02 November 2014

Getting it done

My world was absorbed by my environmental studies (ENVS) major this past week. We turned in our concentration proposals -- a landmark in the world of ENVS  as every major must create one in ENVS 220 ("Environmental Analysis"). A concentration is a semi-broad topic in a specific context, for example, "Conflicts over Surface Water Management in newly industrialized countries" or "the Political Economy of Industrial Agriculture in the global North." The only real restriction on concentrations is their scale -- it cannot be something as broad as "global climate change" and it cannot be something as specific as "lettuce farmers in the Central Valley of California."

I went into creating my concentration thinking that I was going to double major in ENVS and Sociology/Anthropology. My original idea was to focus on energy justice on the global and local scales, but it just was not coming together in a way I was satisfied with. I wracked my brain, trying to bring the many ideas into my head together to create a cohesive topic that I felt passionate and excited about. I spent the majority of the week brainstorming for my concentration, yet it wasn't until the night before my final proposal was due that I had my breakthrough (a classic situation in college - sometimes things just don't come together until the last minute). My concentration is titled "The Politics of Greenhouse Gas Remediation among the G20 Nations" (to provide context: the G20 are the twenty richest countries in the world). If you are interested in reading my proposal, which gives a full summary about what this topic is and why I am interested in it, go to my concentration page ENVS student site. In teasing out my interests and ideas, I realized that double majoring was in fact not the right decision for me. Though I love sociology/anthropology, I am more excited thinking about politics, political economy, and international affairs. My concentration has far more to do with those topics than it does the study of individual people and cultures. I recognized that, for me, double majoring actually would restrict my academic opportunities, not expand them.

As a side note: if you are interested in the ENVS program at Lewis & Clark, explore the rest of my student site ("Grasping Environmental Studies") to read about some of the things I am doing and learning about in in ENVS 220. This site includes my synthesis posts reflecting on what I learned in the past week, my lab group's reports digesting what we completed in each of our weekly lab sessions, and has all of my concentration work. It could give you a good taste of the "ENVS experience."

In other news, I ran my last cross country race of the season at the Lewis & Clark Invite. I got the stomach flu earlier in the week, so it was actually a pretty horrible race for me. However, the rest of the day (that is, the entire time spent not running) was a blast! It is a LCXC tradition for the entire team to jump in the nearby river -- so cold, but so invigorating! Here are some pics from the day:

Last weekend I went to the AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) 2014 Conference & Student Summit. It was exhausting --I was there for more than ten hours-- but it was so awesome! I am the On-Campus Sustainability Intern and I have been looking for some inspiration for projects and initiatives. I attended keynote addresses from the founder of Chico Bags (who came out in a suit made of single-use plastic bags...), Anna Lappé (the author of "Diet for a Hot Planet" and significant sustainable food activist), and Annie Leonard (the Executive Director for Green Peace and creator of the famous youtube video "the Story of Stuff"). I also went to workshops about how to engage others in sustainability, student activism, and building connections between students, faculty, and staff. I left so excited to get to work at LC -- I'll talk about some of the projects I am working on in my next blog post.

At the AASHE Student Summit 

Myself and Annie Leonard, creator of "the Story of Stuff" and Executive Director for Green Peace