The conversation surrounding environmental interests and planet preservation can undoubtedly be a formidable one, but voices like Marie Bradshaw Durrant’s (Class of 2010) offer a hopeful and refreshing perspective by emphasizing a balanced and practical approach to solving these issues. Besides being equipped with several degrees, Marie has a plethora of fascinating personal experiences that bolster her career in environmental law.
Marie admits she has always had an interest in energy and its impact on the environment, but it was her time in Chad, working for the American Peace Corps, and her time in Tanzania, researching on Mt. Kilimanjaro, that inspired her to pursue a career in environmental law. Marie’s ambitions led her to BYU Law School. Reminiscing on her time in law school, Marie recalls that although it was competitive and stressful, BYU Law helped her build a strong foundation, and enabled her to learn about balance and how to effectively navigate personal goals and career paths in the legal field. Beneficial externships and other incredible opportunities provided by the Law School allowed Marie to pursue her passions with confidence and competence.
Since her time at BYU Law, Marie has channeled her efforts into a variety of environmental endeavors, including the research and implementation of carbon capture—a revolutionary preventative technique that involves capturing CO2 emissions before they can enter the atmosphere and either storing them deep underground or reusing them for other industrial projects. There has been an increase in funding for carbon capture, as well as significant legislative changes to make room for other planet preservation initiatives. Marie’s expertise also allows her to be on the front lines of other long-term goals such as phasing out coal use and the transition towards renewable energy.
Even in her excitement for these projects, Marie says, “It is important to cooperate and work together to find a smart solution. Finding a middle ground is complex, but it is essential.” Because the goals of environmentalists and industrial organizations are often at odds, Marie and others involved in environmental law use their legal expertise to help find middle ground. As Marie mentions, the fight for these environmental issues is undeniably pressing, but it has to be balanced with the practicalities and logistics of what can realistically be done. Marie stresses the importance of cooperating to find smart, sustainable solutions.
The energy industry is a field with very few women—something that Marie is actively working to change. She is closely involved with the Women’s Energy Network (WEN), an organization striving to support and encourage women in the industry. WEN offers a space for women with a shared passion to collaborate and learn from each other. As mentioned by Marie, the Women’s Energy Network is incredible not only for the opportunities it provides, but because “it is empowering to see other women involved in the business.”
It’s clear that Marie’s success is backed by passion, dedication, and an intricate balance in life. When she’s not working, Marie loves to be outdoors. She spends a lot of time in Moab, Utah, hiking, river rafting, and running. As evidenced by her time abroad, travel is another one of Marie’s favorite hobbies. When she is working, she says, “as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized I’m actually pretty decent myself! Everybody has insecure thoughts, but you have to believe in yourself.”
In a practice area that is fraught with disagreement and controversy, Marie preaches consistency, compromise, and composure. “Believe in yourself regardless of external indicators,” she extorts, which sounds like just the right mantra whether she’s advising BYU Law’s 1Ls or working to save the planet.