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

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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • May 13, 2020 at 10:04pm

    “Where might my capstone take me in the future?”

    I think a lot of seniors are in the same boat at me at the moment, and that is that we don’t know where we’re going to end up. Well, I would like to pretend that I even know what city I’m going to be living in, in two months but I don’t. I’d also like to pretend that my previous job experience and academic career will set me up for success in a position I enjoy, but I think many of us currently are at a point where we will take anything we can get in the current economic environment. I’d love to think that this effects only my short-term plans and not my long-term, but to tell the truth I have no idea. 

    While I frankly don’t have any idea where I will be, or what career choices I will make even a month from now, I do hope that my academic pursuits at Lewis and Clark do continue to play a roll in my career as I move forward.

    When looking at my original plan, I was hoping to continue my job in Portland, saving up and building experience working with other people from many different backgrounds. My eventual goal was to save up enough to make my way to New Zealand, where I still hope to at some point live on an indefinite visa. This is still my plan because while I don’t know the time scale or how I will get there is still what I want to do. 

    Here is where I think my capstone and time of Lewis and Clark are Important. I am a person who needs to really enjoy and get behind what they do. Like many, my work needs to have some sort of significance and I need it to be rewarding. Desires like these are why I initially sought out Environmental Studies and why I continued to stay in the program.

    I had lunch with the leader of my abroad program when he was visiting in the fall, and he mentioned several programs I might be interested in such as the Wellington Water Council and several firms that work and earthquake resiliency. My draw toward careers like these is where my capstone can offer some important lessons.

    So the answer to the question is that I see my capstone taking me into a career where I don’t have to choose between one group or the other, and where Equity is not something that is a roadblock but rather informs how would I do can be made better. 

    I don’t know where I will be heading next but I know how I will be doing it. 

  • 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.
  • February 27, 2020 at 9:30am
  • April 30, 2020 at 2:27pm

    College has felt far from a simple process, and I definitely feel like I’ve been struggling through. I cannot wait to graduate, even though this year it means no ceremony. However, it has definitely introduced me to a new type of critical thinking that I am so grateful for. The time management skills I’ve gained alone was worth it. As looking forward I am to a break from academics, we’re not entirely out of the woods yet. I have piles of research to organize into my final thesis before I can submit it.

    One of the greater things I’ve learned during my capstone was what it was like to truly deepen understanding around a topic. From a vague concept one year ago to a concrete thesis, I have developed many skills around bibliographic research and understanding the Environmental Studies’ hourglass strategy. I organized my elective classes this semester around furthering my capstone topic, and it certainly paid off. The integration of multiple disciplines made me extremely glad that I finally decided on the Environmental Studies program, and I could not recommend it enough. The individual research projects that we have completed throughout our years in this department have given me many specific skills that have helped in each class — let alone when I apply it to individual topics I am passionate about outside of school. Zotero?! Fantastic program, and I feel like I’ve used it every day since downloading it in Jim’s 200 level Environmental Studies course.

    Critical research skills feels like by far the most significant thing I’ve learned. Being able to pick apart peer-reviewed scholarly sources to ultimately inform my own opinion has served me not only in school, but even my media consumption. I feel like it has given me a new language to move from, and the major itself gave me a new viewpoint to understand the climate crisis in a way I had a minimum understanding around beforehand. I honestly surprise myself when I am able to comprehend environmental reports and translate it to concepts that my friends and family can wrap their heads around when it feels so exclusive and apocalyptic in popular media. The sociology, writing, and philosophy classes I’ve been able to incorporate into the Environmental Studies program have contributed massively to my world-view, which develops by the day. I’ve been exposed to so many authors and can talk about Rachel Carson’s impact on the modern day environmental justice movement in my sleep at this point. It has made me more community-minded and critical of the United States mainstream system with the lens of productive institutional change. I didn’t even get in to the particular knowledge from my thesis, but felt that I became more reflective of my years at Lewis & Clark more than I thought I would responding to this prompt!

  • April 28, 2020 at 1:57pm
  • February 18, 2020 at 9:26pm
  • Aly Robinson (’11) writes about her work in environmental education and public health after graduating from Lewis & Clark College’s Environmental Studies Program.
  • May 6, 2020 at 2:18pm

    In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there seems to be only negative things to hear and watch wherever you go. But as weird as it may sound, there have been positive stories that have been caused by the pandemic. There have been videos and photos going viral of the natural world seen to be flourishing with the decreased pollution and human interaction. Some would say that the coronavirus is letting the Earth breath but does this mean that human deaths are the answer to the betterment of the planet?

    The climate crisis and covid are one in the same

    It is nothing new to hear about how climate change has had a major impact on people of minorities and third world countries. What has now begun to be similar is how COVID-19 has caused for death rates to be “significantly higher” in areas with worse air pollution levels. The destruction of biodiversity makes pandemics more likely. And just like with the impact of global heating, the corona virus is hitting black, brown and poor people the worst” (Segalov 2020). Once again, the minorities are the ones taking the blow of issues that were cast upon them by the elite. The coronavirus has then taken upon the similar stand point of being an environmental issues, which entails of it being a human rights issue. Similarly to climate change, covid-19 is risking the lives of those who do not have the access to resources in being able to dodge it. Those who need to continue going to work, have to take public transportation, can not afford insurance, and are at a higher risk for racism and police brutality are increasing the chances of black and brown bodies to be infected. The four reason why, according to the Washington Post are

    1) High rates of underlying health conditions, and less acess to care

    2) Black Americans hold a lot of ‘essential jobs’

    3) Insufficient Information to black/brown communities

    4) Housing Disparities

    Changing the Ideals of Everyday Life

    Motorways have emptied in Auckland as the New Zealand government increases travel restrictions

    Since there is a national and in several countries, a continuance of a stay at home order, people are no longer using transportation of any kind. Since transportation is one of the major producers of carbon emission, the lack of usage in the past weeks has shown a significant improvement of air quality and pollution. In New York City alone, their pollution levels have decreased by 50% and 25% in China (Henriques 2020). These number go to show how much of an impact that humans have caused onto the atmosphere of Earth and how a few short months of home lockdown have decreased our involvement. Yet, this alone will not change the centuries of emissions and damage done onto the Earth. If we want to create permanent and enduring change, now would be a time to start with it. “We know from social science research that interventions are more effective if they take place during moments of change,” a statement that concludes the research done in Switzerland explaining that people who were unable to drive and given an access to an e-bike were less likely to drive once given back their car (Moser 2018). This is evidence can be used throughout the world and here in the United States also in beginning to take seriously the climate crisis that we are living in. We cannot let the misleading images of wildlife returning to their homes or canal water clearing up to distract the fact that once lockdown is lifted, the little environmental progress that was done will be gone and be worse than when the pandemic began.

    How should we come out of this pandemic

    This pandemic has really shown the true colors of not only people but also how governments act when their citizens’ lives are at stake. This fear and anxiety that we all are facing due to the pandemic should also be reflected onto the climate crisis. Yet the connotation that people must die and suffer, especially black/brown, poor, and disabled people, is not the solution to it. Instead, we must come together and acknowledge why it is that some issues affect some but not everyone, and how this can be battled. As shown, the decrease in grass emission has improved air quality, yet the air quality in black/brown communities remain the same for reasons such as still needing to be able to get to work. In many places, people depend on their local environment and natural resources to live off of; food, jobs etc. “As the crisis causes disruptions in their linkages to both national and international demand-side markets, rural producers, of whom many are women supporting entire households, are now no longer able to fully maintain their business models and livelihoods” (Hamwey 2020). This will cause for these people to leave their sustainable production and go look somewhere else for income which would result in the continuation of poverty and the over-exploitation of natural resources and environment. Before we know it the pandemic will cease but only to to the elite and same with the climate crisis where only a few will be able to leave unscratched.

    References

  • 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.
  • May 2, 2020 at 11:22pm

    How We Define Engagement

    This class is titled, “Environmental Engagement” without context these words hold endless meanings and definitions. In this course we delve into our own interpretation of engagement: conversation towards action. This course offers the opportunity to explore the importance of engagement and delve into our own experience with interacting in a real world context. Although before diving into real world experience with partnerships, a large part of the course is dedicated to emphasizing the theory of engagement and what it means to engage productively.We began this class with endeavoring to understand what our goal was and what we want engagement to look like. We read Proctor’s piece “When Ideas Differ: Three Options” to solidify what exactly engagement means and how it differs from agree and disagree interactions that we are often familiar with, 

    “Engage is a mutual search for the profound truths emanating from our differentiated expertise, and an exploration of the creative tensions and possibilities arising from these complementary truths” 

    (Proctor 2019) 

    We broke down engagement into easily digestible parts; in order to engage in what we refer to as a “post truth” world it is important to understand (a) the problem itself -i.e. the “what” (b) the actors involved in this issue on all sides as well as their perspectives- i.e. the “who” and finally (c) the details of the hopefully coproduced solution- i.e. the “how”. This breakdown of engagement allows for one to hopefully reach the goal of effective action and create a meaningful form of engagement. 

    Effective Action

    The goal of our engagement is to create a form of effective action, in order to understand what it means to engage one must first understand effective action. For us effective action is most clearly articulated by the Effective Altruism project. Effective Altruism (referred hereafter as ‘EA’) is the basis of our engagement and our driving factor. 

    “ (EA) is a research field which uses high-quality evidence and careful reasoning to work out how to help others as much as possible. It is also a community of people taking these answers seriously, by focusing their efforts on the most promising solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.”

    2016

    The emphasis here is the importance of maintaining the enthusiasm to create change but funnel one’s drive towards a realistically solvable and highly important issue. Vox news created a segment that exemplified EA in a way that made it more digestible and understandable to us, “We’re also generally interested in how to reason better, predict better, and make better decisions. Making ourselves better, less biased reasoners is one way to get better at helping others” (2018). The Vox reading provided a meaningful connection between EA and Proctor’s idea of coproduction of knowledge by emphasizing less bias. 

    Post Truth

    Effective action as we know it is built on the idea that we live in a post-truth and heavily polarized world, the idea of co-producing knowledge is to acknowledge the lack of singular truths and understand the value of multiple truths. The dilemma is that we now operate with conflicting realities that exist between polarized groups. We read an Edsall piece that elaborated on the nature of this divergence of reality in American politics and how politics has moved away from an emphasis on the truth but now is centered in playing to the realities of a desired demographic, “Trump defies norms of political correctness by telling his backers what they firmly believe is the truth — their truth — about race, crime and immigration” (Edsall 2020).  This phenomenon, that some refer to as misinformation but we refer to as multiple truths, is not U.S. specific either. We explored a Chinchilla piece that explained the relationship between misinformation and the expansive space that is the internet, “Fake news is as old as news, and hate speech is as old as speech. But the digital age has provided a ripe environment for the virulent reproduction and visibility of both” (Chinchilla 2019). This concept of multiple truths complicates our endeavor of engagement and adds complexity to reaching our goal of effective action.

    Elusive What

    After taking in the concept of multiple truths it can be difficult to pinpoint the “what” which is the issue that one is focusing on. Given the post truth context, any issue can be fluid and highly dependent on which “truth” one is focusing on. What makes our task complicated is that we are endeavoring to take in all possible truths when analyzing the “what” of an issue. The key components of understanding the issue is ensuring that we remain as unbiased as possible and allow different perspectives to speak for themselves in creating a hopefully common understanding of the “what”. 

    Divided Who

    Within the context of “post-truth” we begin to unravel the complexity of a diversely oriented and deeply divided set of actors that exists in any issue one looks at. To explore the polarized who we used the examples of Hidden Tribes and Global Warming’s Six Americas. Hidden Tribes is a project that places individuals into different political tribes through a quiz that exemplifies the level of polarization between tribes. The Six Americas project is a similar quiz that places one of six opinions surrounding climate change. However, polarization is not necessarily nor entirely a negative situation. Heterodox Academy elaborates on the importance of viewpoint diversity and constructive disagreement, without acknowledging differences and approaching them effectively and respectively we would exist in a homogeneous field of knowledge that is never expanded. Despite a clear division within our actors we have learned the value of each side’s own truth and how these multiple truths create the coproduction of knowledge that will inform our effective engagement.

    How We Have Engaged

    Reconnaissance Trip

    The reconnaissance trip was our first experience of what engagement can look like across different organizations and strategies, it provided what I like to call a sampler platter of engagement. The trip was framed within three issues (or ‘whats’)

    1. Salmon preservation and management on the Columbia river
    2. Federal Forest Management
    3. Agriculture in the Willamette Valley

    Each of the organizations that we visited were involved in one of these issues and some that were focused on the same issue were on divergent sides, this gave us a very clear example of the divided who and each perspective holds its value. For example CRITFC, or Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, engages in a contemporary world that can be exclusive of Native Americans but still implements indigenous knowledge and practices surrounding salmon management. We also spent time with the Hood River Forest Collaborative also known as the “Stew Crew”. Meeting with members of the Stew Crew showed us a form of direct engagement across differences as each member provided a diverse perspective, during our time there the members even admitted to often disputing over opinion. However, their ability to work through difference is an excellent model of what we are working towards within this course. 

