What Do Our ENVS Students/Alums Do? Read Some Recent and Other Posts 

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  • September 22, 2019 at 3:42pm

    It is now the the third week of my second to last semester at Lewis & Clark. It seems a bit strange refer to time as a countdown, but that feels like the most honest way to present it. Everything feels like preparation, the last push before it’s all real. This rings especially true for my ENVS work. For ENVS majors, and many others, this moment in time brings part of our capstone preparation, and next semester will bring the capstone, our real-world preparation? Well, I guess we will see. 

    Capstone preparation takes shape as ENVS 350: Environmental Theory. Our first two weeks were focused on defining theory. Through readings, discussions, and even a panel with a professors across disciplines I developed a deeper and clearer idea of the ever so intimidating theory (Proctor 2019, Dunlap 2008). Our third week, however, lead us to something old rather than new. We returned to a conversation many of us had together three years ago, in Introduction to Environmental Studies. This past week we tapped back into the world of Ecotypes as we did when we entered the program. We read works on the Ecotypes method and similar tools, took the test for ourselves, and reflected on our answers as a class. 

    I had never applied Ecotypes to theory before this week and at first it was difficult to put how the two are inherently linked into words, mainly because I could not put the idea of theory into words. The Ecotypes test reflects one’s environment related ideological leanings back to them. Putting a name to these leanings can assist in one’s understanding of what and why certain theories may be more attractive to them than others. My ideological leanings will shape my upcoming capstone, as they will influence how plausible, viable, and appealing the theories I come across are to me. 

    Below are my most recent Ecotypes results. Surprisingly, they have not changed much over the years. I continue to lean towards “big” action, “old” forms of knowledge (just barely), and ideas of the “nonhuman” place. However, I have apparently become more “egalitarian” since freshman year. I expect my tendency to value institutional action and egalitarian policies will shape my framework by bringing local, community sustainable development movements and agendas to the forefront of my research.

    References

    Proctor, James D. “EcoTypes: Exploring Environmental Ideas, Discovering Deep Difference.” Journal of Environmental Studies & Sciences Under review (September 1, 2019).

    Dunlap, Riley E. “The New Environmental Paradigm Scale: From Marginality to Worldwide Use.” The Journal of Environmental Education 40, no. 1 (September 2008): 3–18. https://doi.org/10.3200/JOEE.40.1.3-18.

  • September 30, 2019 at 3:23pm

    My senior year at Lewis and Clark College has recently begun, which not only means this is my last year as an undergrad but also that preparation for my senior capstone has started. Unfortunately I am unable to start this process with the majority of the class of 2020 Environmental Studies majors due to changes within the major, so I am doing an independent study (also known as ENVS 499) to have a better understanding of the research I will be conducting in the spring. To start this independent study off, each ENVS 499 student was assigned to complete the ENVS Capstone MadLibs form by the first group meeting, which allowed Professor Proctor as well as ourselves to have an idea of what we will be researching as well as how it will structured. Right now I am personally interested in resource scarcity, more specifically freshwater resources, and the best policies and technology we can use to manage it. ENVS related papers and projects, including a senior thesis, is structured via a situated hourglass, where we begin our work through broader questions and notions and then gets more situated and specific as we go down the hourglass.

    The next task we were assigned to do was to compile some sources via a Zotero library, a program where your own scholarly references can be stored. When compiling articles it is best to use good literature that has been cited multiple times, as it increases the credibility of that reference. I managed to compile a few sources discussing freshwater resources and management strategies, including desalination, which is the process of creating freshwater from saline water. Professor Proctor also asked us how we will be documenting our work for ENVS 499, with the option to create a digital scholar site or submit PDFs of each post we create. I decided to continue using this DS site as I would like to enhance my WordPress skills.

    This will be the first post of many for this independent study. As the semester progresses, so will my progress for my capstone. I am looking forward to narrowing down my exact topic of interest as well as my situated context/contexts.

  • September 29, 2019 at 1:12pm

    I found myself lost between the terms sustainable, resilient, even, and equitable. Sustainability has conjured into a concept of equity in the UN sustainable development goals, but is that what it is about at its core? Resilience is crucial to the future of cities, as future generations (and us today) will have to have resilience in the face of economic, social, and environmental hardships. However, it does not necessarily acknowledge general, day-to-day wellbeing as a priority. Even development and equitable development seem similar in that they address the imbalance development to date has caused between nation-states, regions, socioeconomic classes, races, and other identities. But, I am unsure if these ideas encapsulate the environmental impact of human actions as much as sustainability does. All concepts have benefits and flaws. Most of all, I chose sustainable development and sustainability as my phrases of choice because of the amount of literature on the subject. Sustainability, maybe because of its adaptability as an idea, is used most often in discussions on how the world can respond to population growth and the challenges that it will bring. 

