Reflecting on the past year and my journey through this internship and my overall experience in the ENVS Department at Lewis and Clark, I realise that by combining these two worlds I have been more appreciative of the classes I have taken. One of the key themes of my time at LC has been “building bridges”. Although a somewhat cliche concept, bridges have and will always be a universal symbol of progress and transformation. They allow people to traverse difficult terrain and connect two separate land masses. For this last post I was going to think about what kind of an environmental organisation I would build if I had the opportunity. After careful consideration I have come to the conclusion that this is a task that would require many years of experience and reflection on my behalf. And since this is also my last post related to college I have decided it would be best to reflect on three themes that I have observed in the last two semester through my internship.
#1 The process is important.
Both a lesson I have learned in the workplace and at school I have seen that the process is important. Whether this be completing a paper or voting in a groundbreaking ordinance, outcomes are only the tip of the iceberg. Many pages have had to be read and other battles have been won and lost before a great success. The outcome will match the input.
#2 Zooming in & out.
Throughout my time in the ENVS program I have been shown how issues of scale are pertinent to any achievement. This can be linked to changes and transformation and the extent to which it will be radical or incremental. Being a part of CSE has shown me that eradicating the use of fossil fuels in Oregon will not be something that can be achieved overnight. Instead the law requires different hoops to be jumped before it is official, especially when coming to environmental issues. Renewable energy will not be adopted within a week. A lot of thinking, planning and implementation needs to undertaken before a solar station is built. The greatest lesson I take from this is that in trying to fight for our future and also the wellbeing of the planet we must be realistic.
#3 The future and cohesion.
The environmental movements I have studied and also witnessed have transformed over the past decades. Being a young woman of colour in a space where people who resemble me have been historically excluded I am reminded that change is happening and its happening fast. And it’s important to fight toward the same goals and make sure the voices of the most vulnerable are heard. Intersectionality allows people to come together to move forward. Having many voices that speak to an issue will make sure that it is fully faced and no one gets left behind.
As I cross into the next stage of my life I will continue to reflect on the lessons I have learned through college and in the jobs I will have in the future. These two chapters of my life will forever be in conversation with each other and this is only the beginning of that dialogue.