    Partnerships

    After developing a well rounded expectation of engagement we each embarked on our own process of engagement with a chosen partner organization. The organization I chose is the Center for Diversity and the Environment,  or CDE. CDE brings together themes of the class as well as personal passions that brought me to the Environmental Studies program at Lewis and Clark. The mission of CDE is to foster an environmental movement that includes a diverse set of voices and perspectives, this directly ties with our understanding of engagement and provides another excellent example of what engagement can look like. As we move forward with our partnerships we expect to foster a project that will hopefully continued in the coming years of ENVS 295. I look forward to creating a relationship with CDE and continuing to embark on my own journey and experience with engagement.

    Works Cited:

    Chinchilla, L. (2019, October 15). Post-Truth Politics Afflicts the Global South, Too. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/15/opinion/politics-global-south.html

    Edsall, T. B. (2020, February 12). Trump Is Waiting and He Is Ready. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/12/opinion/trump-campaign-2020.html

    Introduction to Effective Altruism. (2016, June 22). Retrieved from https://www.effectivealtruism.org/articles/introduction-to-effective-altruism/

    Matthews, D. (2018, October 15). Future Perfect, explained. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2018/10/15/17924288/future-perfect-explained

    Proctor, James D. “When Our Ideas Differ: Three Options.” EcoTypes: Exploring Environmental Ideas (blog), June 23, 2019.https://jimproctor.us/ecotypes/about-ecotypes/when-our-ideas-differ-three-options/.

  • Charlotte Copp
    ENVS alumna, Charlotte Copp ’18, explores the field of GIS.  She is currently a GIS intern for the City of Lake Oswego.
  • May 1, 2020 at 1:50pm

    Our partner organization, Center for Diversity and the Environment (CDE), states in its mission that it “harnesses the power of racial and ethnic diversity to transform the US environmental movement by developing leaders, catalyzing change within institutions, and building alliances”. When thinking of possible projects I wanted to focus on the development of leaders as well as building alliances specifically within the Lewis and Clark community. My idea is to collaborate with CDE to build a presence on campus in which students of color have the opportunity to be more conveniently involved with the organization as well as building greater advocacy for environmental justice and empowerment. I believe that this project aligns with the vision of CDE as well as the mission of Lewis and Clark college in a symbiotic way. 

    What:

    The goal of this project is to identify our organizations strong suits and utilize them in a way that CDE is currently not. This makes the “what” of our project not a matter of environmental issues but more a focus on effective engagement with demographics not yet reached by CDE. Lewis and Clark prides itself for being a “green” campus with its multiple acclaimed sustainable buildings. However, there is little initiative by the school to integrate sustainability into action beyond architecture and purchased offsets. There is a deficit of active student participation in creating positive sustainable change on campus which I believe could be benefitted by CDE leader training. I propose we create a space on campus for CDE to operate trainings and forums for students who would like to create change on campus and beyond their time at Lewis and Clark. An additional aspect to this project is addressing the lack of diversity on campus and using the privilege of having a majority White student population to create advocates for environmental justice. 

    Who:

    Our key actors in this project will be CDE members as well as students of Lewis and Clark who are interested. I envision CDE and the LC community learning from and building on each other through a symbiotic partnership. The members of CDE that will be a part of this partnership would provide insights and mediation that would keep spaces professional and productive. Student perspective provides an insight into current issues and contemporary perspectives that can keep CDE more in touch. Most likely the student demographic that will engage with this project are ENVS students who have direct interests in this field, however, it would be ideal for this space to be open to all majors given that diversity and advocacy is relevant in any field.

    How:

    This project would play on CDE’s strengths which is interpersonal diversity leader training, similar to their E42 program. Their program is a multi-month intensive training program that educates individuals towards becoming agents of diversity change. On campus this type of influence and training would benefit the campus community’s understanding of the importance of professional diversity as well as the importance of using white privilege towards advocacy. However, given that this is not a class it is important to respect the time of CDE as well as students. While we cannot engage in as intensive of a program as E42, there is possibility for regular meetings either weekly or biweekly with members of CDE as well as student initiatives that work individually from CDE moderation. The “how” of this project is very loose given that I feel it is important to allow room for students to direct what they want from a program and shape it how the campus needs it most.

  • April 27, 2020 at 2:59pm

    I learned so much while completing my capstone project this year, from how to research critically to my process completing a large writing project. Most poignant, was what I learned going through the process of sticking with my research topic and developing it based on the research I was continuously doing. I decided to change my research topic part way through the first semester which taught me a lot about how to think through an idea and allow it to change and fluctuate. The extra work I ended up doing was gratifying because I followed my research to a topic that truly interested me. Learning to be ok with that evolution gave me confidence in my ability to write and research as well as perspective on the value of putting work into something even if you don’t end up using the product of it. 

    Towards the end of this process I came up against my own perfectionism and felt a bit disappointed with how my draft was looking a few weeks before the due date. I felt I had put a lot fo work in and what came out of that wasn’t nearly as polished and developed as I had hoped it would be. Time and urgency forced me to keep working and trust the final piece would come together well at the end. Allowing myself to sit with the feeling of not being able to complete enough while also pushing through to make sure I ended up with a polished finished product increased my trust in myself. 

    I realized that I have also started referencing my capstone in job interviews and connecting it more to my future goals. I went through a period where I thought there was little space for practical application of my capstone, which is a discussion of spaces for art in the Anthropocene and how artworks can become catalysts or prototypes for different kinds of social change. However I realize there is value in having extensive knowledge of a subject that interacts with a variety of different forces in the world. As I apply to internships related to land management and stewardship, I can connect this work with many of the historical importance of demonstrating different types land management in an art space that I discussed in my capstone. For example, Mel Chin‘s Revival Field, 1991 set a precident for the use of phytoremediation techniques my conducting a study under the guise of an artwork.

    Mel Chin, Revival Field, 1991

    Ultimately, completing my capstone has taught me patience, resourcefulness, and trust int he process. I am looking foreward to being able to apply these skills in a professional setting in the future.

  • Emma Redfoot (’13) describes her indirect path toward studying nuclear engineering after graduating Lewis & Clark College with a degree in Environmental Studies.
  • March 2, 2020 at 9:02pm
  • 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.
  • April 7, 2020 at 3:39pm
  • May 6, 2020 at 6:40pm

    As Earth Day passed this year, much of the world sat at home in isolation, protecting ourselves from the virus wreaking havoc on cities across the globe. When COVID-19 began its massively successful spread out of China, some people looked to conspiracy theories for the source of the outbreak. A Chinese government lab studying viruses, located just down the street from the live animal market reported as the location of the first infection, was the basis for much of this suspicion. 

    Christian Stevens, a PhD student working in Lee Lab at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, appeared on a podcast called Science Vs. in order to dispel this myth. He says that based on the virus’ genetic code, it’s clear that it was not made by humans. His boss Benhur Lee (of aforementioned Lee Lab) agreed. The podcast host summarized their arguments with the statement, “For Benhur and other scientists who study viruses – they knew right away there was nothing suspicious here … there’s no human fingerprints in its genetic code.”

    So why does this myth prevail? Possibly because people are in denial. In the same episode, the podcast asked another virus researcher, Oscar Maclean of the University of Glasgow. He believes this is merely “a convenient scapegoat.” By promoting the idea that this virus was created by humans in a lab, we can ignore the scary fact that something so damaging to humans can happen seemingly out of the blue.

    However, many know that this is not out of the blue. Scientists have been predicting this pandemic for years. They’ve even been predicting the source. After all, the H1N1 pandemic was a zoonotic virus that jumped to humans from swine. It’s logical to assume that the next pandemic would also come as a result of human-animal contact. And what environment could be better for this than an animal market where viruses from various animals can combine in a new host, creating a strain that can jump to humans, which is what disease experts such as Dr. Lee actually believe happened here. 

    So where does this leave us? We know that more contact amongst wild animals, domestic animals, and humans means more chance of a virus like this developing and infecting humans. We also know that situations like this are occurring more and more as humans expand into and further develop in natural spaces around them such as forests

    Who- Hopefully this means that virologists will be a voice of impact in environmental activism communities, and that people who previously may not have cared about issues such as deforestation will become more invested in those issues. What- Now that the world has been forced to open its eyes to the consequences of environmental degradation resulting from human development and expansion, hopefully the dialogue will shift. How- This issue, if addressed correctly by repeatedly showing the public that this virus is a result of human contact with nature and not the work of scientists in a lab, can show a world disengaged with and estranged from environmental issues the real consequences of that disconnect. For many, the idea that nature has intrinsic worth may not be motivating enough to make them care about protecting ecosystems. This crisis is obnoxious, in-your-face proof that the natural world has more worth than that. Earth’s diverse life is what supports us. We are a part of it just as much as it is a part of us, and when we don’t respect that, the system may just come crashing down.

    References:

    • Cyranoski, David. “Inside the Chinese Lab Poised to Study Worlds Most Dangerous Pathogens.” Nature 542, no. 7642 (2017): 399–400. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature.2017.21487.
    • Michael Greger (2007) The Human/Animal Interface: Emergence and Resurgence of Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Critical Reviews in Microbiology, 33:4, 243-299, DOI: 10.1080/10408410701647594
    • Morens, David M et al. “The 1918 influenza pandemic: lessons for 2009 and the future.” Critical care medicine vol. 38,4 Suppl (2010): e10-20. doi:10.1097/CCM.0b013e3181ceb25b
    • Rulli, M., Santini, M., Hayman, D. et al. The nexus between forest fragmentation in Africa and Ebola virus disease outbreaks. Sci Rep 7, 41613 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep41613
    • Zukerman, Wendy. “Science Vs.” Science Vs. (blog). Gimlet Media, April 24, 2020. https://gimletmedia.com/shows/science-vs/dvheexn/coronavirus-was-it-made-in-a-lab.
  • 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.
  • February 27, 2020 at 4:28pm
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • April 27, 2020 at 2:36pm

    The Question

    As I approach the final week of my time here at Lewis & Clark College, it is about time I take a look back on the work that I have done towards my capstone. What have I learned? What insights did I gather? And how can I take what I did gather with me beyond academia?

    The Answers

    To begin, my capstone has always revolved around the notion of environmental law and policy. This, as I have mentioned in previous postings, is what interests me outside of the science that is usually involved in environmental science. I have learned a great deal about certain specifics in international, national and city scale policy making, as well as how they are conducted after being implemented. The specific type of policy that I have grown my wealth of knowledge around is that of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ law. It is what I built my capstone around and first discovered back in freshman year. 

    ‘Hard’ and ‘soft’ law are typically seen as opposites of one another. The most simplistic explanation I can give is that ‘hard’ laws are policies that are legally binding. This means that they can be upheld in court and to which there are legal ramifications if one side fails to follow the rules. ‘Soft,’ as I mentioned, is the opposite. They typically are ‘agreements,’ ‘treaties,’ or something along the lines that has no legal consequences. Some well known examples that might not be known as ‘soft’ laws, are many of the international treaties. The Paris Accords are one. They are just agreements that countries made with one another to reduce carbon emissions, but it is nothing more than that. Countries could put sanctions on one another as a type of consequence, yet countries can decide if they want to do that as well. 

    These two policies of lawmaking and governing are what has pushed me because I feel like ‘soft’ law isn’t what is needed in the world right now. Especially because of the current global concern of climate change needing fast and strict action to curb the effects. Yet, both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ law have benefits and detriments and as I have learned through my capstone, it is very scale dependent. Smaller scales are able to succeed with ‘harder’ laws because of the smaller communities it usually works in. The smaller the community, the more like minded individuals there are. At the larger scale, ‘soft’ law typically is the current structure of law making. This is because of the large diverse ranges of opinions and cultures that make it harder to implement stringent policies. 

    I believe that I have been able to learn a great deal about a specific type of policy structure and now I am ready to take this baseline that I have and apply it to other policy settings. 

  • April 27, 2020 at 2:36pm

    The Question

    As I approach the final week of my time here at Lewis & Clark College, it is about time I take a look back on the work that I have done towards my capstone. What have I learned? What insights did I gather? And how can I take what I did gather with me beyond academia?

    The Answers

    To begin, my capstone has always revolved around the notion of environmental law and policy. This, as I have mentioned in previous postings, is what interests me outside of the science that is usually involved in environmental science. I have learned a great deal about certain specifics in international, national and city scale policy making, as well as how they are conducted after being implemented. The specific type of policy that I have grown my wealth of knowledge around is that of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ law. It is what I built my capstone around and first discovered back in freshman year. 