    This brings me to another point. I am basing my capstone topic on the rapid population growth our world is expected to experience in the coming years and specifically the rapid growth of urban areas. Cities are projected to hold 68 percent of our world’s population by 2050. This will have social, economic, and environmental impacts. The UN believes sustainable development will help mitigate and respond to these impacts. Some believe resilience is the only way forward because changes will never stop. While others believe that development’s costs and benefits should be distributed proportionally throughout neighborhoods, classes, nations, and/or the world. I agree with all of these ideas and thought that discussing sustainability in terms of the triple bottom line would be enough, but I am now worried that sustainable development can be inclusive enough as I would like. I really don’t want to make my question more verbose, but it looks like it may have to get worse before it gets better.

  • Liz Fehrenbach
    Liz Fehrenbach ’05 describes how her work in ENVS turned her on to a nursing degree.
  • Hanah Goldov (’13), ENVS major at Lewis & Clark College, describes how her interest in  intentional spaces and environmental design began in her undergraduate work and will continue as she enters a Master’s Program in Landscape Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley fall of 2018.
  • Editions of Street Roots available on campus
    Environmental Studies student Shoshana Rybeck ’20, works to make copies of Street Roots newspaper available on campus.
  • Darya Watnick (’13), a graduate of the Environmental Studies Program at Lewis & Clark College, describes her time spent working in Israel for three years after graduating and returning to work as a Jewish Engagement Manager in the U.S.
  • Kori Groenveld
    ENVS alumna, Kori Groenveld ’18, describes how her path at LC lead her to a career in the energy industry.  She is working as a Program Administrator at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
  • Eva Ramey (’15), a Biology major and Environmental Studies minor at Lewis & Clark College, describes how her international research unfolded, beginning with her study abroad experience in Tanzania.
  • Aly Robinson (’11) writes about her work in environmental education and public health after graduating from Lewis & Clark College’s Environmental Studies Program.
  • September 17, 2019 at 2:44pm

    Informational poster designed for Earthrise Law Center, 2018 summer internship.

  • Megan Coggeshall (’12) tells the story of how she ended up as a data analyst in global health research after graduating Lewis & Clark College with a degree in Environmental Studies and French Studies.
  • September 26, 2019 at 12:54am

    Topic 

    68 percent of the global population is expected to live in urban areas by 2050 a stark increase from the 55 percent today (United Nations 2019). Such great population growth in such a small time is projected to incite issues of adaption, impact, and action. Cities may need to expand in size to account for the population growth, cities may experience economic, social, and environmental changes (Schneider and Woodcock 2007, McNoll 1984). Environmental changes in this instance mostly refers to changes in natural ecosystems, earth systems, and elements. The changes that have occurred since the beginning of what is known as the anthropocene and the changes that have yet to come bring up questions of sustainability, the idea that what currently exists on this planet can exist for future generations. Sustaining the world as we know it is threatened by these changes while sustainable development could be a potential solution or mitigator to changes in the future. Sustainable development’s meaning is subjective, as there are many different types of sustainabilities (Greenberg 2013). However, most definitions are rooted in Gro Harlem’s assertion that it is “development that meets needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Castree et al). This definition can be applied to economic, social, and environmental issues, since decisions made in each of these three areas can impact future generations’ wellbeing.

    Still, our world will not stop changing in the near future. Anthropogenic or not, natural disasters will occur, social climates will change, and economic shifts will ensue. The world is not stationary, so why should we try to keep things the same for future generations? Benson and Craig (2017) argue that we should not, claiming that resilience is more important than sustainability. According to them, it is most crucial to equip future generations with structures, systems, and resources that will provide resilience in the face of hardships. 

    While resilience may be a stronger term than sustainable in some instances, sustainability and sustainable development are not always used to keep things the way they are for future generations. Instead, it can be used to create infrastructure, dynamics, programs, and policies that will allow for future generations to live in a prosperous, just, and vibrant world. That is why it has translated so well to an international instrument of progress, the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainable development of cities can impact large groups of people by allowing future city dwellers to live in a world with less social conflict, economic distress, and environmental degradation. Resilience is part of this, but has not taken the global stage as much as the sustainable development. This may be because its ambiguity makes it so adaptable. 

    Work to date

    I was introduced to sustainable development my first year at Lewis & Clark in Introduction to Environmental Studies. In Environmental Engagement last semester I did my engagement project on Portland and it’s reputation as a sustainable city. To engage with this issue I used one aspect of urban development that has been a popular phenomena in US cities to serve as a proxy for the larger implications of urban development, Business Improvement Districts, neighborhoods that pass legislation to require businesses to pay extra taxes so that the district can implement stronger security, safety measures, and beautification programs in the area. My project looked at BIDs (of which there are three in Portland) and how they, along with opportunity zones and residential infill areas have contributed to the city’s housing crisis. Sustainable development came up often during this project, as different actors all thought their opinions on how the city should develop were most sustainable. I ultimately decided to continue working with one of this project’s contributors, by taking a summer internship that worked with member of Portland’s houseless community to help create their version of a more sustainable life in the city. 

