This year I’m thankful for the passion of youth activists organizing around climate action. From the Houston area high-schoolers that worked to organize the Houston Climate Strike earlier this semester to the passionate students on our own campus, young people are working hard on environmental issues and this gives me hope.
I am thankful for the growing movement of faculty, staff, and students at Rice who care enough about our global environmental crises (plural!) that they are devoting their time to try to develop and implement solutions. The data and projections regarding issues like climate change and loss of biodiversity are particularly grim. However, in the words of author and environmentalist Paul Hawken, “…if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.”
As the semester and year are coming to a close, I find myself grateful for the small, everyday things that students do to promote sustainability. Whether this is bringing their own cup to Coffeehouse or avoid single use plastics, each act adds up and cumulatively can make a big difference. I am also thankful for how much big-picture stuff Rice Sustainability does behind the scenes to make campus as green as possible, such as laying the plans for on campus composting or planting new trees.
This year, I am thankful for the water protectors of Standing Rock who are taking peaceful, legal action to protect water for future generations to come. I recently learned the staggering fact that the world's 370 million indigenous people make up less than five percent of the total human population, but support about 80 percent of global biodiversity. This Thanksgiving, a holiday built around a falsified narrative of history and erasure of violent, ongoing settler colonialism against Native Americans, I will be holding myself and those around me accountable for supporting indigenous environmental movements explicitly and financially.
I'm thankful for the opportunities Rice offers to explore unconventional subjects-- whether it's through the Environmental Studies minor, the Rice Holistic Garden and accompanying class, or working with local non-profit Plant It Forward Farms via the programs at the CCL, I've been able to easily discover and deepen my passion for sustainable agriculture
From the Sustainability Office: What We're Thankful For 2019