    ‘Hard’ and ‘soft’ law are typically seen as opposites of one another. The most simplistic explanation I can give is that ‘hard’ laws are policies that are legally binding. This means that they can be upheld in court and to which there are legal ramifications if one side fails to follow the rules. ‘Soft,’ as I mentioned, is the opposite. They typically are ‘agreements,’ ‘treaties,’ or something along the lines that has no legal consequences. Some well known examples that might not be known as ‘soft’ laws, are many of the international treaties. The Paris Accords are one. They are just agreements that countries made with one another to reduce carbon emissions, but it is nothing more than that. Countries could put sanctions on one another as a type of consequence, yet countries can decide if they want to do that as well. 

    These two policies of lawmaking and governing are what has pushed me because I feel like ‘soft’ law isn’t what is needed in the world right now. Especially because of the current global concern of climate change needing fast and strict action to curb the effects. Yet, both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ law have benefits and detriments and as I have learned through my capstone, it is very scale dependent. Smaller scales are able to succeed with ‘harder’ laws because of the smaller communities it usually works in. The smaller the community, the more like minded individuals there are. At the larger scale, ‘soft’ law typically is the current structure of law making. This is because of the large diverse ranges of opinions and cultures that make it harder to implement stringent policies. 

    I believe that I have been able to learn a great deal about a specific type of policy structure and now I am ready to take this baseline that I have and apply it to other policy settings. 

  • 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.
  • May 6, 2020 at 2:21pm

    Intro

    No one could have predicted that in the year 2020, everyone’s world was about to flip upside down. It’s been just over 100 years since the US has seen its last pandemic, the H1N1 Virus, or more commonly known as Influenza. The spread of coronavirus has turned an ever-bustling world into an abandoned ghost town of shut-down businesses, empty streets, and social distancing. But is it really that bad? 

    The “What”

    According to an article by BBC journalist, Martha Henriques, “Pollution and greenhouse gas emissions have fallen across continents as countries try to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.” While it’s true that the coronavirus has put a halt on global commerce, there’s a silver lining that many fail to see out of anxiety for their economic status. Because so many people and travel corporations are participating in efforts to reduce the spread of the virus, not nearly as many people are driving or flying, accordingly mother earth gets a break from the copious amounts of poison we emit into her atmosphere. According to China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment, since the birth of the global pandemic, emissions fell 25% at the start of the year as people were instructed to stay at home. Coal use fell by 40% in China’s six largest power plants since the last quarter of 2019. Air quality was also up in China by 11.4% compared with the same time last year in 337 cities across China. 

    Yes, it’s true that environmental issues have dampened in parallel to our decreased use of fossil fuels and other combustibles, but we may again begin to see an increase in waste production. With the worlds high increase in the use of face masks and hand sanitizer bottles, people now dispose of so many masks and empty bottles on the daily that they can be found littered almost everywhere across the globe.

    Courtesy of Robert Hamwey

    The “How”

    While it is true that the coronavirus has been tragic and is responsible for the deaths of many loved and innocent people. But their undeserved deaths do not have to be in vain. We could use this unexpected tragedy as a basis to start utilizing the dialogic (contemporary) model of environmental communication. The deficit (classical) model that has been utilized in most environmental movements has proven to have some success but also inspires division amongst people who reject the idea that we need immediate environmental change or the consequences could be apocalyptic. The dialogic model accepts the plurality of truths and allows us to better understand the environmental issues at hand. It also embraces the power of dialogue and communicating with open minds. In a time as polarized politically as this, I truly feel that open-dialogue and conversation is the key to beginning our next attempt at environmental efforts after the current administration is disbanded in the US. 

    No one can say for sure what will happen in the coming years. All we can do is hope that something this horrible doesn’t happen again or we will at least be more prepared for it. We can also choose to see this pandemic as a gap in economic production or we can choose to see it as a wake-up call, not only for better preparedness, but as a catalyst for true environmental change.

    The “Who”

    When discussing the who what and how of this pandemic it is challenging to address any one group or type of person. It’s a given that financial status could offer you better protection from this pandemic but the virus doesn’t care about your money or social class, it affects everyone. Some more then others are more susceptible to negative health effects arising upon contracting the virus but we should use this pandemic as an opportunity to embrace the idea that we are all a collective and in order to create any true environmental change we need to work together despite our race, class, and other characteristics.

    Citations:

  • 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.
  • May 13, 2020 at 10:14pm

    “How has my capstone benefitted from my general preparation as an ENVS major?”

    My initial reaction to this question is to be snooty and say that my capstone benefits in every way for my time in ENVS as it grew directly out of my academic career. However, the more I think of that answer the more it makes sense to me. For (especially our year) our whole academic career was almost entirely dedicated to focusing in on a subject and working on that subject from sophomore year to senior year, and then producing an outcome (for many a Capstone). However, as I mentioned in a previous post I do have the unique position of changing my topic at the last minute, so I think this question can also be taken in a much more intended context as well. 

    I think my time as any and yes major has significantly benefited my time and 400 and the results that are produced during that time. There are several different things about my time in the department that I think reflected well Upon My Capstone.

     The first major benefit that comes to my mind is the diversity of my learning in the last 4 years. Sometimes I have been a bit apprehensive that I’ve not specialized in one field more, instead of taking a broad interdisciplinary approach. Luckily for me, this turned out to be quite useful. With my first capstone, I was integrating lessons from SOAN, ENVS core classes, and Environmental Economics. In fact, most of my ideas for the project came from outside the program. After I changed my capstone, I became even more reliant on the interdisciplinary background, as I was not working on something that I had proposed sophomore year. I relied heavily on courses in learning from history and geology. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of ENVS, I was not limited by a shortage of learning options. 

    Building off of the last point, when writing a capstone, especially this year, we all have to be incredibly flexible and adaptable. This is something you learned pretty early on in ENVS. While we have a really great opportunity to customize our learning,  the sheer number of class requirements, especially before the new major, means your four year plans less a rigid schedule so much as constantly changing options. The major teaches you to roll with the punches quite well while still staying focused.

    Our capstones are a culmination of our time in the department and effectively demonstrate our diverse and adaptable learning. 

  • February 18, 2020 at 9:26pm
  • May 13, 2020 at 4:02pm

    “How has the way I understand/communicate my capstone evolved over this semester or year?”

    Out of all the seniors in the ENVS program, my capstone has had one of the more dramatic changes in the last year. I have spent the last couple years looking into the role of urban green space within cities; however, after a taxing semester, I realize that there wasn’t much more I could write about it and I was not confident that I had anything new to say in the confidence of a Capstone project.

     However, this opened up a new opportunity to look into the role of earthquake resiliency. This jump was not as drastic as it may seem. From my time in New Zealand as well as geology classes at Lewis and Clark, I’ve spent a decent amount of time during my college career looking at earthquake resiliency.  In addition, while I had a new topic many of the ideas theories from my first Capstone plan such as social equity, city zoning, and planning, the historic ties to human-built landscape carried over quite easily into this new field.

    Within the context of my capstone after it changed, so primarily the semester, I think the biggest change throughout the project was my overall outlook. What I mean to say is that when I started this project, I did so with a somewhat pessimistic view on our ability to prepare for earthquakes as well as treat citizens equally. Looking back at the current iteration of the project, it is much more matter fact solution-oriented lending it an air of optimism that I didn’t necessarily have come into the project. I think the biggest reason for this is that when I began the project is done much of the research but not engaged with it on my own. While working with this information it gave me a much more purposeful sense of what can be done.

    Also feel one of the major changes that my capstone went through was that I actually realized there was a point to it. Before, I knew the topic and questions I was going to ask but I didn’t have much direction outside of that. Having my options limited through the complications of the semester as well as carrying out the project itself, allowed me to focus and create a precise project. In both iterations I wanted to do too much and I believe this current situation allowed me to to the distraction valve and focusing on what mattered. 

    Despite the significant changes to the project over the last few months, I feel that this is the best Iteration of my capstone and I am proud of the work I produced. 

  • Erin Scheibe (’15) writes about her experiences pursuing a career in nursing after graduating from the Environmental Studies Program at Lewis & Clark College.
  • April 27, 2020 at 8:59pm
  • April 15, 2020 at 3:15pm
  • April 28, 2020 at 1:57pm
  • February 27, 2020 at 4:28pm
  • May 6, 2020 at 6:40pm

    As Earth Day passed this year, much of the world sat at home in isolation, protecting ourselves from the virus wreaking havoc on cities across the globe. When COVID-19 began its massively successful spread out of China, some people looked to conspiracy theories for the source of the outbreak. A Chinese government lab studying viruses, located just down the street from the live animal market reported as the location of the first infection, was the basis for much of this suspicion. 

    Christian Stevens, a PhD student working in Lee Lab at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, appeared on a podcast called Science Vs. in order to dispel this myth. He says that based on the virus’ genetic code, it’s clear that it was not made by humans. His boss Benhur Lee (of aforementioned Lee Lab) agreed. The podcast host summarized their arguments with the statement, “For Benhur and other scientists who study viruses – they knew right away there was nothing suspicious here … there’s no human fingerprints in its genetic code.”

    So why does this myth prevail? Possibly because people are in denial. In the same episode, the podcast asked another virus researcher, Oscar Maclean of the University of Glasgow. He believes this is merely “a convenient scapegoat.” By promoting the idea that this virus was created by humans in a lab, we can ignore the scary fact that something so damaging to humans can happen seemingly out of the blue.

    However, many know that this is not out of the blue. Scientists have been predicting this pandemic for years. They’ve even been predicting the source. After all, the H1N1 pandemic was a zoonotic virus that jumped to humans from swine. It’s logical to assume that the next pandemic would also come as a result of human-animal contact. And what environment could be better for this than an animal market where viruses from various animals can combine in a new host, creating a strain that can jump to humans, which is what disease experts such as Dr. Lee actually believe happened here. 

    So where does this leave us? We know that more contact amongst wild animals, domestic animals, and humans means more chance of a virus like this developing and infecting humans. We also know that situations like this are occurring more and more as humans expand into and further develop in natural spaces around them such as forests

    Who- Hopefully this means that virologists will be a voice of impact in environmental activism communities, and that people who previously may not have cared about issues such as deforestation will become more invested in those issues. What- Now that the world has been forced to open its eyes to the consequences of environmental degradation resulting from human development and expansion, hopefully the dialogue will shift. How- This issue, if addressed correctly by repeatedly showing the public that this virus is a result of human contact with nature and not the work of scientists in a lab, can show a world disengaged with and estranged from environmental issues the real consequences of that disconnect. For many, the idea that nature has intrinsic worth may not be motivating enough to make them care about protecting ecosystems. This crisis is obnoxious, in-your-face proof that the natural world has more worth than that. Earth’s diverse life is what supports us. We are a part of it just as much as it is a part of us, and when we don’t respect that, the system may just come crashing down.

    References:

    • Cyranoski, David. “Inside the Chinese Lab Poised to Study Worlds Most Dangerous Pathogens.” Nature 542, no. 7642 (2017): 399–400. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature.2017.21487.
    • Michael Greger (2007) The Human/Animal Interface: Emergence and Resurgence of Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Critical Reviews in Microbiology, 33:4, 243-299, DOI: 10.1080/10408410701647594
    • Morens, David M et al. “The 1918 influenza pandemic: lessons for 2009 and the future.” Critical care medicine vol. 38,4 Suppl (2010): e10-20. doi:10.1097/CCM.0b013e3181ceb25b
    • Rulli, M., Santini, M., Hayman, D. et al. The nexus between forest fragmentation in Africa and Ebola virus disease outbreaks. Sci Rep 7, 41613 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep41613
    • Zukerman, Wendy. “Science Vs.” Science Vs. (blog). Gimlet Media, April 24, 2020. https://gimletmedia.com/shows/science-vs/dvheexn/coronavirus-was-it-made-in-a-lab.
  • May 13, 2020 at 10:27pm

    “What are my final thoughts on what I learned this year as a result of my capstone?”

    I don’t want this to sound bad but my first final thought is that thankfully it’s over. I don’t mean this to be rude but more as a reflection on the many ups and downs, projects, trips, undertakings, and meetings we have experience in ENVS. We’ve done a lot and I’m excited to have a small break from the many important things I’ve done in this program before I jump back into the fray in a new setting and environment. 

     Another take away was a lesson I learned pretty quickly while working on this project that is that I need to be doing things I enjoy. If I am not in an environment in which I can properly function, doing something that I don’t take value in, I can sometimes start to flounder. My Capstone taught me that when I was struggling on a issue that I handwritten to death about and I was over it.  It wasn’t until I rekindled my interest in something that I thought that I would be able to successfully produce a capstone outcome in the first place. So that’s the big lesson I am taking away from this project, is that need to do what I value and trust my instincts to know what that is.

    Overall, I think there are many lessons to take away from ENVS this year as well as my capstone project. However, I do think that I suffer from an issue that other majors have expressed in that sometimes it feels like our work isn’t finished and we find it hard to reach meaningful conclusions before we have to move on. I think one potential lesson that can be taken from this feeling is to use it at motivation in future works to produce complete meaningful work. 

    Another important lesson I learned this year is relying on others. It’s true for all of us that none of our projects would be where they are if we weren’t able to build off one another trust each other’s opinions. 

