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In Focus Sustainability eNewsletter
Monthly eNewsletter - February, 2013
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A Year of Sustainability | Taking Action for Change

In higher education, we sometimes wonder if the “initiatives” undertaken on a campus actually have any genuine impact on students or if they simply represent neat sounding, short-lived fads.  Over the 6 months, I have been paying close attention to what students are saying and doing, and I am beginning to believe that the In Focus theme of sustainability – defined in the broadest sense – is starting to not only resonate with students at Moravian, but also infiltrate their actions.

I have had faculty tell me that students are mentioning (without being prompted) issues of sustainability in the assignments that they submit or present in class -- connecting the dots, if you will.  We have a record number of students working on sustainability-related independent studies or internships this semester.  The student environmental coalition, ECO, has long recognized the links between environmental issues and sustainability, but is now also considering ways to make their club sustainable (in terms of future membership and leadership).  Members are highlighting the work of unique student projects at Sustainability Soirees (see piece by Caiti Campbell below).  The Campus Community Connection (C3) leaders chose an alternative spring break project that will focus on helping the National Park Service deal with invasive species and tree hazard removal in the Grand Canyon National Park.

Faculty and staff are getting in on this as well – finding ways to link some of their expertise and interests to sustainability.  Many thanks to Sharon Brown for bringing Julian Agyeman and his thoughts on “just sustainability” to campus for the annual MLK speaker event.  The exhibit displaying the works of Gregory Warmack, AKA Mr. Imagination, art that makes use of recycled materials, is a creative expression of sustainability – on both the part of the artist and the Art Department.  I recently received a message from Nicole Tabor indicating that she and Sharon Brown were “inspired by the ‘Sustainability In-Focus’ theme and plan to devote their entire spring term meeting of the Multi-cultural Reading Group (March 13, 4P) to literature by people of color which addresses any aspect of sustainability.”

C
Elizabeth "Lizzie" Sgambelluri '13
working in Africa

Over winter break, Lizzie Sgambelluri’13 returned to Africa to work on a wildlife conservation project.  This time, she went to central Botswana to work with the Modisa Wildlife Project near the Kalahari Game Reserve (http://modisa.org/).  According to the organization's website, the project “promotes sustainability and enhanced biodiversity in the region” and wants to “raise awareness across the globe on the necessity of sustaining the natural ecosystems that ensure a brighter future for the wildlife in Botswana.” 

Several years ago, I read the book The Old Way: A Story of the First People by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas.  She first went to the Kalahari Desert as a teenager with her parents who studied the Bushmen.  Fifty years later, she returned to visit one of the last hunter-gatherer societies on earth, people who adapt daily to the changes in their environment and food supply.  Sadly, she found that the intrusion of 21st century technology and lifestyles, even in this remote part of the world, are having devastating effects on the people and their culture.

In Setswana, the local language of the region where this organization works, “Modisa” means guardian.  It strikes me that the concept of “guardian” is another way of thinking of sustainability – as we look after and protect our resources, our campus, our community, and our planet.  It is worth noting the etymology of the word guardian; it derives from an Old French word (Frankish) gardein meaning garden and an Old Norse use in the sense of caretaker or guardian angel.  Either way, both derivations tie in well to modern notions of sustainability.

Diane W. Husic, Ph.D.
Chair and Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

Don St. John
Emeritus Professor of Religion

Co-directors of the Sustainability Center of Investigation

Story-time at ECO Sustainability Soiree

Cuddling with baby lions, exploring Louisiana wetlands by airboat, and turning an abandoned property into a hands on learning center beloved by a community--these were just some of the stories shared by Moravian students at this month's Sustainability Soiree.

ECOThe event hosted by ECO, the Environmental Coalition, invited students to share their experiences working and volunteering in sustainability. Lizzie Sgambelluri '13 recounted her summer working with lion and tiger cubs in Africa. With antlers in hand, Matt Scott '13 spoke about his job raising, caring for, and helping maintain a deer farm.  Marla Bianca '13 shared her experiences traveling to the Middle East for the COP 18 UN Climate Change Conference as well as her current research on the vegetation at the Lehigh Gap Nature Center, a superfund site. Tori Thomas '13 presented about her summer studying and researching in the wetlands of of the southern United States. Alex Bundrick' 16 presented her work with the Archibald Johnston Community Center, a nonprofit for nature, education, and the arts. Presenters and audience continued discussion over desserts from Vegan Treats.

This event is part of an effort by ECO to recruit underclassmen members and leaders. Sustainability is a subject that exists at the intersection of the environmental, economic, and human equity issues. Students of all majors are welcome: education, econ, english, nursing, art, you name it! Please contact Caiti at stcnc08@moravian.edu for more info on ECO or to be added to ECO's email list.

Caitlin Campbell '13

The Rebirth of Monograph Series Ecospirit

EcoSpiritAfter a 23 year hiatus, ECOSPIRIT lives once again as a literary vehicle to highlight papers, poems, and other creative expressions that explore cultural and personal resources for re-imagining our relationship to and responsibilities towards the natural world.

