Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Announcements- May 24

Hello all and happy summer!

I will be gone for the month of June, but if you have any questions, do send them to the envstudy@bc.edu email address, and they will be responded to by me or Noah. Also, be sure to check out your fellow students, Natalie and Nick, highlighted here on the Environmental Studies Program blog!

Thank you and take care,

Announcements- May 24, 2011
Seniors: we have a listserv of ESP alumni. Please email your permanent email address to Kristina at envstudy@bc.edu if you would like to be added to that list. We use it to keep in touch and send occasional announcements of events of interest to you.

Hello ESP Seniors,

For all of you graduated this Monday, congratulations! As you all have an interest in environmental issues, the Boston College Energy and Environmental Alumni Network (BCEEAN) would like to officially invite you to become a member of this quickly growing and dynamic group. We welcome any BC graduate interested in energy and environmental issues to join BCEEAN—now almost 500 members strong—by e-mailing us at envrn@bc.edu. Please provide your name, class year, job title and company (if applicable), geographic location (city and state), and preferred e-mail address in the body of the e-mail when signing up.

BCEEAN is an incredible network of alumni, and hosts a number of events throughout the year. There are many ways to get involved, and opportunities to meet other alumni that share similar interests, career experience and can help to offer advice. Also, if you know alumni who might enjoy participating in BCEEAN, please circulate this website address to them and invite them to join us too! For more information on BCEEAN, visit our website:www.bc.edu/bceean.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me as well at: ebarthelmes@gmail.com. Best of luck to everyone!

Intern for Green Trade Association

Are you interested in an exciting and flexible internship opportunity for a not for profit national organization that operates in every sector of the Green Economy? The Green Trade Association, endorsed by Bill McKibben, 350.org, and Van Jones, is a community of green employers committed to creating a just and inclusive green economy. The Green Trade Association is in need of an intern who’s interested in sustainability and social justice. You will help to further our mission in preparation for our public launch in September 2011. This will include: coordinating with fundraising; event planning; communications; membership recruitment and more. Specific skills desired include social media (Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn), well-developed writing, solid computer and administrative skills. With the possibility of this leading to a permanent position, this is an opportunity to participate in a rapidly growing, socially conscious entrepreneurial environment where creativity, hard work and passion are highly valued. This is an unsalaried position. However, as the organization develops, there will be opportunity for paid employment.

If you are interested in a ground floor opportunity to grow with our organization, please contact us at: Laurie.GTA@gmail.com or call 617-251-8781. Our website address is:
http://greentradeassociation.org. Please cite the word INTERN in the subject portion of your email.


GREEN Educational Adventure Programs in Costa Rica

The GREEN Educational Adventure Programs in Costa Rica offer a unique way to satisfy your intellectual curiosity while experiencing unforgettable adventures, gaining a cultural experience, and giving back to the community though socially responsible projects. The Programs in Costa Rica are focused on Renewable Energy Education, Adventure, Culture, and Social Responsibility.

The 12-day trip gives students a chance to explore the topics of RENEWABLE ENERGY and SUSTAINABILITY through interactive lectures and exclusive hands-on site visits to functioning power plants, like wind farms and geothermal plants, and residential facilities, such as organic sustainable farms and green-centric housing developments. The benefits of the educational component are enhanced by the excitement of the adventure and cultural excursions that make Costa Rica the epicenter of EcoTourism and travel.

Students who attended this program in the past have cited it as "one of the best experiences of their life". Some have returned to Costa Rica for summer internships in the renewable energy sector. Others applied their experiences to succeed in internships and jobs in the United States.

The Global Renewable Energy Education Network (GREEN) inspires University students to explore the fields of renewable energy and sustainability. In doing so, we aim to assemble motivated collegiate minds in engineering, business, policy, ecology, and other related fields, to spark a flame of though and passion centered around renewable energy, sustainable living, and improved societal standards. Our objective is to do so by pipe-lining these students into the GREEN industry through an intensive educational program.

For additional details please visit https://greenworknow.com to watch our program video featuring students and their experiences.

Student Profile: Natalie Isaksson

What has been your favorite class? Why?
I’ve taken many interesting classes as part of the Environmental Studies minor, most notably perhaps the Environmental Law and Policy class (as my first and probably only glance into US law and judicial procedures), and Bible and Ecology. The Bible and Ecology class has been particularly interesting because the professor (John Darr) is a biblical scholar and reads the Bible very much in the context of how, why, when, and where the Bible was written, which in turn is incredibly enlightening and refreshing. Other interesting classes included: Women, Nature and Ecology; Environmental Genomics.

A professor who has particularly motivated or inspired you?
Prof. John Darr, for the way he critically approaches religion and its texts, the questions he asks, and the way he encourages confronting the problems with a text instead of either shirking them or simply rationalizing them away.

What are some other projects/ clubs/ groups you are involved with at BC that enable you to put what you are learning as an ESP minor into practice?
I am involved in undergraduate government (UGBC) and as such get the opportunity to be involved in student initiatives associated with environmental issues, such as informing the student body about conflict minerals or bringing “environmental” artists to campus such as Climbing PoeTree.

