Not Your Parents’ Environmentalism


LaNiesha Bisek, Life Reporter

Who is teaching environmentalism these days? Parents? Sesame street? Schools?

Here at Hamline, the Center of Justice and Law (CJL) took it upon themselves on Oct. 20 gathering environmental enthusiasts’ for the ‘Not Your Parents’ Environmentalism’ event held to educate the audience about environmentalism in an informative but incredibly fun and creative way. 

The event began with a land acknowledgement followed by introductions by the CJL student coordinators, Mariah Cohen, Olivia Mancia Chavez, Jennifer Martinez Badillo and Adrianna Christ. They then opened the floor for everyone else to introduce themselves.

The rest of the event continued with a presentation explaining environmental justice through definitions and giving opportunities for large group discussions. For those of you who love some good and healthy competition, the event included both a scavenger hunt and kahoot providing information and resources relating to environmentalism. 

The Oracle had the opportunity to speak with one of the CJL student coordinators relating to their involvement within the CJL and this event. 

Senior Mariah Cohen  began her involvement with the CJL by attending her first CJL event in fall 2019 which was about criminalization of poverty. 

“I was excited to learn that there was space for me to join the crew and plan these events to create change,” Cohen said. 

There are great plans for the CJL in the future which heavily influenced the goals of this event. 

“The CJL theme for the next two years is on Environmental Justice. We wanted to start with an event that was Hamline student-focused to introduce the topic, especially to people that don’t know much about environmental justice or feel that it doesn’t include them,” Cohen said. 

While the event was full of great content and important information, something the CJL wanted to highlight and emphasize throughout this event would be how environmental justice is something that everyone can participate in and provide their skills. 

“[The CJL] wants people to know that environmental justice is truly interdisciplinary and everyone has a skill set that can contribute to the advancement of this topic. As we highlighted in our event, this includes environmentalism majors and people in the sciences, of course, but also artists, business or even religious studies majors and more. This theme is for everyone, and we can’t wait to continue this conversation in future events this year,” Cohen said. 

The Oracle  got to also speak to one of the attendees of this event. 

Liam Schwartz, junior, attended this event because he’s an environmental studies minor and is a part of the Hamline environmental education project [which] is trying to partner with the CJL, he explained.He also wanted to attend this event because he was also interested in what they have to teach him. 

He was surprised by some of the information they shared such as how little tree cover there is over the Twin Cities and how few residents live near parks.

“There were a few facts that really surprised me that kind of were upsetting. That they were way worse than they should be… [It] was pretty surprising and stark,” Schwartz said.

‘Not Your Parents’ Environmentalism’ was very educational and provided this information in a way that really stuck with attendees whether it was through shocking information and statistics, or through some engaging and fun competition. The event was successful in what the CJL was hoping to achieve and left attendees with new insight and inspiration to do more within environmental justice.