CE3 Brownbag, Friday, Sept. 23 @ 12pm: MSES Environmental Student Panel

Join us this Friday, September 23 from 12 – 1 p.m. in Bldg. 22 on The Ridges, Room 221, for the first CE3 Brownbag Lunch this semester as a panel of Master of Science in Environmental Studies students highlight their great environmental research and service projects at the Voinovich School.

The Consortium for Energy, Economics & the Environment (CE3) and the Environmental Studies program hosts a CE3 Brownbag Lunch Series each semester. These Friday forums include an informal lunch presentation and Q&A related to environmental topics of interest. The events are open to all Voinovich School students, as well as OHIO faculty, staff and students and the community.

Free pizza will be available, but feel free to bring your own lunch. This is a green event so bring your own water bottle and make efforts to reduce your food waste.

Not sure how to get up to The Ridges? Check out the Red Line CATS Shuttle, the Athens Public Transit routes, walk or ride your bike.

For additional information, contact Elissa Welch, welche@ohio.edu.


Making Connections

By: Mat Roberts

As a student of the Kanawha project, a grant-funding initiative to advance carbon neutrality through the facilitation of climate literacy, I feel fortunate to be a part of pushing environmental dialogue into the classroom. Most of the Kanawha consists of faculty, some from other branches, seeking to add climate change context into their syllabi. As one of six students, our job is to share what we know to the professors and to be the student perspective in decision-making.

The great part about this community is the opportunity we all have to share distinct perspectives on climate change. I am the editor of College Green Magazine, an independent online publication dedicated to bringing the most provocative and engaging environmental news. I met many professors during the first Kanawha gathering who were interested in the vision I have for College Green Magazine in the future: bringing about greater awareness of climate change and showing how to live a sustainable life. At the time, the main problem was finding enough staff members to produce a viable media product and I expressed this concern deeply. The fact is, understanding climate change language is difficult.

Excited as I was to talk to these professors, I am pleased to say the response to my passion excited me even more. Craig Meyer, professor of rhetorical English, reached out to me beyond the Kanawha project to develop a project of his own in his current writing in environmental sustainability class. The students in his class, as part of a large portion of their grade, will be producing content for College Green Magazine.

The goal is to create an incentive to take this course, not only because students can learn more about climate change through the efforts of Craig’s participation in the Kanawha project, but can also leave with a valuable portfolio piece published in a student-led environmental publication. In return, I have been receiving new ideas each day. Some students will be working on a series of articles to turn in weekly, while others will choose to create a much larger product for the magazine. Because the students feel like they are part of something bigger than their grade point average, I feel like making connections like this is part of the solution towards improving climate change literacy.

My main goal would be to have this partnership in every ENG3100J course at Ohio University. With the partnership, creating content becomes a stress of the past. With all of the saved time, I envision College Green Magazine providing services to further enhance interest in environmental studies such as a comprehensive jobs and internships board, a research resources page connected with the Alden library databases, and a shared student and community eco-events calendar. All of this to say: if you have an idea for the common good, do not ever give up.


It’s Not Easy Being Green

If there is one thing I have learned being a grad student in environmental studies, it is that there is no easy solution to our problems.  In fact, much of what I have studied contradicts each other.  Many people have rigid notions of what it means to be environmentally friendly.  But when factoring in a rapidly growing human population and a variety of interrelated social and ecological factors, complications ensue.

I believe it is important to admit environmental issues are not black and white.  I have heard enough petty debating among environmentalists with differing views on the best course of action to take to understand why “environmentalist” has a negative connotation in mainstream culture.  If we can’t get over our own egos, how do we expect the rest of the human population to follow suit?  We must admit that, as a part of modern society, we are all guilty of creating negative impacts on the Earth.  And then we need to get rid of the concept of guilt.  It has been my experience so far in life that guilt does little except create resentment.

Perhaps I am getting too philosophical.  This is another problem I have noticed in my studies of environmental issues: the tendency for academia to be abstract and inapplicable to the concrete world.  But I suppose that constitutes another rant for another day…

Get Involved!

If you’re an MSES student like myself, you probably love to get involved with as many environmental opportunities and events as you can. Even if sustainability isn’t your major, you may still love the environment and volunteering for good causes. In either case, it is good to be aware of the resources available to you. If you are a student of Ohio University, you are fortunate to have a wide variety of resources at your disposal…you just have to know where to look!

The Office of Sustainability (ohio.edu/sustainability) is a great resource for anyone interested in volunteering, creating a workshop, getting a research project funded, living sustainably, networking, gaining professional development skills, etc. If you visit the office home page, you will currently find a chance to apply for funding to run a sustainability program for Earth Month in April. Students, faculty, and staff can apply for grants up to $500.

Are you interested in gardening? The Ecohouse residents (myself included) have been working with the Office of Sustainability to transform our private garden into a community garden space. If you are interested in having your own garden plot, you can find more information on the Office of Sustainability home page. A community garden plot may be adopted by a student group, a department, or an individual.

How about taking it a step beyond gardening at the Ecohouse….what about becoming an Ecohouse resident for the 2012-13 school year? I have been a resident of the Ecohouse for two years and would highly recommend the experience to anyone interested in learning more about green technology and sustainable living. The application process is quick and more information can be found at ohio.edu/ecohouse.

The wonderful opportunities mentioned here are just a tip of the iceberg. I encourage you to explore the recommended websites and discover new possibilities!

—Kylie Johnson