    Overall I’d say that the most important lesson my capstone and my time in ENVS has taught me is the value of relying on others in your situation for help and understanding that input is key to successful work. 

    This project and program have taught me much and I am grateful for those lessons.

  • April 27, 2020 at 12:46pm

    Introduction

    As I mentioned in my course summary, working on a scholarly project so elaborate, over such a long period of time, was something that I had never done before. This was a very unique opportunity for me to develop my research and project management skills that would have not been possible without this process of finalizing one’s capstone in ENVS 400. Overall, I had a lot of fun during this––admittedly very challenging––semester in which we did a lot of in-person work together and also spent a lot of time in virtual class as well!

    Time Management

    On a more personal note, I have always had trouble with time management and it has been very difficult for me, previously, to allow a sufficient amount of time for me to actually complete large projects in a way that I am happy with. That being said, the Environmental Studies Program did a fantastic job of easing us into each step of the capstone process since ENVS 220. I don’t intend to say that they exactly held our hands, by any means, but the act of breaking the capstone ordeal into so many little pieces, with intermittent deadlines, really helped me surmount some of my issues with time management. Breaking up each section of writing with wordcounts and topics proved to be not only motivating, but also incredibly helpful in planning and creating a flow within my argument.

    Best Lessons

    My takeaways from this class are nearly infinite but I would say that I really gained the most from the process itself (i.e. formulating, planning, and then actually writing a Thesis). This being the case, my ‘Best Lesson’ from our capstone work is being confident in the fact that I can start a scholarly undertaking, no matter how daunting, break it up, and actually be capable of completing it in a manner that I am proud of. I really gained a lot of independence in writing and research during this time and that has been incredibly important for me to realize. This also has implications for my graduate career, such as my desire to get a PhD (which will obviously require lots of time management skills!) but, as I mentioned in my first capstone post, I don’t really know what I want to do after Lewis & Clark. I have not made any firm decisions regarding exactly where I will be taking my career in the future but, regardless, these takeaways will be invaluable, no matter what I decide to do.

  • February 27, 2020 at 8:27am
  • 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.
  • May 4, 2020 at 8:55pm
  • May 6, 2020 at 5:52pm

    As I sit reflecting on how much our environments have changed since February, you cannot help but ask what a new normal may look like. It is clear that every form of everyday life has been affected. While I write this in the dining room of my work, I cannot help but feel out of place. Why am I taking my finals in a shut down dining room? Will the dining room ever hold the same amount of people? If so, when? What will the future be for restaurants?

    Since quarantine started around the United States restaurants have had to pivot or shut down. My employer, Cantina 229, has adapted to family style take out meals with a different menu each week. Luckily the restaurant has been able to remain open and in return be able to support local agriculture. On the other hand Restaurants such as Prune in New York City have had to shut their doors. 

    Low Country Family Meal

    In an article published in the New York Times, Gabrielle Hamilton, the Chef and owner of Prune described in a deeply emotional piece the hard decision to shut their doors. During the article Hamilton describes the realization that post COVID dining may be different. She writes, “But I know few of us will come back as we were. And that doesn’t seem to me like a bad thing at all; perhaps it will be a chance for a correction,” going on to explain, “For restaurants, coronavirus-mandated closures are like the oral surgery or appendectomy you suddenly face while you are uninsured. These closures will take out the weakest and the most vulnerable.” These types of conversations are similar to ones that my coworkers have had during staff meals. Questions are raised such as, what can we do in the meantime waiting? Or when we can finally open what will that look like? 

    Commonly we think of a spreading of tables to incorporate social distancing. It may also take changing the menu to accomodate a buffet delivery system, or a small expensive tasting menu inside. But what do we do in the meantime? The answer seems to be to make the best food possible while also attempting to support ethical clean local food. 

    Making agricultural headlines today we look at journalists reporting on meat shortages. Today the Wall Street Journal published an article titled, A Smart Guide to the U.S. Meat Shortage. Highlighted in buying limits and regulation as COVID spreads into meat facilities we need to ask questions about our agricultural system. First, we can look at it from an ethical point of view. Do we as humans want to be consuming meat going through a facility so large? I recall a time at Cantina when we received new pigs. We were feeding them when a coworker decided he may not be able to eat them when butcher time came. My boss replied with a thought out quiet response, “these pigs live a great life everyday, we do everything we can to make sure they have the best time possible. In the end they have one bad day the day we take them to be butchered. The meat you buy at the supermarket, those pigs don’t have the same happiness.” Perhaps it isn’t so bad we eat less meat. Maybe we should focus on eating the right meat. 

    Local Wild Ramps Picked Fresh for the Menu

    The United States eats more meat than any other country in the world. According to an article by Business Insider, we consume 198.5 Lbs of meat per person per year. Europe consumes on average 50 Lbs less than we do. Perhaps the question we should be asking as environmentalists and cooks is not only how to support local farmers but also our use of meat. Maybe it is the chefs job to redesign restaurants. COVID serves as an opportunity to redefine cooking and american gastronomy. With meat causing a problem to the United States consumer, a new diet could be the answer to both chefs as well as the general public. It is my belief the future of restaurants relies on a movement which is pushing for ethical sustainable food. 

  • May 6, 2020 at 2:21pm

    Intro

    No one could have predicted that in the year 2020, everyone’s world was about to flip upside down. It’s been just over 100 years since the US has seen its last pandemic, the H1N1 Virus, or more commonly known as Influenza. The spread of coronavirus has turned an ever-bustling world into an abandoned ghost town of shut-down businesses, empty streets, and social distancing. But is it really that bad? 

    The “What”

    According to an article by BBC journalist, Martha Henriques, “Pollution and greenhouse gas emissions have fallen across continents as countries try to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.” While it’s true that the coronavirus has put a halt on global commerce, there’s a silver lining that many fail to see out of anxiety for their economic status. Because so many people and travel corporations are participating in efforts to reduce the spread of the virus, not nearly as many people are driving or flying, accordingly mother earth gets a break from the copious amounts of poison we emit into her atmosphere. According to China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment, since the birth of the global pandemic, emissions fell 25% at the start of the year as people were instructed to stay at home. Coal use fell by 40% in China’s six largest power plants since the last quarter of 2019. Air quality was also up in China by 11.4% compared with the same time last year in 337 cities across China. 

    Yes, it’s true that environmental issues have dampened in parallel to our decreased use of fossil fuels and other combustibles, but we may again begin to see an increase in waste production. With the worlds high increase in the use of face masks and hand sanitizer bottles, people now dispose of so many masks and empty bottles on the daily that they can be found littered almost everywhere across the globe.

    Courtesy of Robert Hamwey

    The “How”

    While it is true that the coronavirus has been tragic and is responsible for the deaths of many loved and innocent people. But their undeserved deaths do not have to be in vain. We could use this unexpected tragedy as a basis to start utilizing the dialogic (contemporary) model of environmental communication. The deficit (classical) model that has been utilized in most environmental movements has proven to have some success but also inspires division amongst people who reject the idea that we need immediate environmental change or the consequences could be apocalyptic. The dialogic model accepts the plurality of truths and allows us to better understand the environmental issues at hand. It also embraces the power of dialogue and communicating with open minds. In a time as polarized politically as this, I truly feel that open-dialogue and conversation is the key to beginning our next attempt at environmental efforts after the current administration is disbanded in the US. 

    No one can say for sure what will happen in the coming years. All we can do is hope that something this horrible doesn’t happen again or we will at least be more prepared for it. We can also choose to see this pandemic as a gap in economic production or we can choose to see it as a wake-up call, not only for better preparedness, but as a catalyst for true environmental change.

    The “Who”

    When discussing the who what and how of this pandemic it is challenging to address any one group or type of person. It’s a given that financial status could offer you better protection from this pandemic but the virus doesn’t care about your money or social class, it affects everyone. Some more then others are more susceptible to negative health effects arising upon contracting the virus but we should use this pandemic as an opportunity to embrace the idea that we are all a collective and in order to create any true environmental change we need to work together despite our race, class, and other characteristics.

    Citations:

  • April 20, 2020 at 6:49pm
  • March 12, 2020 at 9:24am
  • April 7, 2020 at 3:39pm
  • May 13, 2020 at 10:14pm

    “How has my capstone benefitted from my general preparation as an ENVS major?”

    My initial reaction to this question is to be snooty and say that my capstone benefits in every way for my time in ENVS as it grew directly out of my academic career. However, the more I think of that answer the more it makes sense to me. For (especially our year) our whole academic career was almost entirely dedicated to focusing in on a subject and working on that subject from sophomore year to senior year, and then producing an outcome (for many a Capstone). However, as I mentioned in a previous post I do have the unique position of changing my topic at the last minute, so I think this question can also be taken in a much more intended context as well. 

    I think my time as any and yes major has significantly benefited my time and 400 and the results that are produced during that time. There are several different things about my time in the department that I think reflected well Upon My Capstone.

     The first major benefit that comes to my mind is the diversity of my learning in the last 4 years. Sometimes I have been a bit apprehensive that I’ve not specialized in one field more, instead of taking a broad interdisciplinary approach. Luckily for me, this turned out to be quite useful. With my first capstone, I was integrating lessons from SOAN, ENVS core classes, and Environmental Economics. In fact, most of my ideas for the project came from outside the program. After I changed my capstone, I became even more reliant on the interdisciplinary background, as I was not working on something that I had proposed sophomore year. I relied heavily on courses in learning from history and geology. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of ENVS, I was not limited by a shortage of learning options. 

    Building off of the last point, when writing a capstone, especially this year, we all have to be incredibly flexible and adaptable. This is something you learned pretty early on in ENVS. While we have a really great opportunity to customize our learning,  the sheer number of class requirements, especially before the new major, means your four year plans less a rigid schedule so much as constantly changing options. The major teaches you to roll with the punches quite well while still staying focused.

    Our capstones are a culmination of our time in the department and effectively demonstrate our diverse and adaptable learning. 

  • 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.
  • May 13, 2020 at 10:27pm

    “What are my final thoughts on what I learned this year as a result of my capstone?”

    I don’t want this to sound bad but my first final thought is that thankfully it’s over. I don’t mean this to be rude but more as a reflection on the many ups and downs, projects, trips, undertakings, and meetings we have experience in ENVS. We’ve done a lot and I’m excited to have a small break from the many important things I’ve done in this program before I jump back into the fray in a new setting and environment. 

     Another take away was a lesson I learned pretty quickly while working on this project that is that I need to be doing things I enjoy. If I am not in an environment in which I can properly function, doing something that I don’t take value in, I can sometimes start to flounder. My Capstone taught me that when I was struggling on a issue that I handwritten to death about and I was over it.  It wasn’t until I rekindled my interest in something that I thought that I would be able to successfully produce a capstone outcome in the first place. So that’s the big lesson I am taking away from this project, is that need to do what I value and trust my instincts to know what that is.

    Overall, I think there are many lessons to take away from ENVS this year as well as my capstone project. However, I do think that I suffer from an issue that other majors have expressed in that sometimes it feels like our work isn’t finished and we find it hard to reach meaningful conclusions before we have to move on. I think one potential lesson that can be taken from this feeling is to use it at motivation in future works to produce complete meaningful work. 

    Another important lesson I learned this year is relying on others. It’s true for all of us that none of our projects would be where they are if we weren’t able to build off one another trust each other’s opinions. 

    Overall I’d say that the most important lesson my capstone and my time in ENVS has taught me is the value of relying on others in your situation for help and understanding that input is key to successful work. 

    This project and program have taught me much and I am grateful for those lessons.

  • May 2, 2020 at 11:22pm

    How We Define Engagement

    This class is titled, “Environmental Engagement” without context these words hold endless meanings and definitions. In this course we delve into our own interpretation of engagement: conversation towards action. This course offers the opportunity to explore the importance of engagement and delve into our own experience with interacting in a real world context. Although before diving into real world experience with partnerships, a large part of the course is dedicated to emphasizing the theory of engagement and what it means to engage productively.We began this class with endeavoring to understand what our goal was and what we want engagement to look like. We read Proctor’s piece “When Ideas Differ: Three Options” to solidify what exactly engagement means and how it differs from agree and disagree interactions that we are often familiar with, 

    “Engage is a mutual search for the profound truths emanating from our differentiated expertise, and an exploration of the creative tensions and possibilities arising from these complementary truths” 

    (Proctor 2019) 

    We broke down engagement into easily digestible parts; in order to engage in what we refer to as a “post truth” world it is important to understand (a) the problem itself -i.e. the “what” (b) the actors involved in this issue on all sides as well as their perspectives- i.e. the “who” and finally (c) the details of the hopefully coproduced solution- i.e. the “how”. This breakdown of engagement allows for one to hopefully reach the goal of effective action and create a meaningful form of engagement. 

    Effective Action

    The goal of our engagement is to create a form of effective action, in order to understand what it means to engage one must first understand effective action. For us effective action is most clearly articulated by the Effective Altruism project. Effective Altruism (referred hereafter as ‘EA’) is the basis of our engagement and our driving factor. 

