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loam Presented by the Wesleyan EON GreenScene Spring 2014


loam /lĹ?m/ noun: loam 1. fertile soil that contains many different types of dirt and sand 2. a nutrient rich foundation for growth


Tennessee Valley

By Alison Znamierowski ‘15


Pyramid Rock Kaneohe, Hawaii By Rick Manayan ‘17


Table of Contents 5

Welcome to loam

7

A Year in Review

11

Rootedness

13

Wes, Divest!

15

A Call to Farm

17

It’s Easy to Be Green

tips to reduce your impact

20

Heat Lightning

a poem by Lily Myers ‘15

letter from the EON coordintors looking back on 2013-2014 a short story by Kate Weiner ‘15 students for a fossil free Wesleyan Ian Foster ‘17 reflects

The 2014 Wesleyan EON GreenScene EON COORDINATORS Scott Elias ‘14 Isabel Stern ‘14 Kate Weiner ‘15

EXECUTIVE BOARD Ian Foster ‘17 Ruby Lang ‘17 Abby Meyer ‘16 Cassia Patel ‘17 Jenna Shapiro ‘17

LAYOUT EDITOR Tessa Bellone ‘16

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A Letter From the EON Coordinators

welcome to loam... loam is dedicated to growing Wesleyan’s environmental community by illuminating eco efforts on campus as well as the creativity of our student body. Wesleyan is rich with opportunities to collaborate on sustainable projects, grow good food, and share photographs, stories, and experiences of nature. Whether it’s Wild Wes’s work with permaculture, Long Lane Farm’s commitment to collective action, or Waste Not’s role in making students’ old belongings new again, there is so much we can do, here and now, to connect with one another.

Sprawl Waialua, Hawaii. By Rick Manayan ‘17 5


We’re grateful to be part of such a thriving ecosystem and hope that perusing through these pages will inspire us to work towards creating a sustainable culture at Wesleyan and in our own lives. We hope you enjoy the beauty to come.

Kate and Isabel

6


A Year in Review Twenty Wesleyan students joined 6,000 others in Pittsburgh for Power Shift, a national youth climate conference that encourages student leadership in environmentalism.

November 23

Students protested outside a local TD Bank as part of a move to divest from dirty tar sands in Canada. The Keystone XL Pipeline would be extracting oil from these sands.

PowerShift Conference, Pittsburg October 18-21

September 1

Keystone XL Protest

Wes, Divest! Photo campaign! See pages 11 & 12 for full details!

Pumpkin Fest at Long Lane Farm

STARS Certification

Wesleyan’s environmental clubs came together to enjoy food, music, and green spirit!

Wesleyan was recognized with a silver STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) certification for its strong commitment to improving sustainability.

WSA Divest Resolution

October 27 7

An energy saving competition that allowed students to record their everyday energy saving activities using the JouleBug application.

November 23-24

A competition that incentivises senior woodframes and program houses to save energy at home!

October 25

October 5

October 1

Do It In The Dark

Joulebug Competition

The WSA passed a resolution indicating to the administration and the Board of Trustees the widespread student support of divestment.


February 21

A look back on Wesleyan’s biggest environmental highlights of the 2013-2014 year.

28 Ways to Save Do It In The Dark for second semester gave students the opportunity to save as much energy as they could in the 28 days of February.

UBS Protest, Stamford CT Wesleyan students gathered in Stamford to protest UBS funding of mountaintop-removal, a practice that destroys habitats, causes floods, and pollutes potable water.

Earth Fest

April 19

February 1-28

Students who turned down their heat and wore a sweater got a reusable travel mug and free hot cocoa to fill it with!

As a follow up to Wesleyan’s STARS certification, a group of students, faculty, and administrators met to brainstorm specific projects to make Wesleyan even more eco-friendly, such as installing shower timers in dorms and creating a ‘living green wall’ on Exley.

April 12

November 24

December 4

Sweater Days

Sustainability Action Plan Workshop

An ecofeminist festival dedicated to cultivating the culture of sustainability and respect on campus. On-campus feminist groups and environmental clubs provide music, games, art and more to celebrate our wonderful Mama Earth.

Climate Jutice Conference of Solutions A conference focused on climate solutions, hosting Dave Foster from BlueGreen Alliance as the keynote, as well as panels about co-benefits of climate action, and policy and strategic solutions. Guest speakers included Bill McKibben from 350.org.

