Letter: Goings-on in “Green” Town

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Reed students are working in all venues to engage with issues of sustainability, environmental justice, and the dirt. I’ve collected some recent activities, both associated with the academic institutions and not, to note all in one place! Environmental Studies Major: The interdisciplinary major that was created 3 years ago is maturing, and will graduate the first official cohort of ES majors this year. (A small pioneering handful of seniors took the Junior Seminar course as seniors, and thus graduated last year with the official title.) All ES majors must focus in a home department: chem, bio, polysci, econ, or history, which makes for a prolific set of requirements because it’s designed to indulge students in their home department and then give them adequate exposure to the other fields’ approaches to environmental issues. Wanted: underclassmen. The Garden: Revitalized last winter by some awesome movers and shakers, the Reed Community Garden is growing strong. [Ha.] Although the last tomatoes are now falling off the vines, winter squash are plumping up beautifully and the next round of dark leafy greens (ie kale, collards, etc) are poking through to enjoy these ebbing days of warmth. If you’re interested in joining the fun, getting your hands dirty, taking a break from work, or just to get a tour, work parties happen every Sunday at 4p in the garden. Power Shift: Thirteen students have been working hard fundraising in order to attend a leadership conference in Pittsburgh over fall break. The conference centers around building a youth action movement across the country to resist fossil fuel propagation due to the prominent roles coal, oil, natural gas, tarsands, and hydraulic “fracking” play in climate change and public health. Public Scoping Hearing: Amber Energy is proposing to build a coal export terminal in Longview, Washington (aka, on the Columbia River) to ship upwards of 44 million tons of coal per year through this part of the country to international buyers. There have been many public protests both in Washington and Oregon by all types of community members. This past Tuesday, a group of Reed students attended a public scoping hearing held by the city of Vancouver, WA to hear what other folks had to say, and to submit comments themselves. Direct involvement with the government, hell ya! It’s also possible to submit comments online to both Gov. Inslee of Washington and Gov. Kitzhaber of Oregon. Feeling speechless but want to add your voice? Email me for suggestions about what to write! Greenboard: I speak for myself and the other students involved when I say that we are looking for more students who want to be involved in one capacity or another with environmental protection, justice, and enjoyment. Drop me a line and I’ll plug you in to an area that fits you best! I’m currently a senior Environmental Studies-Econ major, a member of Greenboard and the Garden, and trying to figure out whether divestment from fossil fuels fits with Reeds Investment Responsibility Policy.