    “ (EA) is a research field which uses high-quality evidence and careful reasoning to work out how to help others as much as possible. It is also a community of people taking these answers seriously, by focusing their efforts on the most promising solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.”

    2016

    The emphasis here is the importance of maintaining the enthusiasm to create change but funnel one’s drive towards a realistically solvable and highly important issue. Vox news created a segment that exemplified EA in a way that made it more digestible and understandable to us, “We’re also generally interested in how to reason better, predict better, and make better decisions. Making ourselves better, less biased reasoners is one way to get better at helping others” (2018). The Vox reading provided a meaningful connection between EA and Proctor’s idea of coproduction of knowledge by emphasizing less bias. 

    Post Truth

    Effective action as we know it is built on the idea that we live in a post-truth and heavily polarized world, the idea of co-producing knowledge is to acknowledge the lack of singular truths and understand the value of multiple truths. The dilemma is that we now operate with conflicting realities that exist between polarized groups. We read an Edsall piece that elaborated on the nature of this divergence of reality in American politics and how politics has moved away from an emphasis on the truth but now is centered in playing to the realities of a desired demographic, “Trump defies norms of political correctness by telling his backers what they firmly believe is the truth — their truth — about race, crime and immigration” (Edsall 2020).  This phenomenon, that some refer to as misinformation but we refer to as multiple truths, is not U.S. specific either. We explored a Chinchilla piece that explained the relationship between misinformation and the expansive space that is the internet, “Fake news is as old as news, and hate speech is as old as speech. But the digital age has provided a ripe environment for the virulent reproduction and visibility of both” (Chinchilla 2019). This concept of multiple truths complicates our endeavor of engagement and adds complexity to reaching our goal of effective action.

    Elusive What

    After taking in the concept of multiple truths it can be difficult to pinpoint the “what” which is the issue that one is focusing on. Given the post truth context, any issue can be fluid and highly dependent on which “truth” one is focusing on. What makes our task complicated is that we are endeavoring to take in all possible truths when analyzing the “what” of an issue. The key components of understanding the issue is ensuring that we remain as unbiased as possible and allow different perspectives to speak for themselves in creating a hopefully common understanding of the “what”. 

    Divided Who

    Within the context of “post-truth” we begin to unravel the complexity of a diversely oriented and deeply divided set of actors that exists in any issue one looks at. To explore the polarized who we used the examples of Hidden Tribes and Global Warming’s Six Americas. Hidden Tribes is a project that places individuals into different political tribes through a quiz that exemplifies the level of polarization between tribes. The Six Americas project is a similar quiz that places one of six opinions surrounding climate change. However, polarization is not necessarily nor entirely a negative situation. Heterodox Academy elaborates on the importance of viewpoint diversity and constructive disagreement, without acknowledging differences and approaching them effectively and respectively we would exist in a homogeneous field of knowledge that is never expanded. Despite a clear division within our actors we have learned the value of each side’s own truth and how these multiple truths create the coproduction of knowledge that will inform our effective engagement.

    How We Have Engaged

    Reconnaissance Trip

    The reconnaissance trip was our first experience of what engagement can look like across different organizations and strategies, it provided what I like to call a sampler platter of engagement. The trip was framed within three issues (or ‘whats’)

    1. Salmon preservation and management on the Columbia river
    2. Federal Forest Management
    3. Agriculture in the Willamette Valley

    Each of the organizations that we visited were involved in one of these issues and some that were focused on the same issue were on divergent sides, this gave us a very clear example of the divided who and each perspective holds its value. For example CRITFC, or Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, engages in a contemporary world that can be exclusive of Native Americans but still implements indigenous knowledge and practices surrounding salmon management. We also spent time with the Hood River Forest Collaborative also known as the “Stew Crew”. Meeting with members of the Stew Crew showed us a form of direct engagement across differences as each member provided a diverse perspective, during our time there the members even admitted to often disputing over opinion. However, their ability to work through difference is an excellent model of what we are working towards within this course. 

    Partnerships

    After developing a well rounded expectation of engagement we each embarked on our own process of engagement with a chosen partner organization. The organization I chose is the Center for Diversity and the Environment,  or CDE. CDE brings together themes of the class as well as personal passions that brought me to the Environmental Studies program at Lewis and Clark. The mission of CDE is to foster an environmental movement that includes a diverse set of voices and perspectives, this directly ties with our understanding of engagement and provides another excellent example of what engagement can look like. As we move forward with our partnerships we expect to foster a project that will hopefully continued in the coming years of ENVS 295. I look forward to creating a relationship with CDE and continuing to embark on my own journey and experience with engagement.

    Works Cited:

    Chinchilla, L. (2019, October 15). Post-Truth Politics Afflicts the Global South, Too. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/15/opinion/politics-global-south.html

    Edsall, T. B. (2020, February 12). Trump Is Waiting and He Is Ready. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/12/opinion/trump-campaign-2020.html

    Introduction to Effective Altruism. (2016, June 22). Retrieved from https://www.effectivealtruism.org/articles/introduction-to-effective-altruism/

    Matthews, D. (2018, October 15). Future Perfect, explained. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2018/10/15/17924288/future-perfect-explained

    Proctor, James D. “When Our Ideas Differ: Three Options.” EcoTypes: Exploring Environmental Ideas (blog), June 23, 2019.https://jimproctor.us/ecotypes/about-ecotypes/when-our-ideas-differ-three-options/.

  • April 15, 2020 at 3:15pm
  • Liz Fehrenbach
    Liz Fehrenbach ’05 describes how her work in ENVS turned her on to a nursing degree.
  • May 6, 2020 at 2:18pm

    In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there seems to be only negative things to hear and watch wherever you go. But as weird as it may sound, there have been positive stories that have been caused by the pandemic. There have been videos and photos going viral of the natural world seen to be flourishing with the decreased pollution and human interaction. Some would say that the coronavirus is letting the Earth breath but does this mean that human deaths are the answer to the betterment of the planet?

    The climate crisis and covid are one in the same

    It is nothing new to hear about how climate change has had a major impact on people of minorities and third world countries. What has now begun to be similar is how COVID-19 has caused for death rates to be “significantly higher” in areas with worse air pollution levels. The destruction of biodiversity makes pandemics more likely. And just like with the impact of global heating, the corona virus is hitting black, brown and poor people the worst” (Segalov 2020). Once again, the minorities are the ones taking the blow of issues that were cast upon them by the elite. The coronavirus has then taken upon the similar stand point of being an environmental issues, which entails of it being a human rights issue. Similarly to climate change, covid-19 is risking the lives of those who do not have the access to resources in being able to dodge it. Those who need to continue going to work, have to take public transportation, can not afford insurance, and are at a higher risk for racism and police brutality are increasing the chances of black and brown bodies to be infected. The four reason why, according to the Washington Post are

    1) High rates of underlying health conditions, and less acess to care

    2) Black Americans hold a lot of ‘essential jobs’

    3) Insufficient Information to black/brown communities

    4) Housing Disparities

    Changing the Ideals of Everyday Life

    Motorways have emptied in Auckland as the New Zealand government increases travel restrictions

    Since there is a national and in several countries, a continuance of a stay at home order, people are no longer using transportation of any kind. Since transportation is one of the major producers of carbon emission, the lack of usage in the past weeks has shown a significant improvement of air quality and pollution. In New York City alone, their pollution levels have decreased by 50% and 25% in China (Henriques 2020). These number go to show how much of an impact that humans have caused onto the atmosphere of Earth and how a few short months of home lockdown have decreased our involvement. Yet, this alone will not change the centuries of emissions and damage done onto the Earth. If we want to create permanent and enduring change, now would be a time to start with it. “We know from social science research that interventions are more effective if they take place during moments of change,” a statement that concludes the research done in Switzerland explaining that people who were unable to drive and given an access to an e-bike were less likely to drive once given back their car (Moser 2018). This is evidence can be used throughout the world and here in the United States also in beginning to take seriously the climate crisis that we are living in. We cannot let the misleading images of wildlife returning to their homes or canal water clearing up to distract the fact that once lockdown is lifted, the little environmental progress that was done will be gone and be worse than when the pandemic began.

    How should we come out of this pandemic

    This pandemic has really shown the true colors of not only people but also how governments act when their citizens’ lives are at stake. This fear and anxiety that we all are facing due to the pandemic should also be reflected onto the climate crisis. Yet the connotation that people must die and suffer, especially black/brown, poor, and disabled people, is not the solution to it. Instead, we must come together and acknowledge why it is that some issues affect some but not everyone, and how this can be battled. As shown, the decrease in grass emission has improved air quality, yet the air quality in black/brown communities remain the same for reasons such as still needing to be able to get to work. In many places, people depend on their local environment and natural resources to live off of; food, jobs etc. “As the crisis causes disruptions in their linkages to both national and international demand-side markets, rural producers, of whom many are women supporting entire households, are now no longer able to fully maintain their business models and livelihoods” (Hamwey 2020). This will cause for these people to leave their sustainable production and go look somewhere else for income which would result in the continuation of poverty and the over-exploitation of natural resources and environment. Before we know it the pandemic will cease but only to to the elite and same with the climate crisis where only a few will be able to leave unscratched.

    References

  • February 24, 2020 at 8:49pm
  • April 20, 2020 at 6:49pm
  • May 1, 2020 at 1:50pm

    Our partner organization, Center for Diversity and the Environment (CDE), states in its mission that it “harnesses the power of racial and ethnic diversity to transform the US environmental movement by developing leaders, catalyzing change within institutions, and building alliances”. When thinking of possible projects I wanted to focus on the development of leaders as well as building alliances specifically within the Lewis and Clark community. My idea is to collaborate with CDE to build a presence on campus in which students of color have the opportunity to be more conveniently involved with the organization as well as building greater advocacy for environmental justice and empowerment. I believe that this project aligns with the vision of CDE as well as the mission of Lewis and Clark college in a symbiotic way. 

    What:

    The goal of this project is to identify our organizations strong suits and utilize them in a way that CDE is currently not. This makes the “what” of our project not a matter of environmental issues but more a focus on effective engagement with demographics not yet reached by CDE. Lewis and Clark prides itself for being a “green” campus with its multiple acclaimed sustainable buildings. However, there is little initiative by the school to integrate sustainability into action beyond architecture and purchased offsets. There is a deficit of active student participation in creating positive sustainable change on campus which I believe could be benefitted by CDE leader training. I propose we create a space on campus for CDE to operate trainings and forums for students who would like to create change on campus and beyond their time at Lewis and Clark. An additional aspect to this project is addressing the lack of diversity on campus and using the privilege of having a majority White student population to create advocates for environmental justice. 

    Who:

    Our key actors in this project will be CDE members as well as students of Lewis and Clark who are interested. I envision CDE and the LC community learning from and building on each other through a symbiotic partnership. The members of CDE that will be a part of this partnership would provide insights and mediation that would keep spaces professional and productive. Student perspective provides an insight into current issues and contemporary perspectives that can keep CDE more in touch. Most likely the student demographic that will engage with this project are ENVS students who have direct interests in this field, however, it would be ideal for this space to be open to all majors given that diversity and advocacy is relevant in any field.

    How:

    This project would play on CDE’s strengths which is interpersonal diversity leader training, similar to their E42 program. Their program is a multi-month intensive training program that educates individuals towards becoming agents of diversity change. On campus this type of influence and training would benefit the campus community’s understanding of the importance of professional diversity as well as the importance of using white privilege towards advocacy. However, given that this is not a class it is important to respect the time of CDE as well as students. While we cannot engage in as intensive of a program as E42, there is possibility for regular meetings either weekly or biweekly with members of CDE as well as student initiatives that work individually from CDE moderation. The “how” of this project is very loose given that I feel it is important to allow room for students to direct what they want from a program and shape it how the campus needs it most.

  • Eva Johnson (’15) describes her trajectory after graduating Lewis & Clark College with a degree in Environmental Studies.
  • February 27, 2020 at 8:30am
  • February 24, 2020 at 8:49pm
  • February 27, 2020 at 8:30am
  • February 27, 2020 at 8:28am
  • February 27, 2020 at 9:30am
  • May 6, 2020 at 4:15pm

    In a rapidly changing world, the introduction of highly-infectious diseases will always be a looming threat. Sometimes they are extinguished before they can do global damage, and sometimes they linger for years and damage communities beyond repair. As humanity grows and touches more parts of the animal kingdom, diseases which formerly only infected animals have now begun hopping aboard the Homo sapien bus. As the ENVX Symposium approaches, the coming year’s topic being conservation, this is a staunch reminder of the effects of extensive contact between humans and wildlife.

