Jowin Jung Looks to the Future: From Environmental Sustainability to Diversity and Inclusion

Jowin Jung knows she has a responsibility to help make this world a better place. As a parent of a young child and with another one on the way, Jung believes her role at the SFPUC has an impact to make a difference for future generations.

Jung is a Regulatory Specialist in the SFPUC’s Water Supply and Treatment Division. Her day-to-day varies as she coordinates with other SFPUC staff, City departments, and regulatory and resources agencies to ensure all prior authorizations are obtained to receive, store, utilize and dispose of any chemicals at the Water Supply and Treatment Division’s facilities. Jung understands her work may appear technical, but in essence, she is helping to save the environment.

“The present generation is essentially borrowing resources from future generation,” shared Jung. She explained that everyone has a have moral obligation to help keep the environment sustainable. Her job allows her to educate colleagues about environmental sustainability, something she is deeply passionate about. One quote she has found inspiration from is by Wangari Maathai, “The environment and the economy are really both sides of the same coin. If we can’t sustain the environment, we cannot sustain ourselves.”

“Our environment is what houses and helps our ecosystem grow and thrive. Without protecting and taking care of our environment, we’re putting so many lives at danger, such as animals, plants and crops, and even our own,” she shared. “From pollution prevention approaches that assist with protecting water, air and soil quality, to sharing how to better manage our waste streams, all of the ecosystems that make up our environment are deeply connected. Environmental issues have gradually become regular aspects of so many businesses. If the present generation can better manage and take care of natural resources, then water, energy, and biodiversity can be preserved for future generations.”

Jung shared one of her favorite parts of her job is helping people understand that regulatory compliance should not be daunting and that regulatory agencies are there to help businesses. She further shared, “It’s rewarding to help people understand that environmental regulations are there to improve the environment and safety conditions for the facility.”

In reflection of Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month, Jung shared about its significance to her as she pays tribute to the rich history and accomplishments of Asian American and Pacific Islander individuals (AAPI) to this country. “Generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders have enriched America’s history and been instrumental in this country’s success,” she reflected. “It means I examine my identity and figure out how I can be a better advocate for my community and family.”

Recent incidents of anti-Asian discrimination and violence have impacted her as she thinks about her children, other family members, and seniors. “I realized how many incidents are underreported. I feel especially worried about AAPI women and elders because some of them will have to live in fear due to recent attacks on the community,” Jung explained. However, she noted there are actions everyone can take to support to lift up AAPI communities. “Celebrate and have opportunities that offer education on our cultures, heritages, histories, cultural diversity, contributions and challenges,” she encouraged. “Additionally, reaching out to elected officials to work better at understanding and reporting incidents of discrimination, violence and crimes against the AAPI community.”

Jung noted how it is important to celebrate, recognize, and accept differences, because respecting both similarities and differences in other people opens opportunities for growth and new friendships. “Often when we see such differences, many of us bristle and try to and correct them. Differences can be seen as a source of conflict. However, recognizing differences can help eliminate blind spots that people might not have seen if the differences weren’t brought to light,” she shared. “I believe we become stronger when we listen to differences instead of jumping to quick judgement. Accepting people’s differences does not mean agreement. Those who are different from us have their own experiences and beliefs, but that does not compromise our own identity and positions.”