October 11, 2016                              Fall 2016 : Issue 3

The Environmental Center:
25 Years of Cultivating Change Agents!
This year marks the Environmental Center's 25 th anniversary. Over this time, our students, staff, volunteers, and community have worked tirelessly to advance environmental responsibility and social justice throughout campus and our region. The fruits of these labors read like a community organizer's dream list: Launch recycling efforts on campus and - ultimately - Durango; halt timber sales on public lands; aid in the completion of a countywide, food-security assessment; draft the FLC Sustainability Action Plan; prompt the erection of the (at the time) greenest building in Durango; brought hope-bearing super stars like Vandana Shiva and David Orr to town; committed FLC to the Real Food Challenge...and on and on*.
 
In many ways, however, the Environmental Center's most powerful work is what comes afterwards, once a student graduates from the EC and launches into the world, taking with them the values that they explored and developed along the way; the inspiration found in experiencing that, yes, they can affect positive change; the vision they hold for creating an authentic and connected community; and, of course, a deep sense of their commitment to be active citizens.
 
Last week during the Southwest School to Farm Conference, I had the chance to observe this 'delayed' and truly beautiful outcome. During the opening session, I found myself in the company of seven Environmental Center alumni, each of whom was continuing their work to better our world as farmers, food system advocates, and committed members of their community. 
 
The power of these alumni's efforts and stories took my breath away...And I suspect that anyone reading this Digest has a similarly powerful story to tell about how the EC has impacted you and your work to advance a greater world. If you are an EC alumni or someone that has engaged with the EC in a way that has felt significant to you, please tell us your story. We would love to share our collective story with our community as we celebrate 25 years of great work!
 
Tell us your Environmental Center story here: https://goo.gl/forms/8JHqmD1rRuapOG0A3
 
Here's to the next 25 Years!
 
Rachel Landis, Environmental Center Coordinator

Rachel Landis with EC alumni_ Max Kirks_ Emily Haefner_ James Field_ Max Plate_ Mike Nolan_ and Beth LaShell. Not featured_ Danielle Duni and Brandon Francis

*A more complete list of the Environmental Center's accomplishments can be found at: https://www.fortlewis.edu/environmentalcenter/AboutUs/History.aspx  
 
T he EC's Real Food Challenge Team: 'Vote Real' in October
Tell us which Real Foods you want to see in San Juan Dining!
  
When you Vote Real, you choose between 2-3 different food products you would like to see shifted from current conventional standards to a 'real' product (fair, humane, ecologically-sound, and/or local).
  
We are accepting ballots until October 24 and will announce the winner on 10/24 as part of FLC's participation in National Food Day!
  
Cast your vote on which of the following tasty treats you would like to see in San Juan Dining from here on out.
  
October's  ballot gives you the option of selecting:
  • Organic Tomatoes (sourced from Fresh Pack)
  • Organic Zucchini (sourced from Fresh Pack)
  • Organic Green Bell Pepper (sourced from Fresh Pack)
Last year 440 FLC students, faculty & staff 'voted real' to bring local, organic potatoes to campus dining. Now, every week, 240 lbs of Old Fort potatoes arrive on your plate. $11,000 has made its way into our local economy, and our Real Food percentage increased by 1.3%.
  
When: Oct. 10 - 24
  
Where: FLC Environmental Center / San Juan Dining. Or vote online!
Come Shopping with the Zero Waste Team:
The EC Free Store is Open!
  
Do you need new t-shirts? How about pants? Sweaters? Perhaps a new coat ...
  
With fall in full swing and winter quickly approaching, the EC's Free Store is here for you!
  
Why are we so great to give this stuff away? The EC is committed to working toward a Zero Waste Campus. We will achieve this ultimate goal by supporting ways to REDUCE consumption, REUSE functional items, and RECYCLE (and COMPOST) waste rather than sending it to a landfill.
  
The Free Store is all about reusing items so that you don't have to spend your money on new stuff.
  
Last year, the Free Store cycled through:
  • 320 cotton t-shirts
  • 90 pairs of jeans
  • 36 pairs of shoes
  • 64 dresses / jackets
This saved:
  • $3,800 worth of merchandise value
  • 600,000 gallons of virtual water from not buying new goods
Have some things that you decide you don't need? Feel free to come by and drop them off so another student can use them!
 
