Tuesday, January 10, 2012
This winter has been probably the strangest season I have ever experienced. In Ithaca I have experienced 50 degrees the start of the week and 18 degrees two or three days later. People have been boasting about wearing flip flops and shorts in the beginning of January and I wonder when this strange temperature fluctuation will begin to cause questioning. Personally, I have been disturbed since the end of November when there still wasn't a heavy snow storm despite the time of the year. Now that it is the second week in January I am beginning to wonder if we ever will have a snow fall. I know (at least in Ithaca) we've been having days in the thirties and even lower in temperature but the snow flurries aren't seeming to stick to the ground. Is this Global Climate Change playing a role in altering our seasons? Or maybe we are experiencing a strange temperature cycle where we are just having a higher temperature season. I honestly strongly believe in the first option, as this weather serves as a sign for what lies ahead. I hope people will not just simply take this warm weather as a blessing because our ecosystem depends on the colder temperatures as well as animals in this area are drastically being affected with the temperature fluctuations. The other day on a hike, I watched two different flocks of geese flying looking as if they were migrating. I honestly thought that geese migrated much earlier in the season and clearly they were confused by the temperature fluctuations. On the day I saw the geese the temperature was in the mid-twenties and there had been snow fall for the past 2 days. I also saw geese on the ground by my house as well and I am curious to how the weather fluctuations are truly changing their migration patterns or whether or not they will even migrate at all. My turtle still hasn't hibernated yet either and I think all she is going to do is occasionally sleep. Though I am simply just an Environmental Studies student and clearly not a climate scientist all I can do is be conscious of my surrounding environment being observant of the changes I may see. I know that animals are reacting first to this strange winter of 2011-2012 and I just wonder what will happen next. I wonder if people will continue to count these warm winter days as a blessing, though I hope they will serve as a wake up call as what may be headed to come.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
As the semester is wrapping up, I’ve realized how universally difficult this semester actually became. Clearly, I have not been up to date with this blog but I will make a valid effort to blog from Findhorn, Scotland next semester. I even will have my good friend and fellow ENVS student, Tori, do some guest blogs to keep our readers (are there any of you out there?) “in the loop”! Back, to the closing of this semester.
I honestly have felt very disconnected with life this semester. From the increasing political and social activism of the past year, heightening anger but bring unity, to all types of action on our campus. Campus wide environmental and social justice and Ithaca based organizations, have drawn together to protest, in unity, a variety of causes such as Fracking, Occupy Ithaca, Slow Food’s campaign for local food in our dining halls and the list goes on and on. Numerous people I have spoken to are heavily torn between different paths of engaging in some type of change. There is the path of social involvement and action, with being engaging in protests, civil disobedience, as individuals consistently are up-to-date with governmental legislature. This system of heavy involvement and consciousness must not be viewed from an individualistic standpoint, which can be avoided with connecting in a community through action for the better good. What this means is the elimination of using the words “I or me” to describe your personal involvement because then one’s political/social action becomes an individualistic endeavor. In my belief, what should happen are continual references to the community or organization as a whole, though I do not discredit personal reflection in the least bit. I belief it is crucial to spread the messages of different movements to keep more people informed but, this does mean that particular individuals are the “voices” or the “experts” of a movement because this too, individualizes the movement into separate entities. It is definitely difficult to draw the line between educating and preaching, but I always think to speak of your personal reflection to avoid generalization or the concept of being an “all-knowing” individual on a particular topic.
