Photo Credit: http://now.humboldt.edu/news/hsu-hosts-statewide-sustainability-conference/
by Kristy Drutman, UC Berkeley
Last weekend, I was able to have the honor of attending my first ever life-changing convergence at Humboldt State! Only a few weeks before I had attended Powershift 2013, a nationwide environmental conference, but for some reason this convergence left a much larger impact upon me. Simply driving up to Humboldt was an incredible journey, and I was able to interact with environmental leaders in the Bay who are working endlessly to promote sustainability.
Coming to the convergence I was not sure what to expect, and was a little intimidated by the work of students who are incredibly devoted to divestment campaigns. I was even more frazzled when it came to choosing just one workshop out of so many great options. I finally decided to attend the workshop that discussed how to communicate climate education to lower socio-economic groups and minorities. This particular workshop intrigued me because I love public speaking and I am currently enrolled in a class at Cal called “Communicating Sustainability.” From Powershift, I learned about how challenging it is to speak to a family about global warming when they are worried about feeding their children at night. This workshop allowed us to connect a program protecting the health of Latinos to an environmental organization wanting to protect endangered species. Intersectionality blew my mind, and it became transparent that building sustainable communities requires us as environmental leaders to step back and allow these communities to create their own paths to environmental justice. We can provide the tools and the programs to guide these communities in the right direction, but ultimately these areas will thrive if they are lead by someone they identify with.
The other workshop I truly enjoyed was focused on environmental economics. The conversation was focused on our current capitalist system and if or how we could begin to change something that seems so immovable. We delved into the complicated network of the job market and what’s even more abstract- the power of money. It made me realize how destructive consumerism has been on America, and that people need to remember that money really does not buy happiness.
Along with this I picked up new interests in horticulture and urban planning, and how vital it is to focus on improving my personal habits and my local community. After spending a night under the stars in Trinidad, visiting the famous Arcata marsh, and ending the conference with a sustainabilibuddy spiral hug, I felt at home. California is such a progressive state with blossoming innovations and brilliant environmental leaders. Being in a place with so much love and passion made me remember why sustainability is a lifelong challenge that is worth fighting for. From dancing with all of you at night to enjoying delicious vegan bites near breathtaking redwoods, my first convergence was worthwhile. I cannot wait to be more involved in environmental justice and to network with even more of you at the Spring Convergence in Santa Barbara! Go CSSC!