Wednesday, February 13, 2013

notes from global environment class

I am now happily in the thick of school life again. Rising early, bundling up to walk to class (I knitted my first hat for just this reason), lectures, reading, writing, papers, professors...

This semester, one of the classes I'm taking is called "Global Environment." I was expecting it to be about climate zones, and natural disasters, and the water system, and all that jazz - but no, it's better than that. It's about ecology, sustainability, agriculture/food resources, etc. Right up my alley.

(And even better, I'm taking this class with a friend who occasionally whispers snarky comments and is good at playing the devil's advocate when we discuss weighty environmental matters after class. It lighten things up.)

This week we have an exercise due wherein we have to calculate our ecological footprint using this program. Mine resulted in this projection: if everybody lived the way I do (as best as I could articulate it in the calculator) we would need 3.9 Earths to sustain us. Granted, the program does make assumptions because I am an American. But try it for yourself. Seeing your ecological impact broken down - even if it is just theoretical - can't help but make you think.

In class last week we discussed sustainability and specifically voluntary simplicity - giving unnecessaries up for the sake of the "global commons." It made me consider how much I would be willing to give up.

Or maybe it isn't a voluntary matter. I recently came across this article from the New York Times about a brave lady who, by necessity, went "back to the land" in the heart of the city, and gave up many things only to gain many more.

(Pictured above: one of four massive hanging sculptures on campus. They are paper cranes made of many smaller paper cranes.)

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