A different pathway that individuals can take (of course these are just two different paths in life but most certainly not limited to these ideas) which appears to be more idealistic and could of course blend with the first “path” I stated above, is the path of self-sufficiency. This pathway deals with a life of spiritual, communal, and ecological consciousness beyond the materialistic level of environmentalism. This life path goes along with being self-sufficient, the ultimate level of consciousness in which all actions become less individualized and more so on a level of thinking of the greater good. This concept of the greater good focuses on thinking of the human, ecological, and social impacts of each action. This includes where your product comes from, how it was produced, what materials were used, who physically made it, did this products production effect the environment or other humans negatively, how efficient this product, and what will happen when the “life” of this product is done or how will I dispose of it? All of these thoughts are crucial to develop consciousness, but not to drive an individual to dwell or find self-hatred towards past purchases. My belief in self-sufficiency cancels some these dwelling question in regards to products but I know this idea of creating everything you need yourself, is so difficult. This is why I suggest communities formed around changing social structure and pushing social norms, starting at the basic level of education to change individuals’ personal outlook on life, to affect the greater good. More of these thoughts will come forth through this blog, as I will be spending next semester on an eco-village in Findhorn, Scotland, where my thoughts will only be changed and expanded.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
After an amazing summer living and working in Ithaca, I have found an amazing and new appreciation for my new beautiful home, Ithaca. The first half of the semester has been exceptionally interesting, with the extreme fluctuations in weather. It honestly is hard to tell, if this season is Fall, as Winter is sadly approaching quickly. As the semester is unfolding, well more like rapidly finishing, I can't help but look back and appreciate my progress this semester. After, an amazing summer of interning at Cayuga Nature Center, as an Outdoor Environmental Educator, I continue to intern with CNC on the weekends as I love giving back to this amazing non-profit. This summer has definitely reconnected me with nature, reestablishing my roots in the woods, as I had the amazing opportunity to hike and work outside every day. Being back in the classroom always makes me crave for the woods but, connecting back with my education has been exceptionally beneficial in numerous ways. Since, I am finishing up my first semester of my junior year and going abroad next semester to Findhorn, Scotland to work on an Eco-village (check out Living Routes: Eco-villages Abroad) I truly have to start thinking about my future. I've been toying with the idea of going to herbalism school upon graduation or maybe joining Americorps, specifically Food Corps for a year, or maybe doing urban gardening. Clearly, I just need to figure out something to do continue learning and start giving back to communities in some way. Then, there is the thought of graduate school, which just provides even more options as to what I can see myself studying for the next however many years it takes me to complete some sort of higher education. Hopefully being abroad next semester will allow for some time to figure things out, as I know my life will unfold in any direction I choose and I will enjoy whatever I do.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
As the summer is approaching its halfway-over mark, I randomly decided to check out the the Environmental Studies & Sciences website. I noticed my lost blog post was almost four months old, quite unacceptable seeing as the last post involved my uncertainity surrounding what lied ahead for my summer. I figured I should update this blog on my current situation and the amazing opportunities I have had this summer, entirely because of the HSBC grant, that was received by the ENVS department back in 2009, that has enabled my experiences this summer. In mid-April I received one of four 3,000 dollar grants for this summer, as compensation for my unpaid internship with Cayuga Nature Center for the summer. This grant not only provided funding for my living expenses, but also helped me to pay the balance on my study abroad trip to Mumbai, India (through the anthropology department) for the month of June, and this trip has literally opened my eyes and forever changed the way I view the world.
Starting in early July I began working for Cayuga Nature Center, upon moving back up to Ithaca I fell back into the cycle of living in Ithaca, everything from becoming a Super Member Worker at Greenstar (check my Greenstar Co-Op blog for details), to getting a share in a CSA and visiting the Ithaca Farmer's Market each week. Within the first week of working for Cayuga Nature Center I knew that I belonged working here and would greatly enjoy whatever lied ahead for the rest of my summer.
For the next few blog entries I will emphasis the importance of Environmental Education, and how I have taken part in this movement towards education our future generations to help make a difference in their opinions by helping to develop their minds towards focusing on the environment.
Friday, April 1, 2011
After numerous interviews, email conversations, and resume updates I finally was offered an internship with Cayuga Nature Center for the summer. I am exceptionally excited to have this opportunity to teach outdoor education to children for the entire summer with the option of teaching water ecology, wilderness survival, Native American and their environmental relationships, and some archaeology. I truly am happy to work outside for the summer and actually have something fun and beneficial towards others for two and a half months of my summer. I honestly believe it’s really essential to have either jobs or internships over the summer or school semesters to help students narrow down their interests in the Environmental Studies field, or any field in general.From an academic standpoint, an internship used to be part of the Environmental Studies & Sciences concentration but now is just a recommendation. I firmly believe that an internship provides opportunities to learn potential career driven skills, whatever the skills may be and if anything, an internship can show someone a field that do not want to pursue further work in.Currently, I am working on completing the Commit-to-Change Grant to have funding towards my summer unpaid internship. This grant will provide compensation for the work I am doing over the summer, along with paying for housing and food, since I will be staying in Ithaca for the summer. Through the ENVS website, there is a section with numerous internship opportunities listed for students to use as a resource and take initiative in contacting the organizations.