    Framing Question

    My engagement project and internship this summer discuss sustainability in terms of the triple bottom line. The triple bottom line, people, profit, and planet works to ensure that economic, social, and environmental wellbeing are addressed in sustainability efforts. Often economic needs override social and environmental (Hacking and Guthrie 2008). My engagement project hints that environmental sustainability may mask social and economic inequities. In many cases it seems that sustainability for all three arenas cannot work in harmony, but yet sustainable development continues to lead the global progress initiatives. This brings up the question of how a city can develop sustainably on all accounts of the triple bottom line. That is my framing question. Using the idea of sustainability in terms of people, profit, and the planet, I am asking how can a city develop sustainably?

    Cited References 

    Benson, Melinda Harm, and Robin Kundis Craig. “The End of Sustainability.” Society & Natural Resources 27, no. 7 (July 2014): 777–82. 

    Castree, Hulme, and Proctor 2018, 2018. Companion to Environmental Studies. New York, NY: Routledge. Kindle Edition.

    Greenberg, Miriam. “What on Earth Is Sustainable?: Toward Critical Sustainability Studies.” Boom: A Journal of California 3, no. 4 (December 2013): 54–66. 

    Hacking, Theo, and Peter Guthrie. 2008. “A Framework for Clarifying the Meaning of Triple Bottom-Line, Integrated, and Sustainability Assessment.” Environmental Impact Assessment Review 28, no. 2 (February 1, 2008): 73–89. 

    Schneider, Annemarie, and Curtis E. Woodcock. “Compact, Dispersed, Fragmented, Extensive? A Comparison of Urban Growth in Twenty-Five Global Cities Using Remotely Sensed Data, Pattern Metrics and Census Information.” Urban Studies 45, no. 3 (2008): 659–92. 

    United Nations. 2019. “2018 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects | Multimedia Library – United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.” Accessed September 24, 2019. 

    Other References 

    Giddings, Bob, Bill Hopwood, and Geoff Obrien. “Environment, Economy and Society: Fitting Them Together into Sustainable Development.” Sustainable Development10, no. 4 (2002): 187–96. 

    Goodling, Erin, Jamaal Green, and Nathan McClintock. “Uneven Development of the Sustainable City: Shifting Capital in Portland, Oregon.” Urban Geography 36, no. 4 (May 19, 2015): 504–27. 

    Hern, Matt. 2016. What a city is for – remaking the politics of displacement. 1st ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    Slaper, Timothy F. and Tanya J. Hall. 2001. “The Triple Bottom Line: What Is It and How Does It Work?” Ibrc Indiana. 

  • September 15, 2019 at 12:44pm

    September 12, 2019 for KBOO Evening News.

    EPA Finalizes Roll Back on Clean Water Rule

    Alix Soliman 0:00
    Today, the Environmental Protection Agency repealed a rule under the Clean Water Act that was intended to restrict agricultural runoff from polluting streams and wetlands.

    Known as the waters of the United States rule, or WOTUS, it was put in place by the Obama administration in 2015 to include ephemeral streams, which can only carry a flow of water during or after rainfall, groundwater and wetlands in the legal definition of waters of the United States.

    The rule is regarded by environmental lawyers and activists as necessary to eliminate water pollution, which is the stated goal of the Clean Water Act. Trump issued Executive Order 13778 to revise the rule in 2018 in an effort to limit the Clean Water Act’s purview to major waterways with a “relatively permanent surface connection.”

    Trump asserted that the rule infringed on the rights of farmers, landowners and real estate developers who would be required to get permits from the EPA to discharge pesticides, waste and other chemicals.

    I spoke with James Saul, attorney and clinical professor at Earthrise Law Center. Earthrise Law Center is an environmental legal clinic at Lewis & Clark Law School.

    In Oregon specifically, how will this affect our waterways?

    James Saul 1:04
    Well, there’s a possibility that the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, chooses to follow the Clean Water Rule instead, in other words, chooses to take a broader interpretation of to what waters that Clean Water Act applies, and there has been some indication that, you know, coming out of the governor’s office that they have stepped away from or tried to avoid following the Trump administration rollbacks of a number of environmental rules.

    But specifically with the Clean Water rule, if they do, in fact, begin to apply the old definition. You know, again, a number of wetlands and tributaries are left vulnerable. And that also would jeopardize potentially some species that rely on those waters for their habitats throughout Oregon, both in the wetter coastal and Western Oregon landscape, as well as Eastern Oregon where a lot of these streams are a little more ephemeral and flow only in response to heavy rains, for example.

    Alix Soliman 2:05
    So will it go back to the 1986 kind of understanding of “waters of the United States” do you think?

    James Saul 2:12
    Not entirely. So the 1986 definition, as it was written, was very broad. For example, it had a provision that would apply the Clean Water Act to “any waters, the use, destruction or degradation of which might affect interstate commerce.” And for a long time, actually, for a couple of decades, the US EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers interpreted that provision very broadly, and would use it to apply to any number of small and isolated wetlands and ponds and tributaries.

    But later in the dawn of the 21st century, there was a pair of US Supreme Court lawsuits, US Supreme Court decisions that really limited that language. The most recent one was a case called United States vs. Rapanos from 2006. In that decision, the opinion that at least gained the most traction out of that case required what’s called a “significant nexus.” That means for a water to be jurisdictional under the Clean Water Act, it has to have some direct and concrete nexus with the physical, chemical or biological attributes of a more traditional “navigable water,” like a major river.