What are some internships/ research projects/ labs you are working on or involved with at BC that relate to the ESP minor?
I work in a lab that I got into because of Environmental Genomics, and where I focus on what effects environmental stressors might have on the genomics of shrimp, and how shrimp pathogens such as Taura Syndrome Virus might reflect this.

Have you studied abroad, gone on an immersion trip/ alternative spring break in which you were able to address topics that you have studied as an ESP minor?
I am international student, so I consider myself “abroad” pretty much all the time :). But in the sense that this question is asking, then no.

How has your experience of the Senior Seminar been? What has it been like to be among so many other students from different departments and academic majors?
The senior seminar is very interesting and all the more so because it is very interdisciplinary. Many of the topics are controversial and have no easy answers, which makes the class intellectually stimulating. Interacting with people from all different majors makes approaching any topic very insightful because we all have different perspectives and bring different skills and mindsets to the table. In a way, this is reflective of the environmental movement in general and is conducive to productive discussions and dialogue where solutions to hard problems are sought.

How has your experience as an ESP minor prepared you to be a college graduate?
I think it has made me a more well-rounded, well-informed person who feels comfortable asking questions and taking the time and effort to ascertain whether the goods/services I am consuming are detrimental to the environment or not. I feel that many people are indifferent to issues which either threaten to take them out of their comfort zone and/or involve actual engagement with the subject (meaning: there are no easy answers to the problem and finding out the truth might be uncomfortable). The ESP minor has definitely left me motivated, interested, and aware of relevant issues and how I might make a positive difference. In terms of careers and such, taking the ESP minor has only solidified what I’ve known for a while, which is that I’d like to eventually pursue a masters in Conservation Biology and get involved on a scientific level with the environment and conserving it.

What do you wish you could have become involved with earlier in your time at BC as an ESP minor?
Probably organizations such as RealFood BC or Sustain.

Student Profile: Nicholas Ochi

Photo: Nicholas Ochi

What has been your favorite class? Why?
My favorite ESP class was probably Philosophy of Health Science East/West because it gave such a holistic viewpoint. Though I struggled in the class with grades, I thought it was very rewarding overall. Ironically, my second favorite class was probably Watershed Geomorphology, my most advanced science course, and far removed from Philosophy of Health Science. If not for the intriguing science behind geomorphology, I benefitted from learning how to prepare/present a scientific report.

A professor who has particularly motivated or inspired you? Why
Noah Snyder has inspired me because of his passion for what he does. It is refreshing to see a professor who is interested in his work and that passion becomes contagious. You want to do well for him, and what’s more, I know that he seriously considers all of my work and gives meaningful, helpful feedback with every assignment. Each time I get something back, I feel I become a better student and more prepared to hand in good work. It also does not hurt that he used to be a ski bum at Snowbird, UT (that is about as good as it gets credentials-wise in my book).

Have you studied abroad, gone on an immersion trip/ alternative spring break in which you were able to address topics that you have studied as an ESP minor?
I went on an SIT program to Vietnam entitled “Delta Ecology and Resource Management.” The program featured field-based learning so we got to travel up and down Vietnam and even into Cambodia via the Mekong River for two weeks. As long as we were outside talking about our environment, nature became the classroom which made for a truly incredible experience. In general, my time in Vietnam connected me to the distant world that we often forget is marginalized by our actions here in the U.S. While science, data, and graphs alone won’t do the job in convincing us to change our actions and curb climate change, time spent abroad can. By travelling, seeing other parts of the world, and getting to know people on a personal level, the effects suddenly become real and the problem becomes urgent.

I also hoped to share a particular story that, again, encourages us to do something to protect our environment. While in Vietnam, my group visited the Can Gio Biosphere, a massive mangrove forest about 40 km outside of Ho Chi Minh City - the nation’s largest city. On top of supporting local livelihoods, the forest acts as HCMC’s buffer against coastal damage and cleans the water coming in and out of the city. During the Vietnam War though, American planes dropped enough Agent Orange to effectively destroy this massive forest. The people there were devastated, as an important ecosystem and the source of many local livelihoods was no longer there. Estimates for the time of recovery were in the hundreds of years - making apathy an easy choice. But the Vietnamese chose hope. They worked to accomplish restoration and developed a plan immediately. Collectively, citizens from the area literally scoured the area and planted seeds for new trees of an entire forest hand by hand. It was an enormous project that easily could have seemed pointless at the time, but they payoff was great. As I visited some 30-40 years later, I looked out over the mangrove forest from a watchtower, and as far as I could see, there were enormous, healthy-looking trees that now acted as an effective ecosystem – a truly beautiful sight all things considered. All of this just goes to show that even when the problem seems too big, there is no better time to act than the present, a mindset that will have great benefits down the road.

How has your experience of the Senior Seminar been? What has it been like to be among so many other students from different departments and academic majors?
I enjoyed this seminar and hearing the opinions of students from various academic backgrounds.I think the class would be beneficial earlier in our time at BC and would be a good course for all students here