    The New Who

    As we struggle to find the correct avenue to execute the ENVX Symposium while keeping everyone healthy, we must bring up the topic of who will be included. As discussed in a handful of my past articles, student panels will be playing a heightened role in the 23rd annual symposium; with students scrambling to make sure their families are safe, fly god knows how many miles to get home, and complete a semester which has been put online, the idea of preparing themselves for an extensive discussion would be, in the kindest words, the last thing on their plate. Because of this, the ENVX Symposium’s committee must pay closer attention to picking the right candidates who have both the means and the knowledge to sit on a panel; where are they currently located? Do they have a strong internet connection? What is their field of expertise? These are all questions which would be asked before we could confidently pick a researcher. 

    The New What

    The study of, and need for, conservation is still as present today as it was yesterday. Perhaps the world of humans has ground to a halt, but this is not the case for the wildlife which occupies every corner of the globe, or for that matter many poachers, traffickers, and buyers of illegal goods who are still very invested in these global trade networks. Perhaps this fall is not the best time, but has there ever been a perfect time to address something? The discussion must still go on because it is a discussion which affects everyone on earth, with or without the presence of a global pandemic. If anything, the effect of COViD-19 on how we implement conservation practices would be a tremendous topic to touch upon due to its relevance and intriguing nature as we all navigate this sticky situation together. 

    The New How

    As I’ve mentioned before, the ENVX Symposium is rapidly adjusting to the situation at hand. After numerous meetings, primarily through the lens of a camera, it is the unanimous decision that the symposium will be hosted online for its 23rd annual occurrence. Luckily for us, in the information age this is entirely possible and stunningly easy so long as we follow the correct steps and use the right software. In fact, the move from in-person to online may allow for better engagement between our student panel and the audience; viewers will be able to stream the talk from their homes and ask questions in real-time without disturbing presentations. If it is decided that these panels will be recorded, then those who missed the live version will still be able to participate. Another great aspect to recorded sessions would be the viewer’s ability to rewind the video. Missed that one comment or speaker? Now you don’t have to second-guess what you know and instead just hear it a second, third, or even fourth time. 

    Yes, the pandemic offers a slough of challenges that we must overcome, but through teamwork and adaptation this process could shed light on new practices which might revolutionize the way that Lewis & Clark delivers their symposium. There’s many new opportunities to pursue.

  • May 13, 2020 at 10:04pm

    “Where might my capstone take me in the future?”

    I think a lot of seniors are in the same boat at me at the moment, and that is that we don’t know where we’re going to end up. Well, I would like to pretend that I even know what city I’m going to be living in, in two months but I don’t. I’d also like to pretend that my previous job experience and academic career will set me up for success in a position I enjoy, but I think many of us currently are at a point where we will take anything we can get in the current economic environment. I’d love to think that this effects only my short-term plans and not my long-term, but to tell the truth I have no idea. 

    While I frankly don’t have any idea where I will be, or what career choices I will make even a month from now, I do hope that my academic pursuits at Lewis and Clark do continue to play a roll in my career as I move forward.

    When looking at my original plan, I was hoping to continue my job in Portland, saving up and building experience working with other people from many different backgrounds. My eventual goal was to save up enough to make my way to New Zealand, where I still hope to at some point live on an indefinite visa. This is still my plan because while I don’t know the time scale or how I will get there is still what I want to do. 

    Here is where I think my capstone and time of Lewis and Clark are Important. I am a person who needs to really enjoy and get behind what they do. Like many, my work needs to have some sort of significance and I need it to be rewarding. Desires like these are why I initially sought out Environmental Studies and why I continued to stay in the program.

    I had lunch with the leader of my abroad program when he was visiting in the fall, and he mentioned several programs I might be interested in such as the Wellington Water Council and several firms that work and earthquake resiliency. My draw toward careers like these is where my capstone can offer some important lessons.

    So the answer to the question is that I see my capstone taking me into a career where I don’t have to choose between one group or the other, and where Equity is not something that is a roadblock but rather informs how would I do can be made better. 

    I don’t know where I will be heading next but I know how I will be doing it. 

  • April 27, 2020 at 2:59pm

    I learned so much while completing my capstone project this year, from how to research critically to my process completing a large writing project. Most poignant, was what I learned going through the process of sticking with my research topic and developing it based on the research I was continuously doing. I decided to change my research topic part way through the first semester which taught me a lot about how to think through an idea and allow it to change and fluctuate. The extra work I ended up doing was gratifying because I followed my research to a topic that truly interested me. Learning to be ok with that evolution gave me confidence in my ability to write and research as well as perspective on the value of putting work into something even if you don’t end up using the product of it. 

    Towards the end of this process I came up against my own perfectionism and felt a bit disappointed with how my draft was looking a few weeks before the due date. I felt I had put a lot fo work in and what came out of that wasn’t nearly as polished and developed as I had hoped it would be. Time and urgency forced me to keep working and trust the final piece would come together well at the end. Allowing myself to sit with the feeling of not being able to complete enough while also pushing through to make sure I ended up with a polished finished product increased my trust in myself. 

    I realized that I have also started referencing my capstone in job interviews and connecting it more to my future goals. I went through a period where I thought there was little space for practical application of my capstone, which is a discussion of spaces for art in the Anthropocene and how artworks can become catalysts or prototypes for different kinds of social change. However I realize there is value in having extensive knowledge of a subject that interacts with a variety of different forces in the world. As I apply to internships related to land management and stewardship, I can connect this work with many of the historical importance of demonstrating different types land management in an art space that I discussed in my capstone. For example, Mel Chin‘s Revival Field, 1991 set a precident for the use of phytoremediation techniques my conducting a study under the guise of an artwork.

    Mel Chin, Revival Field, 1991

    Ultimately, completing my capstone has taught me patience, resourcefulness, and trust int he process. I am looking foreward to being able to apply these skills in a professional setting in the future.

  • May 1, 2020 at 5:55pm

    The recent coronavirus outbreak has permeated all aspects of our daily lives, especially the ways in which we engage with each other and the environment. As emissions decrease and pollution lessens, the “what” that we focus on is shifting from issues of environment to issues of environmental justice.

    But “who” is being most affected by the outbreak? Skyrocketing unemployment will precipitate a sharp increase in poverty, consequently widening racial disparities. Researchers at Columbia University predict that poverty will rise twice as much among blacks as among whites. In the U.S., people of color are more likely to be predisposed to deadly illness and disease, largely due to historically increased exposure to toxic hazards and air/water pollution. Since black Americans are affected far more by lung conditions than white Americans, a disproportionate percentage of COVID-19 deaths are made up by African Americans (DeParle 2020). In Chicago, for example, black people have made up 72% of virus-related deaths, even though they make up less than a third of the population, at nearly six times the rate of white Chicagoans. Latinos are also being hit particularly hard by the outbreak: In New York, Latinos make up 29% of the population, but comprise 39% of those who have succumbed to COVID-19, dying at more than double the rate of white people (LCLAA 2020). Coronavirus relief packages exclude undocumented Americans, which makes up 21% of the Latino population.

    The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reports huge racial disparities in the effects of COVID-19.

    Low-income populations tend to live in more urban areas and in closer proximity to others. Even if they aren’t laid off, many people simply can’t afford to stay home from work, increasing their exposure to the disease. These populations also make up a huge amount of “essential workers” who are in jobs at high risk of COVID-19 exposure. Rent is still being collected at a large scale, but even freezing rent only delays mass evictions and a surge in homelessness.

    In tandem with racism in the healthcare system, environmental racism has created monumentally increased risk and decreased resiliency within populations of color. The Natural Resources Defense Council describes environmental racism as the injustice faced by “communities of color, which are often poor,” who “are routinely targeted to host facilities that have negative environmental impacts” (Miller and Skelton 2020). People of color are disproportionately harmed by industrial toxins on their jobs and in their neighborhoods (Bullard 1993). The pandemic has shed greater light on issues of environmental racism and injustice, and has only further exacerbated existing health and economic disparities between people of color and white people in the U.S. (Ettachfini 2020).

    Environmental justice advocates.

    So “how” do we engage during times like these? It’s difficult to create solutions for engagement when the disparities in access and safety are so glaring. Many organizations, companies, and even schools have turned to online platforms for communication and some maintenance of normal interactions. We have had the opportunity to experience virtual learning firsthand, which has brought about both challenges as well as unexpected advantages. Organizations such as Oregon Humanities have begun hosting their projects through video platforms. Not only has the transition to gathering online made programs such as their Conversation Project more accessible, it has also allowed people to discuss and grapple with the stress and hardship that comes along with a global crisis. However, the transition to internet-reliant work, school, and communication has made internet inaccessibility an even issue, prompting some to argue for universal internet access to bridge the digital divide.

    We are all facing hurdles and have been forced to change the way that we are living. Whether it’s orders to shelter-in-place or the sheer prospect of our gloomy situation, people around the world are facing financial, emotional, and mental stress. Now more than ever is it vital to practice engagement and seek understanding across our differences.

    Works Cited:

    • Bullard, Robert D. Confronting Environmental Racism: Voices from the Grassroots. Boston: South End Press, 1993.
    • DeParle, Jason. “A Gloomy Prediction on How Much Poverty Could Rise.” The New York Times, April 16, 2020, sec. The Upshot. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/16/upshot/coronavirus-prediction-rise-poverty.html.
    • Miller, Vernice, and Skelton, Renee. “The Environmental Justice Movement.” NRDC, March 17, 2016. https://www.nrdc.org/stories/environmental-justice-movement.
    • Ettachfini, Leila. “Environmental Racism Is Why Coronavirus Is Damaging Communities of Color – VICE.” Accessed May 1, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/k7ev93/coronavirus-death-rates-environmental-racism.
    • Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) and El Comité Mijente. “The Impact of COVID-19 on Latinos in the U.S.” April 11, 2020. Accessed April 16, 2020.

  • 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.
  • February 27, 2020 at 8:32am
  • Robin Zeller
    Robin Zeller ’15 describes how ENVS lead to a degree in medical anthropology.
  • March 2, 2020 at 8:44pm
  • April 28, 2020 at 3:39pm

    In past ENVS courses, we were often asked to imagine what a situated research project would look like using the hourglass model. We were asked to do parts of the hourglass and ponder what we would do if we had the time and resources to complete the project. However, we never actually conducted the project. Until now. 

    My capstone was the first time I had the space to put my all into a project of my interest and work through the entire hourglass. It took about six months of inquiry, research, and edits to produce a thesis that reflects the full hourglass of my research. Now that I am on the other side I am both proud of what I accomplished but underwhelmed because I know there is so much work to do beyond the hourglass just to answer my specific focus question, how will Portland, OR’s Residential Infill Program (RIP) impact affordable housing in East Portland? While I stand behind the argument in my thesis, I know that to fully understand this question and my broader framing question would take more research throughout the years to see how the RIP develops and what outside factors also may influence housing affordability in this region.

     
    This project taught me how to complete a larger research paper using the hourglass model instead of just making a plan for the work I would do. However, I am feeling a similar way to how I felt when we completed those theoretical hourglass projects in past ENVS classes: unsure how meaningful my work is. It is meaningful to me because I completed a piece of work I am proud of, a piece that goes more in-depth than anything I have written before, a piece that shows I have grown as a writer, researcher, and analyst.

    However, I am not sure this translates to meaning in the context of my framing and focus question. I guess that is commonplace for an undergraduate thesis, I’m not trying to get published here. But, to some extent, I thought I would, for the first time, make an argument that would not have a “but” at the end. I thought my argument could stand without a qualifier that if I only had more time or could research this for longer my work would hold more meaning. I guess academics are always faced with this issue, though. At some point, you have to stop cooking and put what you have on the table. Maybe the biggest lesson I learned throughout this process, albeit something I learned while writing this post, is that there will always be more to research, work, and discovery to be done and part of writing an in-depth research paper, especially using the hourglass model, is accepting that and still working to understand your topic with the resources you have.

  • May 6, 2020 at 5:21pm

    Introduction

    With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting hard across the globe, lasting change is being created in many sectors of life and many individuals have been faced with adversity. Currently, we have been left wondering what the aftermath of this will be, when or if things will return to “normal”, and how we can prepare for and avoid this in the future. There are many questions still to be answered, but here, I examine what our world might look like in the next year from the perspective of environmental engagement.

    The Who

    Ultimately, we are being forced to push the capacities of modern medicine right now, with healthcare systems on the brink and researchers putting many resources into developing treatment for the virus. Seeing that this is also a zoonotic disease, originating from animals, many scientific disciplines will need to be brought together to analyze what is going on, as well as identify the most prudent pieces of future knowledge. We will need many people with diverse areas of expertise during these times. For example, COVID-19 has stressed the importance of health safety, how we will get our economy back together, and even how we can be more conscious in reducing stress on our planet. There is even an interesting journal article that discusses phone and data tracking, as we have talked about this as something we may have to do to track the spread of the virus. So, it will have to be all hands on deck this next year, and we will need a lot of people’s help.