    That significant nexus standard was the basis for the Clean Water Rule passed in 2015, and that standard will still be applied. So what we think the agencies will do, and in fact, what they have said today that they intend to do is to apply the 1986 regulations, but with that “significant nexus” limitation still attached to it. If they go beyond that, then they’re certainly at risk of acting in a way that the current Supreme Court would find to be contrary to the Clean Water Act. So it won’t be quite as broad as it was in 1986.

    In fact, we would expect with this administration and this EPA, that they will have a much narrower interpretation of Clean Water Act jurisdictions than the Obama EPA did, for example. But as you may have seen, EPA and the Army Corps have proposed a different interpretation of their own. So today’s step is really kind of the first step. It’s the rollback of the Obama rule. I think, by the end of 2019, we’re going to see a final replacement rule from those agencies that is even narrower than the 1986 regulations, unfortunately.

    Alix Soliman 4:45
    As an environmental lawyer, how does this affect your work directly?

    James Saul 4:48
    Well, it affects the work that regulators do, because regardless of whether you work at the EPA, or the Army Corps, or at the analogous state agencies like the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, you have to apply these statutes and these regulations as they’re written, and as they’re, in most cases, as they are interpreted by the main implementing agencies.

    Regulators, at least at the federal level, will have to take the new and narrower definition into account when they issue permits, for example, for polluting discharges, or for wetland-destroying activities.

    In fact, many such waters, especially wetlands that aren’t directly adjacent to navigable river are going to be essentially without Clean Water Act protections, and therefore the filling or the destruction of those wetlands won’t require any federal permit or any federal review, which is really tragic.

    It affects the work that we do on the public interest side as well because the same regulations apply to us and affect the types of enforcement cases, for example, that we can bring under the Clean Water Citizen Provision.

    Alix Soliman 6:01
    This is the latest in the Trump administration’s environmentally regressive policies. This summer alone, the administration has attacked energy efficiency standards for light bulbs, methane emission regulations, and the Endangered Species Act. With KBOO Evening News, this is Alix Soliman.

    Transcribed by Otter.ai

     

  • Rebecca Kidder (’16), a graduate of the Environmental Studies Program at Lewis & Clark College, describes her time working as a reading tutor in a kindergarten classroom in Minneapolis.
  • October 13, 2019 at 10:25pm

    In the ENVS program at Lewis and Clark College, environmental issues are approached through situated research. Because I have an interest in resource scarcity, specifically freshwater, I am unsure on where I would like to situate my capstone because of the prevalence of this issue throughout the world. Due to the situation I am in I decided to look through my ENVS 350 work back in the spring of 2018, more specifically the framework I created. Based off of my work, I think right now it is best to focus first on the framing of the environmental research I will be conducting. My framing question at the time was: “How can populations deal with aquifer and groundwater depletion?”, and the isms I chose were theories of the commons, theories of uneven development, theories of the global, and theories of scarcity.

    Now that it is senior year and my capstone preparation needs to accelerate a little, it is time to bring together all of my ENVS work throughout the years and combine it to create a capstone with situated research. Because I am currently unsure on where to situate my research and if I should situate in more than one location, an appropriate approach would be to find three places as possible situated contexts and think about the pros and cons of each. Fortunately, I am quite familiar with places that have a scarcity in freshwater resources.

    The first place I could situate my capstone research in is the Southwestern United States. As someone from the Coachella Valley, a desert valley located in Southern California, I have first hand experiences with life inside a water scarce region due to a drought that occurred recently. It would be great to situate my research in this region because not only am I most familiar with the region, but it also brings up this country’s state and federal policy, which can be a more relatable and more researchable topic to investigate. One issue with using California as a situated context is that the state has a higher medium income than most other states, so it could be better to use a place with less resources than California.

    The second place I could situate the environmental research I will be conducting is in the Middle East. The Middle East has a very limited potable water supply, so countries like Israel and Saudi Arabia have invested a lot of their resources into technologies to capture freshwater: desalination and atmospheric water harvesting. Middle Eastern politics could present an interesting discussion due to the tense relationship between these countries.

    The third place I could situate my capstone research in is islands with no potable water. One of these islands are the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago located off the coast of northwestern Africa. What is most interesting about the Canary Islands is that most of their water is desalinated ocean water. Some problems to present with using the Canary Islands as a situated place is its limited approach to tackling the issue of a lack of freshwater resources.

  • Emma Redfoot (’13) describes her indirect path toward studying nuclear engineering after graduating Lewis & Clark College with a degree in Environmental Studies.
  • October 2, 2019 at 3:07pm

    Hazardous emergency situations call for quick decisions. These decisions must be informed by spatial analysis. A strong example of this is when a vehicle carrying toxic chemicals crashes in a heavily trafficked area.