8


Mount Tam Marin County, California By Alison Znamierowski ‘15


Rootedness By Kate Weiner ‘15

On Sundays, Laura works the brunch shift at a bistro on South Lexington. I ask her if she likes waitressing. She pauses, looking only to her left before crossing the street. “No.” Waitressing, Laura says, is sexism served with a side of waffle fries. The men work in the kitchen, kneading dough with knife-cut knuckles and cat calling the pancake eyed hostess. The women work the floor, their meager salary supplemented in tips. They are blamed for food they did not cook (too chewy, too cold, too hot, too sweet); called babe by redfaced businessmen that scrawl their phone numbers on the check. They must always smile big why-hello-there-honey smiles even when tired or sad or wistful. Only the male chefs are allowed to be pissed; their money doesn’t come from playing nice. Still, Laura promises, she will quit soon. I imagine the restaurant in the heat of a blackout. The light bulbs flare into a fantastic sudden death and flood the stacks of mango fruits in darkness; and because the dishwasher doesn’t work and the meat spoils quickly everyone gets to go home in the lightening rain. We walk further. Laura’s farm is tucked in between an abandoned gas station and 11

a two-family home. She unlatches the gate with great tenderness and the chickens, red-white-violet ruffle their feathers in welcome. When you are lonely, farming is comforting work. I like the way the unwieldy leaves of the red cabbages tickle my wrists. I like dirt on my knees and the soft brush of a hidden dandelion on my cheek when I reach in to uproot the squash. Laura works elsewhere and we talk, sometimes absentmindedly, sometimes not all, sometimes laughing together and looking down into our hands. Hers are much rougher than mine. Flower seeds Laura never planted have suddenly risen this spring. The chicken coop is wreathed in poppies and clumps of blue-yellow-purple zinnia now grow brilliant next to the fence. The sky is Earl Grey milk tea sad. We wonder if anyone will come to the CSA in the rain. Most members walk to the twice-weekly pick-ups. And most members, she says, want to know why at twenty-two she is here carting compost when the world is somewhere else. She could be anywhere if she wanted, wouldn’t have to waitress if she wanted, could be backpacking through Vietnam wading through lotus paddies if she wanted. I like feeling rooted, Laura tells me.


Photo by Kate Weiner ‘15

This, she is starting to admit, is what she is wanting. I watch Laura throwing ferns to the hens and think of my father, the summer he worked on a dairy farm upstate. The bright blue afternoon and the quiet at the end of the day. His toe is still bruised from having dropped a cow on his foot as he tried to wrestle a herd into the back of a truck heading for the slaughterhouse. And I think longer, and watch the oxen near my aunt’s house sleep on the sunny slope of a hill- And I dream deeper, and am in Moisesville where my grandmother’s family lived for so many years. The Argentinian pampas dark gold, brighter than any known dawn in Russia. When Laura first bought the plot of land, it was poisoned with lead. Might’ve been

from car run off, or the way asphalt never really wears away. Now it is tested for trace amounts every month, and she is always excited when there is no lead left, that in just three years time she’s filled this parking lot whole with red cabbage leaves and dragon carrots. Rootedness is a practice, same way that if you want to play the piano or try to get a scrambled egg just right you’ve got to spend each morning learning to make your hands give. Only difference with this farm is that if Laura left it would die and if it left her she wouldn’t know how to wake up. She’d sleep in this farm if she could, tucked in next to the hills of compost that reek beautifully of everything this city holds. In nighttime, the handfuls of cracked eggshells read like fragmented stars. It’s a nice way to draw in the cosmos to where you are sitting. 12


Wes, Divest: The mission of Wes, Divest! is to work with the University to create a responsible plan to facilitate the divestment of Wesleyan’s endowment from fossil fuel companies. We believe that Wesleyan should not be profiting from an industry that is actively and significantly contributing to global climate change and unjust suffering in frontline communities. We are asking that the Board of Trustees and President Roth call on the Investing Office to work with the Committee on Investor Responsibility to create a careful, feasible plan for divestment

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Students For a Fossil Fuel Free World that would carefully consider the health of our endowment. We believe that Wesleyan can be at the forefront of a national movement encouraging universities and other major institutions to divest from fossil fuels, and that in doing so, we can challenge the dogmatic notion of fossil fuel dependency. We want our investments to reflect the values that both the student body and the University uphold; through divestment, we believe that Wesleyan can take a moral stand to fight for social and environmental justice.