Ecospirit has been re-born with an essay by Moravian student Katelyn Remp '14, Using the Land to Heal: A Warrior’s Journey in Leslie Marmon Silko’s Novel Ceremony (PDF), that was shared with the campus community recently.

It features a lovely essay by one of our students on the book "Ceremony" by Leslie Marmon Silko, a Pueblo Indian. It is a rich story set among the Laguna Pueblo with lessons about culture, personal transformation and the earth. It is the story of a WWII Vet with PTSD who found healing and renewal in returning to his tradition and establishing a reverent relationship to the land and animals.. The author is Katlyn Remp, an English major who did the original for Nicole Tabor's class.

What is/was Ecospirit? For six years beginning in the mid-1980s, Moravian was home to an avant-garde mini-journal widely known for its contributions to new ways of thinking about, singing about and portraying humankind’s relationship to and responsibilities for the Earth. Edited by humanities professors Don St. John (Religion) and Paul Larson (Music), Ecospirit highlighted articles and poetry from Moravian faculty and students, as well as from writers, artists, and activists (some now regarded as great innovators) at the local, national and international levels.
 
Thus WE INVITE all members of the Moravian Community to contribute their reflective and creative works to the rebirth of Ecospirit and hence to the sustaining of our own spirits in this year of Sustainability. Submit your creative and reflective works to Don St. John at medps01@moravian.edu. For past issues of Ecospirit please check out: http://home.moravian.edu/public/relig/ecoSpirit/

Climate Crises: Past, Present, and Future

Julian AgyemanJulian Agyeman, professor and chair of the department of urban and environmental planning and policy (UEP) at Tufts University, presented this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King lecture at Moravian at the end of January. Agyeman’s lecture, The Dream Lives on: Towards a ‘Just’ Sustainability, focused on bridging the gap between environmental activism and social justice activism and supported the College IN FOCUS theme of sustainability.

Agyeman argued for environmental justice, the idea that the environment plays a role in social justice, equality, human rights and people’s quality of life. “Where people are trashing their environments, they’re often trashing human and civil rights,” he said, noting that countries ranked highest for social justice are often also ranked highest for their environmental protection measures. In addition, the countries with the largest gap between rich and poor populations also tend to have the largest carbon footprints.

Social justice needs to become part of the discussion when people talk about sustainability and the environment, he said.  Because they are afraid to blur their agendas, most American environmental organizations either make no mention of a responsibility to environmental justice or only discuss their responsibility toward humanity as a responsibility toward the next generation. According to Agyeman, “equity must be both inter- and intra-generational.”

Using Hurricane Katrina’s displacement of the poor of New Orleans as an example, he explained that environmental problems disproportionately affect disadvantaged populations. For this reason, Agyeman implored environmental and social justice organizations to work together and form coalitions to bring positive change in environmental justice.

He went on to describe five goals that ought to be the focus of the environmental justice movement: planning intercultural cities, providing fair shares of environmental space, focusing on the environment as it relates to human well being and happiness, promoting urban agriculture and food justice and instituting spatial justice.

To plan intercultural cities, city institutions must be changed to support diversity rather than simply tolerating it. When speaking on environmental space, he stated that 4.5 percent of the world’s population consumes 25 percent of the world’s resources, and there must be equality in how resources are divided. This resource division relates to overall quality of life because too many people live below the dignity floor–the United Nations’ defined minimum socioeconomic status necessary to avoid a dangerously poor quality of life. A similar challenge faces the world related to food justice. “We don’t have a world food problem, we have a world food distribution problem,” he said.

The key to just sustainability is “protecting environmental potential and releasing human potential,” he said, and avoid becoming “a society where if you can’t count it, it doesn't’t count.” A society in which people interact with and respect each other’s opinions is required to realize just sustainability; progress will be seen only if all people are included in the discussion.

“Asking the right questions means asking who’s at the table when these questions are being asked,” he said. One must never disassociate the environmental impact from the human impact when it comes to issues of sustainability.

Always be open to and respectful of different perspectives. Create a world that is livable for everyone. Strive to understand the world from an interdisciplinary perspective—which is at the heart of Moravian College’s liberal arts values, he added, all which is necessary to understand the larger issues of the world.

More information on Dr. Agyeman can be found on his website.

From InCommon, written by Steve Delturk ‘13

Campus Notes | Congratulations

Marla BiancaMoravian student Marla Bianca is to receive the Volunteer of the Month Award from the Lehigh Valley Section of the American Chemical Society.

Bianca was recognized for her work representing the youth of the American Chemical Society at the United Nations Climate Talks held in Qatar in November.

Bianca was one of four U.S. students selected by ACS to interview scientists, policymakers and national leaders about how the known science of climate change may be incorporated into international policy.

Internship Focus | Air Quality in the Lehigh Valley

Lehigh Valley Air QualityMoravian College senior Grant Pellitteri's internship focuses on addressing the current state of air quality in the Lehigh Valley. As an environmental policy and economics major and environmental science minor, his primary goal is to inform groups within the Lehigh Valley about pollutants that effect air quality.