    Let’s say that a truck is carrying explosive materials is driving through Mecklenburg County, NC when they drive off the northbound I-95 ramp onto westbound I-495. To determine who must be evacuated from the area, where they should go, and how to get assistance to the site of the incident we need to make maps to understand the area, incident, and impacted population.

    First, we need to understand the geographic layout of Mecklenburg County. Knowing where schools are in the county is critical as some will be used as shelters if evacuation is needed. A strong understanding of the streets is also critical as roads will be used in the event of evacuation, but also shut down for safety.

    Schools and streets of Mecklenburg County, NC.

    Once Mecklenburg’s basic infrastructure is reflected on the map we can identify the incident and the impacted areas. The affected areas from this specific incident can be broken down by those within a 2 mile radius, those that must evacuate, and those within a 2.5 mile radius, who do not need to evacuate but are at risk of exposure.

    Households within 2 miles of the accident must go to their quadrant’s shelter which is determined by its centrality to the households in the quadrant. To determine which school will act as each section’s shelter the map must represent how household are distributed throughout the area. The school chosen must be accessible for all houses in the section. Therefore, a spatial representation of household concentration throughout the area is most helpful in making this decision.

    Areas within 2.5 miles of the incident, the respective shelter for each section, and the distribution of households. A total of 15,626 households were impacted.

    From this map we can tell that the incident occurred at the intersection of I-77 which goes North to South and I-85 which goes East to West. We also can see that the most heavily populated section of the impacted area is the Northwest quadrant.

    Since we know where the incident is we can determine which roads need to be closed. Closing down certain roads prevents more traffic in the area and keeps people away from the incident. We can also decide where an assistance helicopter can land by finding an open area near the incident.

    Taking into account the impacted areas, road closures, and shelter locations we can determine the best routes to take to get residents to their section’s shelter. Once residents get to shelter the hazard’s impact has been mitigated greatly and responders can work to clean up the site of the incident.

    Routes for residents to get to their assigned shelter accounting for road closures.
  • Charlotte Copp
    ENVS alumna, Charlotte Copp ’18, explores the field of GIS.  She is currently a GIS intern for the City of Lake Oswego.
  • Michaela Koke (’16) describes her work with the Merck Family Fund and her first year after graduating Lewis & Clark College with a degree in Environmental Studies and Sociology/Anthropology.
  • Rachael Lipinski (’09), a graduate of the Environmental Studies Program at Lewis & Clark College, writes about her time working as an environmental attorney.
  • Keith Morency (’16) highlights the various jobs that led him to work for a community solar team in Boston, MA, after graduating from the Environmental Studies program at Lewis & Clark College.
  • Gabby Francolla
    Gabriella Francolla ’18 majored in ENVS. She describes her path after graduating from Lewis & Clark, where she has had the opportunity to engage with diverse populations while working as an educator.  Next year she will begin working as an Environmental Educator Volunteer with the Peace Corps in Mexico.
  • October 1, 2019 at 3:35pm

    To make spatial decisions related to this topic using GIS (ArcMap) I had to create geographic representations of two specific hazards, identify a helicopter landing zone, create buffers around the area, assess the impacted population, and determine the safest route to shelters.

    The first project is situated in Springfield, VA. The scenario is that a truck carrying explosive materials drove off the northbound I-95 ramp onto westbound I-495. From this scenario I competed the above steps. However, since it was my first time working with this type of data the resulting deliverables are not as presentable as the second projects. The learning curve during this first project was steep. Simply learning the details of shapefiles, geodatabases, and feature classes greatly increased the efficiency and quality of my work. My main struggles with this module were understanding the clip feature and the different ways to save data in GIS. In these moments I was grateful to have such an engaged independent study advisor, Dr. Jessica Kleiss, to help me when needed.

    The second project is almost identical to the first and allowed me an opportunity to complete the same tasks with newly formed understanding certain tools and GIS software. This module is situated in Mecklenburg County, NC. The scenario is that a truck full of toxic chemicals drove off interstate I-77 and overturned, cracking the truck.

    The spacial decisions that had to be made in this module follow the same protocol as the Springfield, VA project. Both begin with exploring the data provided and then proceed to tasks that call for spatial analysis. Below are the steps that follow exploring the data with the corresponding Mecklenburg data representation.

    1. Produce a map showing roads and schools
    2. Identify Incident
    3. Determine affected population
    4. Designate routes to shelters
  • Laura Schroeder (’14) describes her year as a Fulbright scholar in Colombia after having taken courses in environmental studies and graduating from Lewis & Clark College with a degree in Sociology/Anthropology.
  • October 12, 2019 at 10:28pm

    Like in the case of Chicago (Cook county, IL), we can use spatial analysis to understand changes in racial and socio-economic demographics in Washington DC from 1990 and 2000. Just like the Chicago case we can use the Decennial census data from 1990 and 2000 to get the data need for our analysis. The following report outlines how we can use this data to show how population, racial makeup, racial diversity, and socio-economics changed between the two years.

    To understand how diverse an area is we first need to understand how large the population is in general. Below is a map of D.C.’s population density in 2000.