14


be gentle with the earth -Dalai Lama XIV

Art by Kate Weiner ‘15


A Call to Farm By Ian Foster ‘17

Farming to me used to be nothing more than an easy way to meet community service requirements. I sometimes think about the experiences I’ve had on farms and despise my apparent lack of “Type A” ambition. Last spring, I was all too aware that while I weeded beds of garlic, my best friend from my private high school was working across from the State House in Boston reviewing legislature and making connections at a well-respected lobbying firm. College students more than anyone are positioned to question the value of farming in an urban and professional society where everyone is trying to get ahead. It seems we’re all fighting to make it to the unpaid internship that will lead to the paid internship and then to a low level job and then to a slightly higher-level job, and up and up and up, forever! How could something as seemingly parochial and old-fashioned as farming possibly fit into that? Famously, philosopher Alan Watts suggested that life is a sheet of music, in which feelings of fulfillment are enjoyed throughout, not at the final note. He posits that the people who view life as a journey, where the fulfillment comes only at the end, miss its beauty and intrinsic value. As he says, they

don’t realize that they were supposed to be dancing to the music the whole time. While farming is undoubtedly a great way to “dance” through life, ending there would not only sound incredibly cliché, but would vastly undervalue the importance of farming to college students in our world which seems to spin faster every year. What I mean to suggest is that there is a middle and superior ground between the greedily professional cycle that can be seen as dominating our society and the profound sixties mantra that Alan Watts discusses. And it is transcendent experiences like those we have with the natural and agricultural world, with food systems, and with manual labor that create that middle ground. Beyond any green or charity-driven incentives, farm work grounds you. Literally. It grounds you in the earth. And it is on this level that you learn about the people kneeling next to you, and about the earth that you can touch. These experiences translate. They give you skills and knowledge to take back to the marketplace. They give you empathy. Find this middle ground, this loftier compromise, however you can. Do things that fulfill you, that break the professional cycle. I suggest you start with farming. 16


It’s easy to be GREEN...

Follow these tips to reduce your environmental impact!

1

Heat down, Snuggle up

If you turn the heat down 5-10 degrees when you go to sleep you’ll save 5-10% of your heating bill www.care2.com

2

Do it in the Dark

Money saved on energy expenses goes to financial aid. The less you burn, the more we earn!

3

Turn off the Tap

Just by turning off the tap while you brush your teeth in the morning and before bedtime, you can save up to 8 gallons of water per day! www.epa.gov 17

4

Unplug! Prevent Vampire Energy Consumption

On a national basis, vampire energy accounts for more than 100 billion kilowatt hours of annual U.S. electricity consumption and more than $10 billion in annual energy costs. energystar.gov

5

Reduce Food Waste and Eat Leftovers

Food waste is responsible for 135 million tons of greenhouse gases every year, or about 1.5% of greenhouse gas emissions globally. foodwastestats.com


Follow The GreenScene on instagram for more! @WesEONGreenScene

By Ruby Lang ‘17 18


Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia By Cassia Patel ‘17


Heat Lightning By Lily Myers ‘15

We watch it from the roof. Rebecca thinks it’s clouds talking. Hailey says it’s from the heat: “I saw this all the time in Texas.” I lay back and picture Zeus, a muscular, cartoonish man, sending down bolts like stakes into the earth. Every few seconds, a new one— calm but furious, sending the sky into sharp yellow radiance. “Better than fireworks” is the consensus. “I’m going to shower,” says Rebecca, and stays sitting. “Sometimes it takes the light,” Ben says. “To see what’s around you.” Laura promises to write when she’s back in Kentucky; letters are “just more personal.” My body is an aching length of wire that can suddenly feel its own voltage, pulsing out watts every fifteen seconds or so, these fibers lit alive on a rooftop in central Connecticut getting chewed on by bugs, breathing in the sweat of these six bodies, dirt-smeared from the farm, sore from the broad fork, the morning’s weeding, Laura with her tick bite, Cat with a scabbed and bandaged chin, pulsing their own hot energy out of eyelashes, toenails, pores. I stay on the roof after they trickle back through the window, one by one, murmuring blessings. The sky tonight is not something I can leave.

20


Sunset on Tam

Marin County, California By Alison Znamierowski ‘15


recycle /rē’sīkel/ verb : recycle 1. to convert waste into reusable material

When you are finished reading loam, please recycle it.


Profile for The Wesleyan GreenScene

Loam  

An Earth Day publication presented by The EON GreenScene at Wesleyan University (Middletown CT) in the Spring of 2014. Loam is a celebratio...

Loam  

An Earth Day publication presented by The EON GreenScene at Wesleyan University (Middletown CT) in the Spring of 2014. Loam is a celebratio...

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