June 2018: Social Movements in Sustainability
We thought we would end on a positive note as the 2017-2018 school year comes to an end. This issue, we are focusing on the social movements that are bringing environmental issues to the forefront of the world’s attention.
As we explore social media’s effect on environmentalism, the philosophies surrounding conservation, and the changing politics about sustainability, we hope readers can be inspired to take action. So, as everyone leaves for the summer, enjoy this thought-provoking issue where we intertwine art, news and opinions from a wide range of perspectives and viewpoints.
We look forward to seeing you all again in the fall! Thank you to everyone who contributed to Gaia this year, whether through submissions or by reading our material. In total, we had nine schools submit work and we are extremely grateful. Shout out to Lawrence Academy, Lawrenceville School, Loomis Chaffee School, Milton Academy, Phillips Andover Academy, Phillips Exeter Academy, Roxbury Latin School, St. Mark's School, and Taft School! We couldn't have done it without you!
When Americans think of environmentalism, they think of organic food labels, Teslas, and energy efficient light bulbs. When Danes think of environmentalism, a very different picture appears. Environmentalism is not an add-on; instead, it is deeply imbedded in the soul of Danish life.
What are your basic needs? Most people would say things like food, water, shelter, and health. For us students, there aren’t many things that would threaten these basic needs in the short term. Soon, however, we may have to start thinking about this, as climate disruption is threatening the things we use and take for granted every day.
Many private companies are investing in clean energy developing things like solar panel fields and wind farms. However, the reality is that there is still too much carbon dioxide emitted nationally and it is a very expensive proposition to develop the infrastructures needed to produce clean energy to meet our total consumption. One significant alternative energy project that I have experienced first hand is the development of the first offshore wind farm three miles off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, courtesy of Deepwater Wind.
In Buddhism, there is no distinct “self.” Rather, the “self” extends to everything: every person, every tree, every planet, and so on. It is no wonder, then, that Buddhism often connects well to environmental awareness. After all, how could you not worry when a piece of yourself is damaged?
Even though the goal of a national park is preserve and protect the land, the Grand Canyon is a battleground for its richness in uranium. Political figures are fighting to sell parts of the Grand Canyon to those seeking to earn profits from the uranium mining industry, while the Navajo nation fights to protect both the land they have lived on and their own wellbeing.
When Richard Nixon, a Republican president, signed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) into law in January 1970, nobody found it entirely too startling. If President Ronald Reagan had done the same only ten years later, however, the nation would have been shocked. What made it so that environmental issues became a question of political affiliation by the 1990s?