    The How

    Large gatherings have already been discouraged and will continue to be closely monitored for the foreseeable future. I believe that this will definitely remain important well into 2021 and will affect environmental engagement in a few ways. First of all, we must consider that it may not be possible to gather in the capacity that is required for discussing prevalent issues. For example, on our reconnaissance trip, we gathered in groups that totaled around 40-45 people. In the next year, we may need to consider the development of an online method of doing this. We have utilized Zoom so far, but in an engagement-style discussion, we should consider how we can make this flow smoothly and efficiently. Additionally, the question of how we can safely physically gather people will be examined this next year. If we end up progressing in our battle with the pandemic, there will still be wariness of how to do this, such as spacing people apart, dividing up into separate rooms, and more.

    Satellite images, such as this one of Italy, show a significant drop in emissions (Courtesy of Meghan Bartels)

    The What

    I think a big question that will persevere in this next year is how we can reduce stress on our planet. So far, we have seen how a mass sheltering has affected the environment. For example, this video by Future Planet details how Nitrogen dioxide emissions in Italy have significantly decreased, which is a pollutant that can cause respiratory disease. Could cleaning our environment lower our chances of facing something like this again in the future? That may depend on how we respond after we are able to move around again. Within engagement, the balance between environment and economy looms as a debated topic in the year to come. Society wants to work again, but there are also people who wonder if we will overcompensate when the time comes. It is a big question, and we will see what happens going forward.

  • March 2, 2020 at 9:02pm
  • April 27, 2020 at 12:46pm

    Introduction

    As I mentioned in my course summary, working on a scholarly project so elaborate, over such a long period of time, was something that I had never done before. This was a very unique opportunity for me to develop my research and project management skills that would have not been possible without this process of finalizing one’s capstone in ENVS 400. Overall, I had a lot of fun during this––admittedly very challenging––semester in which we did a lot of in-person work together and also spent a lot of time in virtual class as well!

    Time Management

    On a more personal note, I have always had trouble with time management and it has been very difficult for me, previously, to allow a sufficient amount of time for me to actually complete large projects in a way that I am happy with. That being said, the Environmental Studies Program did a fantastic job of easing us into each step of the capstone process since ENVS 220. I don’t intend to say that they exactly held our hands, by any means, but the act of breaking the capstone ordeal into so many little pieces, with intermittent deadlines, really helped me surmount some of my issues with time management. Breaking up each section of writing with wordcounts and topics proved to be not only motivating, but also incredibly helpful in planning and creating a flow within my argument.

    Best Lessons

    My takeaways from this class are nearly infinite but I would say that I really gained the most from the process itself (i.e. formulating, planning, and then actually writing a Thesis). This being the case, my ‘Best Lesson’ from our capstone work is being confident in the fact that I can start a scholarly undertaking, no matter how daunting, break it up, and actually be capable of completing it in a manner that I am proud of. I really gained a lot of independence in writing and research during this time and that has been incredibly important for me to realize. This also has implications for my graduate career, such as my desire to get a PhD (which will obviously require lots of time management skills!) but, as I mentioned in my first capstone post, I don’t really know what I want to do after Lewis & Clark. I have not made any firm decisions regarding exactly where I will be taking my career in the future but, regardless, these takeaways will be invaluable, no matter what I decide to do.

  • May 1, 2020 at 5:55pm

    The recent coronavirus outbreak has permeated all aspects of our daily lives, especially the ways in which we engage with each other and the environment. As emissions decrease and pollution lessens, the “what” that we focus on is shifting from issues of environment to issues of environmental justice.

    But “who” is being most affected by the outbreak? Skyrocketing unemployment will precipitate a sharp increase in poverty, consequently widening racial disparities. Researchers at Columbia University predict that poverty will rise twice as much among blacks as among whites. In the U.S., people of color are more likely to be predisposed to deadly illness and disease, largely due to historically increased exposure to toxic hazards and air/water pollution. Since black Americans are affected far more by lung conditions than white Americans, a disproportionate percentage of COVID-19 deaths are made up by African Americans (DeParle 2020). In Chicago, for example, black people have made up 72% of virus-related deaths, even though they make up less than a third of the population, at nearly six times the rate of white Chicagoans. Latinos are also being hit particularly hard by the outbreak: In New York, Latinos make up 29% of the population, but comprise 39% of those who have succumbed to COVID-19, dying at more than double the rate of white people (LCLAA 2020). Coronavirus relief packages exclude undocumented Americans, which makes up 21% of the Latino population.

    The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reports huge racial disparities in the effects of COVID-19.

    Low-income populations tend to live in more urban areas and in closer proximity to others. Even if they aren’t laid off, many people simply can’t afford to stay home from work, increasing their exposure to the disease. These populations also make up a huge amount of “essential workers” who are in jobs at high risk of COVID-19 exposure. Rent is still being collected at a large scale, but even freezing rent only delays mass evictions and a surge in homelessness.

    In tandem with racism in the healthcare system, environmental racism has created monumentally increased risk and decreased resiliency within populations of color. The Natural Resources Defense Council describes environmental racism as the injustice faced by “communities of color, which are often poor,” who “are routinely targeted to host facilities that have negative environmental impacts” (Miller and Skelton 2020). People of color are disproportionately harmed by industrial toxins on their jobs and in their neighborhoods (Bullard 1993). The pandemic has shed greater light on issues of environmental racism and injustice, and has only further exacerbated existing health and economic disparities between people of color and white people in the U.S. (Ettachfini 2020).

    Environmental justice advocates.

    So “how” do we engage during times like these? It’s difficult to create solutions for engagement when the disparities in access and safety are so glaring. Many organizations, companies, and even schools have turned to online platforms for communication and some maintenance of normal interactions. We have had the opportunity to experience virtual learning firsthand, which has brought about both challenges as well as unexpected advantages. Organizations such as Oregon Humanities have begun hosting their projects through video platforms. Not only has the transition to gathering online made programs such as their Conversation Project more accessible, it has also allowed people to discuss and grapple with the stress and hardship that comes along with a global crisis. However, the transition to internet-reliant work, school, and communication has made internet inaccessibility an even issue, prompting some to argue for universal internet access to bridge the digital divide.

    We are all facing hurdles and have been forced to change the way that we are living. Whether it’s orders to shelter-in-place or the sheer prospect of our gloomy situation, people around the world are facing financial, emotional, and mental stress. Now more than ever is it vital to practice engagement and seek understanding across our differences.

    Works Cited:

    • Bullard, Robert D. Confronting Environmental Racism: Voices from the Grassroots. Boston: South End Press, 1993.
    • DeParle, Jason. “A Gloomy Prediction on How Much Poverty Could Rise.” The New York Times, April 16, 2020, sec. The Upshot. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/16/upshot/coronavirus-prediction-rise-poverty.html.
    • Miller, Vernice, and Skelton, Renee. “The Environmental Justice Movement.” NRDC, March 17, 2016. https://www.nrdc.org/stories/environmental-justice-movement.
    • Ettachfini, Leila. “Environmental Racism Is Why Coronavirus Is Damaging Communities of Color – VICE.” Accessed May 1, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/k7ev93/coronavirus-death-rates-environmental-racism.
    • Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) and El Comité Mijente. “The Impact of COVID-19 on Latinos in the U.S.” April 11, 2020. Accessed April 16, 2020.

  • April 30, 2020 at 2:27pm

    College has felt far from a simple process, and I definitely feel like I’ve been struggling through. I cannot wait to graduate, even though this year it means no ceremony. However, it has definitely introduced me to a new type of critical thinking that I am so grateful for. The time management skills I’ve gained alone was worth it. As looking forward I am to a break from academics, we’re not entirely out of the woods yet. I have piles of research to organize into my final thesis before I can submit it.

    One of the greater things I’ve learned during my capstone was what it was like to truly deepen understanding around a topic. From a vague concept one year ago to a concrete thesis, I have developed many skills around bibliographic research and understanding the Environmental Studies’ hourglass strategy. I organized my elective classes this semester around furthering my capstone topic, and it certainly paid off. The integration of multiple disciplines made me extremely glad that I finally decided on the Environmental Studies program, and I could not recommend it enough. The individual research projects that we have completed throughout our years in this department have given me many specific skills that have helped in each class — let alone when I apply it to individual topics I am passionate about outside of school. Zotero?! Fantastic program, and I feel like I’ve used it every day since downloading it in Jim’s 200 level Environmental Studies course.

    Critical research skills feels like by far the most significant thing I’ve learned. Being able to pick apart peer-reviewed scholarly sources to ultimately inform my own opinion has served me not only in school, but even my media consumption. I feel like it has given me a new language to move from, and the major itself gave me a new viewpoint to understand the climate crisis in a way I had a minimum understanding around beforehand. I honestly surprise myself when I am able to comprehend environmental reports and translate it to concepts that my friends and family can wrap their heads around when it feels so exclusive and apocalyptic in popular media. The sociology, writing, and philosophy classes I’ve been able to incorporate into the Environmental Studies program have contributed massively to my world-view, which develops by the day. I’ve been exposed to so many authors and can talk about Rachel Carson’s impact on the modern day environmental justice movement in my sleep at this point. It has made me more community-minded and critical of the United States mainstream system with the lens of productive institutional change. I didn’t even get in to the particular knowledge from my thesis, but felt that I became more reflective of my years at Lewis & Clark more than I thought I would responding to this prompt!

  • February 27, 2020 at 8:32am
  • May 6, 2020 at 4:15pm

    In a rapidly changing world, the introduction of highly-infectious diseases will always be a looming threat. Sometimes they are extinguished before they can do global damage, and sometimes they linger for years and damage communities beyond repair. As humanity grows and touches more parts of the animal kingdom, diseases which formerly only infected animals have now begun hopping aboard the Homo sapien bus. As the ENVX Symposium approaches, the coming year’s topic being conservation, this is a staunch reminder of the effects of extensive contact between humans and wildlife.

    The New Who

    As we struggle to find the correct avenue to execute the ENVX Symposium while keeping everyone healthy, we must bring up the topic of who will be included. As discussed in a handful of my past articles, student panels will be playing a heightened role in the 23rd annual symposium; with students scrambling to make sure their families are safe, fly god knows how many miles to get home, and complete a semester which has been put online, the idea of preparing themselves for an extensive discussion would be, in the kindest words, the last thing on their plate. Because of this, the ENVX Symposium’s committee must pay closer attention to picking the right candidates who have both the means and the knowledge to sit on a panel; where are they currently located? Do they have a strong internet connection? What is their field of expertise? These are all questions which would be asked before we could confidently pick a researcher. 

    The New What

    The study of, and need for, conservation is still as present today as it was yesterday. Perhaps the world of humans has ground to a halt, but this is not the case for the wildlife which occupies every corner of the globe, or for that matter many poachers, traffickers, and buyers of illegal goods who are still very invested in these global trade networks. Perhaps this fall is not the best time, but has there ever been a perfect time to address something? The discussion must still go on because it is a discussion which affects everyone on earth, with or without the presence of a global pandemic. If anything, the effect of COViD-19 on how we implement conservation practices would be a tremendous topic to touch upon due to its relevance and intriguing nature as we all navigate this sticky situation together. 

    The New How

    As I’ve mentioned before, the ENVX Symposium is rapidly adjusting to the situation at hand. After numerous meetings, primarily through the lens of a camera, it is the unanimous decision that the symposium will be hosted online for its 23rd annual occurrence. Luckily for us, in the information age this is entirely possible and stunningly easy so long as we follow the correct steps and use the right software. In fact, the move from in-person to online may allow for better engagement between our student panel and the audience; viewers will be able to stream the talk from their homes and ask questions in real-time without disturbing presentations. If it is decided that these panels will be recorded, then those who missed the live version will still be able to participate. Another great aspect to recorded sessions would be the viewer’s ability to rewind the video. Missed that one comment or speaker? Now you don’t have to second-guess what you know and instead just hear it a second, third, or even fourth time. 

    Yes, the pandemic offers a slough of challenges that we must overcome, but through teamwork and adaptation this process could shed light on new practices which might revolutionize the way that Lewis & Clark delivers their symposium. There’s many new opportunities to pursue.

  • April 23, 2020 at 8:27am
  • 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.
  • Rachael Lipinski (’09), a graduate of the Environmental Studies Program at Lewis & Clark College, writes about her time working as an environmental attorney.
  • May 6, 2020 at 5:21pm

    Introduction

    With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting hard across the globe, lasting change is being created in many sectors of life and many individuals have been faced with adversity. Currently, we have been left wondering what the aftermath of this will be, when or if things will return to “normal”, and how we can prepare for and avoid this in the future. There are many questions still to be answered, but here, I examine what our world might look like in the next year from the perspective of environmental engagement.

    The Who

    Ultimately, we are being forced to push the capacities of modern medicine right now, with healthcare systems on the brink and researchers putting many resources into developing treatment for the virus. Seeing that this is also a zoonotic disease, originating from animals, many scientific disciplines will need to be brought together to analyze what is going on, as well as identify the most prudent pieces of future knowledge. We will need many people with diverse areas of expertise during these times. For example, COVID-19 has stressed the importance of health safety, how we will get our economy back together, and even how we can be more conscious in reducing stress on our planet. There is even an interesting journal article that discusses phone and data tracking, as we have talked about this as something we may have to do to track the spread of the virus. So, it will have to be all hands on deck this next year, and we will need a lot of people’s help.