    Once we have a good understanding of how the general population changed over the decade, we can use census data to reflect the racial makeup of the area and in turn its racial diversity. The population density of each racial identity throughout the county can be calculated by dividing the specified group’s population within a tract by the entire population of each tract.

    Representing the racial makeup of an area overtime allows for a better understanding of how diverse populations are. The diversity index gives a number between 0-1 to determine how racially diverse an area is. 0 is homogeneous, while 1 is as diverse as possible. This is calculated using the same census data used in the previous maps by subtracting the weight of each race’s population density from 1 and multiplying it by the whole population.

    Spacial representation of a population and its diversity allows us to identify where the bulk of either a certain population or just diversity in general reside. Finding the mean center of either the population or in our case, racial diversity shows us the center of the most diversely populated areas. On the other hand, calculating the directional distribution shows us the area in which the bulk of diversity lies in the area.

    First, to visualize racial diversity in Cook county we can show the diversity ratings throughout the area in 2000. Below is a 3D map representing 2000 diversity index values across the county.

    Spacial representation of a population and its diversity allows us to identify where the bulk of either a certain population or just diversity in general reside. Finding the mean center of either the population or in our case, racial diversity shows us the center of the most diversely populated areas. On the other hand, calculating the directional distribution shows us the area in which the bulk of diversity lies in the area.

    While 2D maps can reveal a lot about the data it represents, in some instances 3D maps can provide even more insight. Specifically when exploring issues that group data in brackets, 3D maps can show how variations within said brackets. Therefore, to most effectively show diversity index, population density, and median housing value we can create 3D maps.

    The concentration of racial and socio-economic identities in certain areas has large implications for the economic, political, and environmental dynamics of such communities. This is reflected in property values as property is one of the most lucrative assets one can own. Analyzing housing value through the lenses of location and race can provide insights on how race and socio-economic status are linked.

    Once we have a basic understanding of housing value variance in the region we can compare the distribution to the distribution of racial diversity. To do this we can create a map that represents diversity index across space as well as median house values.

    Looking at racial diversity throughout the county with its median house values reveals a possible trend between socio-economics and race. To do this, we can create maps that show the distribution of Black, White, and Hispanic population in each tract of the county as well as the median house values for each tract to see if house values are positively or negatively correlated with the density of each racial identity.

    White Population Density vs. Median House Values

    Black Population Density vs. Median House Values

    Hispanic Population Density vs. Median House Values

  • Osamu Kumasaka
    ENVS alumnus Osamu Kumasaka ’16, describes his path to working in environmental conflict resolution.  He is a Junior Associate at the Consensus Building Institute in Boston, MA.
  • September 17, 2019 at 10:50am

    Informational poster designed for Earthrise Law Center, 2018 summer internship.

  • September 22, 2019 at 4:41pm

    As of now my framing question for my capstone is how can a city develop sustainably? Therefore, it is a natural choice to critique the idea of sustainable development before any other concept from Companion to Environmental Studies. In the book, of which there are many contributors, Mark Whitehead, Professor of Human Geography at Aberystwyth University, Wales, discusses the subject of sustainable development. Whitehead acknowledges how “misinterpreted” and “misapplied” the concept often is. Whitehead believes in Gro Harlem’s famous definition that it is ‘development that meets needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ (WCED, 1987: 43). However, the complexities of economic, social, and environmental phenomena as well the unknown future make it more challenging to define, create, and promote such sustainability development. 

    Sustainable development has scientific and geopolitical origins. The idea of sustainability has been used to understand living organism populations like forests, fish, and mammals. Often, sustainable yields work to ensure that species are protected against human interests, as it is “the level at which any resources—including timber from forests; water from aquifers; or fish from the oceans—can be extracted while allowing that resource to naturally replenish (Castree et al. 2018. 111)”. Sustainability has also taken on geopolitical meanings. The first round of the UN Development goal grew from discussions at a global conference in Stockholm in 1972 when “less economically developed” countries worried that environmental protection policies would undermine their ability to develop like wealthier nations. This conflict represents the central challenge of sustainable development: how to balance economic growth, social welfare, and environmental protection. There are two main sustainable development policies that each address this challenge differently (Castree et al. 2018. 110). The main difference between them is their economic policies. One policy regulates economic growth, while the other allows for “relatively unlimited economic growth”. However, Whitehead illustrates the latter as a policy that coincides “with the redistribution of wealth and ecological conservation” (Castree et al. 2018. 110). This surprises me. It seems that sustainable development policies based in “relatively unlimited economic growth” and some aspects of ecological conservation, like many of those in the US, are not implemented with wealth redistribution. It may be the case that the “redistribution of wealth” Whitehead speaks of is as basic as taxes and social services, but that seem quite trivial when discussing improving social welfare. For the most part, wealth redistribution has not been as central to sustainable development as I think it must be. Exploitation of resources, natural and human, is capitalism depends on. Whitehead must acknowledge this conflict to present a wholistic picture of the challenges of sustainable development. 

