« Delayed Response | Main | Building a System of Massive, Grass-roots, Environmental Activism: An Interpretive Approach? »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Jennifer Shriver

Since 1992, a vast amount of my energy and cognition has been focused on raising my two children, dealing with the overwhelming everyday activities of house, family, school, groceries, work, money. I've acquired frown lines and laugh lines, it's been great and terrible, and all-consuming.

Coming back to graduate school after this long hiatus, one of the big impacts is how much climate change has advanced, how clear the science is, and how rough it looks.

So I've been thinking about where I/we might move, and in what ways (community, creativity, social justice, racial equity, renewable energy? who comes along, who gets left behind? co-housing community? geodesic dome? guns? animals?)

I have seen some scenarios that indicate the Great Lakes area as a place where human populations could survive.

So I appreciate all your comments, and the final question, could we live in a small city, perhaps a city that's been abandoned by industries more than once, could I stay happy and resourced and effectively contribute to that town, creating a sustainable and resilient environmental culture?

No answers here. Just open appreciation of the question and the challenge. And your aunt sounds really interesting.

Harsha Maragh

I think you bring up a really interesting point. I often think about where I will end up after this program—in a community like New Castle that needs a little more help in the environmental space, or in a community like Boulder that is already well on its way towards using 100% clean energy. It’s an important question for us to ask ourselves but I think it comes down to what we want to focus on. I know that I am passionate about environmental justice issues and helping those that are on the outskirts of large-scale environmental change, so I would love to work in a community outside of Boulder. The “Boulder bubble” is all too real and I noticed it the first week I got here. I think that it is important to realize that although we are surrounded by great things happening in and for the environment while being in this program and living in Boulder, we will need to go out and work in the “real” world.

Living in the Bronx and working for an environmental non-profit with Brooklyn high school students made me realize that climate change and its effects are not the first thing on everyone’s mind. In many communities in NY (and I’m sure throughout the country), climate change is often something that gets put on the back burner because there are more pressing issues to face. Earning money and having a stable job, even if it is at a coal plant, is more important that having your family go hungry. I think it’s hard for us to wrap our heads around it because coal is clearly the “bad guy” to us but to some it is a steady source of income.

I am hoping to work in communities back home to show that preparing for the effects of climate change doesn’t have to be a trade off for everyday habits/activities/duties. They can be incorporated into your day and do not have to cost extra money or effort.

Sorry for this super long response! This is just a really important question that I think we all need to consider and it’s something that I think about a lot. We should definitely discuss this in our group tomorrow ☺


I think your post really accurately characterizes the “double-edged sword” of engaging with environmental issues in Boulder. On one hand, because Boulder is fairly progressive on environmental issues, it creates the opportunity to innovate and develop new solutions that other jurisdictions may not have tried. On the other hand, it limits your exposure to a greater diversity of opinions and perspectives, which, as our readings have pointed out, likely limits the range of solutions we consider.

I definitely think it’s important to interact with people who have different perspectives than you. How can you truly understand their way of framing the problem, if you’ve never had the opportunity to listen to and understand their perspective? I think it would be really interesting for a city like Boulder to have a partnership with a city like New Castle, to facilitate an exchange of ideas on how to solve larger problems, such as the future of our energy system. It might be challenging to find common ground, but hopefully the mixing of diverse perspectives would generate a solution neither community would have thought of on their own.

Sam Krasnobrod

Yes. Well, maybe. I think the biggest factor for me would be the potential for how little the community would want us to be there. A second factor would be a limited amount of employment opportunities. The best way for me to enter a situation like this would be under the umbrella of a much larger NGO/Gov't initiative set to revitalize the community through renewable energy, or something similar. The same would be true if you asked me to go to Rwanda and install solar panels – I'm not going there unless I have insurances that I will have a job, will be insulated (to a degree) from locals who don't view my work as useful (or who view solar as a demon), and that I would have others working with me to ensure that the effects are widespread.

Yes, I think that it is important to make ideas from our field to accessible to the broadest swath of people. Unfortunately I don't believe that this can be done as an individual effort. Should a program like MENV be placed in a more conservative university, or would the lack of community support invalidate our education?

The comments to this entry are closed.

Brugos Angels

Elephant Metamorphosis

The Barely Functionalists

Charismatic Megafauna