforts by naming the show one of the area’s “Signs of Sustainability” for 2007.

A new team is taking over the show from Bernier in the fall, but the eco-friendly IC grad will continue spreading the word about sustainability, this time as a seventh-grade earth science teacher in Phoenix with Teach for America. After that, he’s considering pursuing a radio career to further give voice to the fight to rein in climate change. “I just want,” he says, “to be able to communicate important messages to people.”