    I expect to come across these tradeoffs of economic growth, social wellbeing, and environmental health throughout most, if not all, of my research. Therefore I expect I will have to confront the tension between economic growth and sustainable development. That is why I wish Whitehead could be more honest about how much of a barrier unregulated economic growth can be to social and environmental wellbeing.

    Reference

    Castree, Hulme, and Proctor 2018, 2018. Companion to Environmental Studies. New York, NY: Routledge. Kindle Edition.

  • Julia Huggins BA '13 at the Lynn Canal, Alaska.
    Julia Huggins BA ’13 has been awarded the Vanier Scholarship to continue her PhD in biogeochemistry at the University of British Columbia, where she is the chief scientist of the oceanography research program. The scholarship will fund her research on oxygen loss in the oceans and the environmental impact of marine microorganisms.
  • Environmental Studies and Economics major Aaron Fellows ’16 talks about his summer internship with the International Economic Development Council.
  • October 2, 2019 at 3:07pm

    Spatial analysis is an important tool in understanding demographic dynamics. Especially in a time of rapid urban growth. Along with other aspects of society we can use GIS to understand the social, political, economic, and racial makeup of an area. Like most major cities in the US Chicago has changed in many ways over the years. These changes can be tracked using spatial analysis.

    Racial diversity varies through space and time. We can understand how such diversity differs in the context of Chicago by studying the racial makeup of the Chicago metropolitan area (Cook County, IL) in 1990 and 2000.

    To understand how diverse an area is we first need to understand how large the population is in general. Therefore to study diversity changes in the Cook county from 1990 to 2000 we first need to recognize the population changes in the area. To do this we can use Census data from those two years.

    Population of Cook county in 1990 and 2000. These maps show an increase in population throughout most of the county between 1990 to 2000. It is notable that areas towards Chicago’s borders and outside of Chicago saw the most growth during the decade. This follows the trend most US cities are experiencing, rapid population growth and urban expansion.

    Once we have a good understanding of how the general population changed over the decade we can use the same census data to reflect the racial makeup of the area and in turn its racial diversity. The population density of each racial identity throughout the county can be calculated by dividing the specified group’s population by the entire population.

    Population Density of Black, Hispanic, and White populations in Cook county. Note that it is important to represent the population densities as the percent of the total population as to accurately reflect how the racial demographics of the population. This should be done for every prominent racial identity in the area for the best understanding. For Cook county these tree racial identities make up most of the population.

    After the population density is represented. The diversity of the area can be better digested as diversity depends on how large populations of racial identities are in comparison to one another are in a specific location. The diversity index gives a number between 0-1 to determine how racially diverse an area is. 0 is homogeneous, while 1 is as diverse as possible. This is calculated using the same census data used in the previous maps by subtracting the weight of each race’s population density from 1 and multiplying it by the whole population.

    These maps reflect changes in Cook county’s diversity from 1990 to 2000. The relatively small differences show that even if there were increases in populations of certain racial identities, diversity has stayed relatively similar because other racial identity groups increased as well. The same goes for decreasing populations.
  • September 30, 2019 at 6:24pm

    My senior year at Lewis and Clark College has recently begun, which not only means this is my last year as an undergrad but also that preparation for my senior capstone has started. Unfortunately I am unable to start this process with the majority of the class of 2020 Environmental Studies majors due to changes within the major, so I am doing an independent study (also known as ENVS 499) to have a better understanding of the research I will be conducting in the spring. To start this independent study off, each ENVS 499 student was assigned to complete the ENVS Capstone MadLibs form by the first group meeting, which allowed Professor Proctor as well as ourselves to have an idea of what we will be researching as well as how it will structured. Right now I am personally interested in resource scarcity, more specifically freshwater resources, and the best policies and technology we can use to manage it. ENVS related papers and projects, including a senior thesis, is structured via a situated hourglass, where we begin our work through broader questions and notions and then gets more situated and specific as we go down the hourglass.

    The next task we were assigned to do was to compile some sources via a Zotero library, a program where your own scholarly references can be stored. When compiling articles it is best to use good literature that has been cited multiple times, as it increases the credibility of that reference. I managed to compile a few sources discussing freshwater resources and management strategies, including desalination, which is the process of creating freshwater from saline water. Professor Proctor also asked us how we will be documenting our work for ENVS 499, with the option to create a digital scholar site or submit PDFs of each post we create. I decided to continue using this DS site as I would like to enhance my WordPress skills.

    This will be the first post of many for this independent study. As the semester progresses, so will my progress for my capstone. I am looking forward to narrowing down my exact topic of interest as well as my situated context/contexts.

  • Kyle Tibbett (’15) talks about his life after graduating Lewis & Clark College with a degree in Environmental Studies and taking a position in fisheries management in Idaho.
  • Katherine Jernigan working with students in a school garden in Chicago.
    Katherine Jernigan, BA ’15, works with school children in Chicago and found a way to combine her loves of the outdoors and cooking.
  • Jules Bailey and colleagues at OBRC
    ENVS Alumnus, Jules Bailey ’01, keeps Oregon’s bottle deposit and return program successful and relevant.  He is the Chief Stewardship Officer for the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative.
  • September 17, 2019 at 10:38am

    Retrospective magazine designed for Earthrise Law Center, 2018 summer internship.