"I hope to create a plan of action to share with the community about protection and prevention methods that address the present problems of air quality in the area," Pelitteri explains. "Some of the protection and prevention methods fall into sustainable practices."

"Sustainability has a lot to do with the current quality of air in the Lehigh Valley, and through more sustainable practices the air quality can continue to improve," he continued.  "However, without the proper information about air quality it becomes difficult to address the significant contributor of pollution.  Instead of labeling the culprit of the air quality pollutants I hope to promote positive sustainable practices that can continue to alleviate the problem."

Moravian College Comenius Hall Snow

Centers for Investigation

Faculty, students, and campus community members are invited to share what they are doing in their classes, for scholarship, for service-learning, etc. related to sustainability. The Sustainability COI is developing a more extensive Blackboard site of resources to be launched in September for which we will welcome suggestions from the campus community.

SUSTAINABILITY RESOURCES

Announcing Environmental Humanities A New International, Open-Access Journal

 According to the Editorial Team, “this journal has a particular mandate to publish papers that are seeking to reach a broader interdisciplinary readership, and/or that develop bold new interdisciplinary approaches to environmental scholarship.”

This emerging field  “is part of a growing willingness to  engage with the environment from within the humanities and social sciences . . . and enrich environmental research with a more extensive conceptual vocabulary, whilst at the same time visualizing the humanities."

The Environmental Humanities:

  • aims to support and further a wide range of conversations on environmental issues in this time of growing awareness of the ecological and social challenges facing all life on earth.”

  • responds to the widespread search "for a more integrated and conceptually sensitive approach to environmental issues..."

  • addresses “fundamental questions of meaning, value, responsibility and purpose in a time of rapid, and escalating, change.

  • focuses “on the underlying cultural and philosophical frameworks that are entangled with the ways in which diverse human cultures have made themselves at home in a more than human world."

  • recognizes “the importance of indigenous and local knowledge, as part of a radical reconfiguration of our understandings of the living world.”

Humanities and Social Science scholars at Moravian should note the editorial team’s statement “that this journal has a particular mandate to publish papers that are seeking to reach a broader interdisciplinary readership, and/or that develop bold new interdisciplinary approaches to environmental scholarship.”

Design and Sustainability

ComPostModern  has what they call "unconferences" for a number of years. They provide a good example of the arts and those in the design business taking sustainability seriously and also creatively.

Check out the  announcement for this year's conference, or view a nice review of the 2011 conference, need a better sense of it, what this  Youtube video.

Internship Opportunity | The Sankofa Center

The Sankofa Center is an arts-based HIV/AIDS education, prevention, testing, and treatment internship program working throughout the year in Ghana, West Africa under the National AIDS Control Program.

 "We constantly have university students on our program and it was recommended that we recruit Moravian College students on our internship program," said  Ronnie Shaw, Executive Director of the Center. Click for a PDF of the flyer.

"We are reaching out directly to professors to expose the opportunity to similarly interested students who'd like to intern for our dynamic program given the wonderfully impacting exchange while promoting global change. Students with an academic interest in artistic expression- dance, drama, music & art, public health, global studies, social work, and medicine are encouraged to apply.  We fuse artistic expression with health information and provide HIV testing during village tours with links to treatment and anti-stigmatization programs using culturally appropriate educational methods- African dance dramas."

Workshops of Note

Contemplative Environmental Studies:
Pedagogy for Self and Planet


A workshop/retreat for professors
July 28 - August 3, 2013
Lama Foundation, San Cristobal, New Mexico

Sustainability Events March

Planning an event related to sustainability?
Use the online form on the College website and help us help promote your event.

Sustainability Grant Opportunities

The In Focus Committee is pleased to offer mini grants of $200 for a special project or program regarding this year’s theme- sustainability.  Please contact Ann Claussen at meaec01@moravian.edu or x1492 if you have an interest in applying for a grant. 

We look forward to any new activities or program ideas representing a multitude of disciplines or field of study and welcome all interested in applying.  Our goal is to enrich and engage the campus community in a variety of ways as we learn more about sustainability.

Community Service Opportunities

Students should contact Community Service to get involved in volunteer work in the community. Opportunities for students to volunteer at a food pantry, homeless shelter, local schools, and other community organizations are organized through the Center for Leadership and Service. To learn more, click here.

Service Trips

Students, faculty, and staff will have the opportunity to participate in service trips focused on sustainability throughout the year. These trips are sponsored by the Center for Leadership and Service. Click here for a full listing of trips

Visiting Moravian
Moravian College encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Tom Dubreuil by email: tdubreuil@moravian.edu, or by phone 610 625-7051.
Sustainability eNewsletter

Sustainability Center of Investigation:
Don St. John
, Co-director
Professor Emeritus of Religion

Diane Husic, Co-director
Chair and Professor of Biological Sciences

Office of Public Relations:
Michael Wilson
Director of Public Relations and Marketing

In Focus Moravian College

MORAVIAN COLLEGE
1200 Main Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018
610 625-7880 | www.moravian.edu