Monday, October 27, 2014

Venturing Out of My Neck of The Woods

Student Perspective Piece Written by Meghan Neureither, Education and Outreach Associate

As a member of the Sustainability Office, I feel that I am no stranger to sustainability and environmental activism. However, I am a novice when it comes to tackling issues in the realm of social justice. Since I am the student lead on tabling for this year, I am beginning to recognize the importance of integrating and relating social issues into our message. After watching a Ted Talk by Van Jones, the importance of emphasizing how the physical and human aspects of the planet are so intertwined really dawned on me. 

Education and Outreach Team (L-R)
Preethi Ruvva, Meghan Neureither, Melina Meseroll,
Mitch Mastroni, Rebecca Sale, Christine Ongjoco
An example of the union between social and environmental justice is "Cancer Alley." This is an area along the Mississippi River, where many individuals of low socioeconomic status live, and are being adversely affected by the industrial plants and the toxic materials that the plants are releasing. Sadly, Cancer Alley is only one of a plethora of examples of the link between the pollution of the planet, and the poisoning of people. We do not have disposable resources, and we do not have throwaway people. Thus, it is important that our message encompasses the human aspect as well.

This year, I have committed myself and am encouraging my team members to furthering our education about both sustainable and social issues. And while the environment is the main recipient of our office's focus, it is so crucial to recognize the bridge between the two sectors. They are not separate worlds, and we would be doing a huge injustice to both people and the environment to treat them as such. This reminds me of something that John Muir once said, "when we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."  (John Muir, 1911).

Look out for the Education and Outreach team at various events both on and off campus! Come talk to us and let us know how we are doing! Feel free to teach us something too. 
While one of our focuses is educating about sustainability, 
there is always more to learn and more knowledge to be shared and we would absolutely love to hear what you have to say. Stay sustainable, slugs!

1 comment:

Melissa Ott said...

Thanks for sharing about this important point of connection between social justice and environmental sustainability, Meghan. There are so many ways that our movements can support one another and be seen as two branches to one vision of a thriving, just, and sustainable world. Awesome post!