    The How

    Large gatherings have already been discouraged and will continue to be closely monitored for the foreseeable future. I believe that this will definitely remain important well into 2021 and will affect environmental engagement in a few ways. First of all, we must consider that it may not be possible to gather in the capacity that is required for discussing prevalent issues. For example, on our reconnaissance trip, we gathered in groups that totaled around 40-45 people. In the next year, we may need to consider the development of an online method of doing this. We have utilized Zoom so far, but in an engagement-style discussion, we should consider how we can make this flow smoothly and efficiently. Additionally, the question of how we can safely physically gather people will be examined this next year. If we end up progressing in our battle with the pandemic, there will still be wariness of how to do this, such as spacing people apart, dividing up into separate rooms, and more.

    Satellite images, such as this one of Italy, show a significant drop in emissions (Courtesy of Meghan Bartels)

    The What

    I think a big question that will persevere in this next year is how we can reduce stress on our planet. So far, we have seen how a mass sheltering has affected the environment. For example, this video by Future Planet details how Nitrogen dioxide emissions in Italy have significantly decreased, which is a pollutant that can cause respiratory disease. Could cleaning our environment lower our chances of facing something like this again in the future? That may depend on how we respond after we are able to move around again. Within engagement, the balance between environment and economy looms as a debated topic in the year to come. Society wants to work again, but there are also people who wonder if we will overcompensate when the time comes. It is a big question, and we will see what happens going forward.

  • May 4, 2020 at 8:55pm
  • April 27, 2020 at 8:59pm
  • May 13, 2020 at 4:02pm

    “How has the way I understand/communicate my capstone evolved over this semester or year?”

    Out of all the seniors in the ENVS program, my capstone has had one of the more dramatic changes in the last year. I have spent the last couple years looking into the role of urban green space within cities; however, after a taxing semester, I realize that there wasn’t much more I could write about it and I was not confident that I had anything new to say in the confidence of a Capstone project.

     However, this opened up a new opportunity to look into the role of earthquake resiliency. This jump was not as drastic as it may seem. From my time in New Zealand as well as geology classes at Lewis and Clark, I’ve spent a decent amount of time during my college career looking at earthquake resiliency.  In addition, while I had a new topic many of the ideas theories from my first Capstone plan such as social equity, city zoning, and planning, the historic ties to human-built landscape carried over quite easily into this new field.

    Within the context of my capstone after it changed, so primarily the semester, I think the biggest change throughout the project was my overall outlook. What I mean to say is that when I started this project, I did so with a somewhat pessimistic view on our ability to prepare for earthquakes as well as treat citizens equally. Looking back at the current iteration of the project, it is much more matter fact solution-oriented lending it an air of optimism that I didn’t necessarily have come into the project. I think the biggest reason for this is that when I began the project is done much of the research but not engaged with it on my own. While working with this information it gave me a much more purposeful sense of what can be done.

    Also feel one of the major changes that my capstone went through was that I actually realized there was a point to it. Before, I knew the topic and questions I was going to ask but I didn’t have much direction outside of that. Having my options limited through the complications of the semester as well as carrying out the project itself, allowed me to focus and create a precise project. In both iterations I wanted to do too much and I believe this current situation allowed me to to the distraction valve and focusing on what mattered. 

    Despite the significant changes to the project over the last few months, I feel that this is the best Iteration of my capstone and I am proud of the work I produced. 

  • Environmental Studies and Economics major Aaron Fellows ’16 talks about his summer internship with the International Economic Development Council.
  • April 27, 2020 at 11:58am

    Looking back on this past academic year it is hard to make a list in my head about the many things that I have learned along the way while creating my final thesis. The main three pieces I have taken from this huge project have been, the connections made with my professors and educators working in Portland. Learning how to think and rethink the same idea many times and understanding there is often as much, if not more importance in the process than the final outcome.

    Making Connections

    Learning to make connections and work with people towards my final thesis outcome was an extremely valuable skill that I am hoping will serve me well in the working world. The relationships I have built with professors at Lewis and Clark over the past few years in the Environmental Studies Program were depend when I was able to gain their help and expertise on topics I was really passionate about. Throughout my internship at Growing Gardens I was also able to make lots of connections with garden educators in the Portland area, either working directly with them or conducting informational interviews. Overall in the process of creating my thesis I was able to meet people in a field of my interest, and use these connections to deepen my understanding of garden education and environmental theory.

    Rethinking and Rethinking

    Patience and persistence were skills I practiced and practiced this past year. Working on a thesis can appear daunting and overwhelming, but I aimed to work through the processes in as many small steps as possible. Trying not to cram the work into too many long sessions, I broke it up and let it rest for a few days at a time, giving me time to process what I had been doing. Coming back to my final outcome every few days allowed me to rethink certain aspects of it and see holes in my own work. I was able to understand that your work is never going to be perfect on the first try, or even the last for that matter but that is okay. I am hoping this ability to work towards a long term goal will serve me well in my professional life, not to become frustrated with projects easily. 

    Valuing Development

    Finally as I got closer to finishing my thesis, I started to worry about how others would perceive my final outcome. Having promised people at Growing Gardens I would share my work with them, I was concerned about what they would think about my thesis and how I had used their interviews. I wanted my thesis to be useful and meaningful to other people besides myself, having lofty goals of how it could change some of the practices at Growing Gardens. As I worried about these outcomes, I began to realize, maybe it did not matter. I learned to accept the bigger impact of what I had been working on for the past nine months was all about the process and my own growth and understanding. My final paper may not be read in depth by anyone, except my advisor but in the process of creating it I have grown so much as a writer and thinker.

  • April 28, 2020 at 3:39pm

    In past ENVS courses, we were often asked to imagine what a situated research project would look like using the hourglass model. We were asked to do parts of the hourglass and ponder what we would do if we had the time and resources to complete the project. However, we never actually conducted the project. Until now. 

    My capstone was the first time I had the space to put my all into a project of my interest and work through the entire hourglass. It took about six months of inquiry, research, and edits to produce a thesis that reflects the full hourglass of my research. Now that I am on the other side I am both proud of what I accomplished but underwhelmed because I know there is so much work to do beyond the hourglass just to answer my specific focus question, how will Portland, OR’s Residential Infill Program (RIP) impact affordable housing in East Portland? While I stand behind the argument in my thesis, I know that to fully understand this question and my broader framing question would take more research throughout the years to see how the RIP develops and what outside factors also may influence housing affordability in this region.

     
    This project taught me how to complete a larger research paper using the hourglass model instead of just making a plan for the work I would do. However, I am feeling a similar way to how I felt when we completed those theoretical hourglass projects in past ENVS classes: unsure how meaningful my work is. It is meaningful to me because I completed a piece of work I am proud of, a piece that goes more in-depth than anything I have written before, a piece that shows I have grown as a writer, researcher, and analyst.

    However, I am not sure this translates to meaning in the context of my framing and focus question. I guess that is commonplace for an undergraduate thesis, I’m not trying to get published here. But, to some extent, I thought I would, for the first time, make an argument that would not have a “but” at the end. I thought my argument could stand without a qualifier that if I only had more time or could research this for longer my work would hold more meaning. I guess academics are always faced with this issue, though. At some point, you have to stop cooking and put what you have on the table. Maybe the biggest lesson I learned throughout this process, albeit something I learned while writing this post, is that there will always be more to research, work, and discovery to be done and part of writing an in-depth research paper, especially using the hourglass model, is accepting that and still working to understand your topic with the resources you have.

  • March 2, 2020 at 8:44pm
  • April 27, 2020 at 11:58am

    Looking back on this past academic year it is hard to make a list in my head about the many things that I have learned along the way while creating my final thesis. The main three pieces I have taken from this huge project have been, the connections made with my professors and educators working in Portland. Learning how to think and rethink the same idea many times and understanding there is often as much, if not more importance in the process than the final outcome.

    Making Connections

    Learning to make connections and work with people towards my final thesis outcome was an extremely valuable skill that I am hoping will serve me well in the working world. The relationships I have built with professors at Lewis and Clark over the past few years in the Environmental Studies Program were depend when I was able to gain their help and expertise on topics I was really passionate about. Throughout my internship at Growing Gardens I was also able to make lots of connections with garden educators in the Portland area, either working directly with them or conducting informational interviews. Overall in the process of creating my thesis I was able to meet people in a field of my interest, and use these connections to deepen my understanding of garden education and environmental theory.

    Rethinking and Rethinking

    Patience and persistence were skills I practiced and practiced this past year. Working on a thesis can appear daunting and overwhelming, but I aimed to work through the processes in as many small steps as possible. Trying not to cram the work into too many long sessions, I broke it up and let it rest for a few days at a time, giving me time to process what I had been doing. Coming back to my final outcome every few days allowed me to rethink certain aspects of it and see holes in my own work. I was able to understand that your work is never going to be perfect on the first try, or even the last for that matter but that is okay. I am hoping this ability to work towards a long term goal will serve me well in my professional life, not to become frustrated with projects easily. 

    Valuing Development

    Finally as I got closer to finishing my thesis, I started to worry about how others would perceive my final outcome. Having promised people at Growing Gardens I would share my work with them, I was concerned about what they would think about my thesis and how I had used their interviews. I wanted my thesis to be useful and meaningful to other people besides myself, having lofty goals of how it could change some of the practices at Growing Gardens. As I worried about these outcomes, I began to realize, maybe it did not matter. I learned to accept the bigger impact of what I had been working on for the past nine months was all about the process and my own growth and understanding. My final paper may not be read in depth by anyone, except my advisor but in the process of creating it I have grown so much as a writer and thinker.

  • February 27, 2020 at 8:28am
  • March 12, 2020 at 9:24am
  • April 23, 2020 at 8:27am
  • February 27, 2020 at 8:27am
  • May 6, 2020 at 5:52pm

    As I sit reflecting on how much our environments have changed since February, you cannot help but ask what a new normal may look like. It is clear that every form of everyday life has been affected. While I write this in the dining room of my work, I cannot help but feel out of place. Why am I taking my finals in a shut down dining room? Will the dining room ever hold the same amount of people? If so, when? What will the future be for restaurants?

    Since quarantine started around the United States restaurants have had to pivot or shut down. My employer, Cantina 229, has adapted to family style take out meals with a different menu each week. Luckily the restaurant has been able to remain open and in return be able to support local agriculture. On the other hand Restaurants such as Prune in New York City have had to shut their doors. 

    Low Country Family Meal

    In an article published in the New York Times, Gabrielle Hamilton, the Chef and owner of Prune described in a deeply emotional piece the hard decision to shut their doors. During the article Hamilton describes the realization that post COVID dining may be different. She writes, “But I know few of us will come back as we were. And that doesn’t seem to me like a bad thing at all; perhaps it will be a chance for a correction,” going on to explain, “For restaurants, coronavirus-mandated closures are like the oral surgery or appendectomy you suddenly face while you are uninsured. These closures will take out the weakest and the most vulnerable.” These types of conversations are similar to ones that my coworkers have had during staff meals. Questions are raised such as, what can we do in the meantime waiting? Or when we can finally open what will that look like? 

    Commonly we think of a spreading of tables to incorporate social distancing. It may also take changing the menu to accomodate a buffet delivery system, or a small expensive tasting menu inside. But what do we do in the meantime? The answer seems to be to make the best food possible while also attempting to support ethical clean local food. 

    Making agricultural headlines today we look at journalists reporting on meat shortages. Today the Wall Street Journal published an article titled, A Smart Guide to the U.S. Meat Shortage. Highlighted in buying limits and regulation as COVID spreads into meat facilities we need to ask questions about our agricultural system. First, we can look at it from an ethical point of view. Do we as humans want to be consuming meat going through a facility so large? I recall a time at Cantina when we received new pigs. We were feeding them when a coworker decided he may not be able to eat them when butcher time came. My boss replied with a thought out quiet response, “these pigs live a great life everyday, we do everything we can to make sure they have the best time possible. In the end they have one bad day the day we take them to be butchered. The meat you buy at the supermarket, those pigs don’t have the same happiness.” Perhaps it isn’t so bad we eat less meat. Maybe we should focus on eating the right meat. 

    Local Wild Ramps Picked Fresh for the Menu

    The United States eats more meat than any other country in the world. According to an article by Business Insider, we consume 198.5 Lbs of meat per person per year. Europe consumes on average 50 Lbs less than we do. Perhaps the question we should be asking as environmentalists and cooks is not only how to support local farmers but also our use of meat. Maybe it is the chefs job to redesign restaurants. COVID serves as an opportunity to redefine cooking and american gastronomy. With meat causing a problem to the United States consumer, a new diet could be the answer to both chefs as well as the general public. It is my belief the future of restaurants relies on a movement which is pushing for ethical sustainable food.