  • October 13, 2019 at 7:25pm

    In the ENVS program at Lewis and Clark College, environmental issues are approached through situated research. Because I have an interest in resource scarcity, specifically freshwater, I am unsure on where I would like to situate my capstone because of the prevalence of this issue throughout the world. Due to the situation I am in I decided to look through my ENVS 350 work back in the spring of 2018, more specifically the framework I created. Based off of my work, I think right now it is best to focus first on the framing of the environmental research I will be conducting. My framing question at the time was: “How can populations deal with aquifer and groundwater depletion?”, and the isms I chose were theories of the commons, theories of uneven development, theories of the global, and theories of scarcity.

    Now that it is senior year and my capstone preparation needs to accelerate a little, it is time to bring together all of my ENVS work throughout the years and combine it to create a capstone with situated research. Because I am currently unsure on where to situate my research and if I should situate in more than one location, an appropriate approach would be to find three places as possible situated contexts and think about the pros and cons of each. Fortunately, I am quite familiar with places that have a scarcity in freshwater resources.

    The first place I could situate my capstone research in is the Southwestern United States. As someone from the Coachella Valley, a desert valley located in Southern California, I have first hand experiences with life inside a water scarce region due to a drought that occurred recently. It would be great to situate my research in this region because not only am I most familiar with the region, but it also brings up this country’s state and federal policy, which can be a more relatable and more researchable topic to investigate. One issue with using California as a situated context is that the state has a higher medium income than most other states, so it could be better to use a place with less resources than California.

    The second place I could situate the environmental research I will be conducting is in the Middle East. The Middle East has a very limited potable water supply, so countries like Israel and Saudi Arabia have invested a lot of their resources into technologies to capture freshwater: desalination and atmospheric water harvesting. Middle Eastern politics could present an interesting discussion due to the tense relationship between these countries.

    The third place I could situate my capstone research in is islands with no potable water. One of these islands are the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago located off the coast of northwestern Africa. What is most interesting about the Canary Islands is that most of their water is desalinated ocean water. Some problems to present with using the Canary Islands as a situated place is its limited approach to tackling the issue of a lack of freshwater resources.

  • Eva Johnson (’15) describes her trajectory after graduating Lewis & Clark College with a degree in Environmental Studies.
  • September 17, 2019 at 2:44pm

    Designed for Earthrise Law Center, 2018 summer internship. Click the photo to see both sides.

  • Robin Zeller
    Robin Zeller ’15 describes how ENVS lead to a degree in medical anthropology.
  • Erin Scheibe (’15) writes about her experiences pursuing a career in nursing after graduating from the Environmental Studies Program at Lewis & Clark College.
  • Julia Benford '17
    Julia Benford (’17), a graduate of the  Environmental Studies Program at Lewis & Clark College, reflects on how critical thinking and inquiry skills she gained through ENVS course studies are especially useful when teaching environmental education at Tualatin Hills Nature Center.
  • October 6, 2019 at 8:42pm

    I was left unsatisfied by my first attempt to clarify my capstone topic and framing question. I became less and less confident that sustainability was the best phrase to convey my message. I was defining the complex term with other complex terms which left me wondering if I could use even use them to explain the specific issues I am interested in. Using sustainability encapsulates ideas of resilience, vulnerability, and equitability. However, equitability stood out as my focus. Therefore, I looked for more literature on urban development and equitable development. 

    Upon reading the literature I realized the concept of smart growth reflects the ideas I am trying to explore much better than sustainable development ever did. Smart growth is a specific approach development that “covers a range of development and conservation strategies that help protect our health and natural environment and make our communities more attractive, economically stronger, and more socially diverse” (EPA 2019). 

    Smart growth addresses the distribution of urban growth’s costs and benefits. Smart growth specifically addresses the need for even distribution of wellbeing, protection, and growth. With smart growth, development is encouraged for groups that are vulnerable and not, but does the work to ensure that development does not lift up certain populations at the expense of others. It also works to lift up communities that have been negatively impacted by past development. 

    Smart growth is more specific that sustainability and more expansive than resilience. It works to create equal opportunities for those in current and future generations through planning. In the context of urban areas, smart growth manifests as transportation planning, community organization, education, environmental action, social services, and more. 

    It makes sense to situate my research about smart growth and urban development in Portland not just because I live her, but also because it has received recognition from the EPA for its smart growth. For right now, I think the chance my framing question from how can a city develop sustainably? to how can smart growth happen in Portland? However, I am unsure as to what my focus questions will be. Throughout this week I hope to get clarity on the reality of smart growth and how I can use case studies in Portland to explore its potential. 

  • September 17, 2019 at 2:44pm

    Retrospective magazine designed for Earthrise Law Center, 2018 summer internship.

  • September 17, 2019 at 11:43am

    Designed for Earthrise Law Center, 2018 summer internship. Click the photo to see both sides.