When: Mondays 12:45 - 2:30 p.m.
 
Where: Student Union Building or anytime at the Environmental Center 
The Local Food Security Team presents:
Campus Garden Workdays

Join the EC's Local Food Fellows every Wednesday and Thursday through November to work in our campus community garden.
  
Participants will learn about organic gardening and help us to bring in the harvest.
  
All community members are welcome to join!
  
When: Wednesdays 11:15 - 1:30 p.m. or Thursdays 4 - 5:30 p.m.
  
Where: Meet at the EC or join us out at the Campus Garden
  
Sign-Up: Please contact Local Food Fellow, Zack Bukovich, for more information: zackbukovich@hotmail.com
  
Join Rachel Landis!
FLC Common Reading Experience:
Apocalyptic Planet 
  
The EC is excited to have our Coordinator, Rachel Landis, be one of the panel members for the FLC common reading experience panel discussion.

For the 2016-17 academic year, the common reading experience book selection is Apocalyptic Planet: Field Guide to the Future of the Earth by Craig Childs. 
  
Craig Childs writes about the relationship between humans, animals, landscape, and time. His stories come from visceral, personal experience, whether in the company of illicit artifact dealers or in deep wilderness.

The FLC common reading experience program provides an avenue for discussion among students, faculty, administration, and members of the Durango community.
  
A central goal of the program is for the ideas in the selected book to generate discussion and writing in a variety of disciplines and allow students to see these ideas come alive on campus.

When: Oct. 25 from 7 - 9 p.m.
  
Where: FLC Nobel 130
  
Cost: Free
  
Visit FLC's website for more information!
Mark your calendars and come celebrate the EC with us:
Save the Date: EC's 25th Birthday and 15th Annual REEL Film Experience!
  
We are celebrating 25 years of advancing sustainability throughout the region and graduating student leaders committed to creating social and environmental change at this years REEL Film Experience.
  
The night's theme is Creating A Climate for Change. Festivities will include the screening of several locally-produced climate shorts and the regional screening of the internationally acclaimed movie, A Time to Choose.
  
Free food, a cash bar, birthday cake and a guaranteed-to-make-you-leave-feeling-good opportunity to take action round out this informative, inspirational and fun evening!
  
When: Nov. 5 at 5:30 p.m.
 
Where: FLC Community Concert Hall
 
Tickets:
  • Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Durango Welcome Center or at the Community Concert Hall website.
  • $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Cost includes a light dinner.
  • Children 12 & under are free.
  • All proceeds benefit the FLC Environmental Center!
 
Support the EC When You Shop at City Market
  
If you are a City Market shopper with a rewards card, you can use your grocery shopping to support the Environmental Center at no extra cost to you!

All you have to do is sign up here:
  • Click on the Enroll Now button
  • Create an account
  • Register your City Market Value Card and when asked what organization you would like to support, type in Environmental Center and check the appropriate dialog box. 
City Market's Community Rewards program will make a donation to the Environmental Center each time that you make a purchase.
 
Get your groceries and support the EC in one fell swoop-it's like getting your cake and eating it, too! (food pun intended)
FLC's Food Focus Group Needs You!
  
We are very excited to take our Food Focus group to the next level this academic year!
 
The mission of the Food Focus Group is to come together in a casual, solution minded atmosphere where we can be agents of change. We want to set an example for other like-minded institutions as we move forward
  
T his group will have an opportunity to share thoughts and ideas that will build on our foundation to serve more local and quality food options, healthier choices and waste less in the process.
 
We will discuss/brainstorm new and exciting ways to create a dining environment where sustainability and our commitment to the Real Food Challenge are front and center.
 
The structure of the meeting is informal and collaborative, where all ideas are seeds for thought.
  
Dinner is provided at the meetings free of charge!
 
When: Every 3rd Wednesday of each month at 5 p.m.
 
Where: FLC Piedra Room
News & Updates
EC Is Now a Southwest Seed Library Host Location

Come check out and plant some seeds!

As a part of our Local Food Security Initiative, the EC is proud to provide the SW Community Seed Library with a new home and invites everyone from the community to come and utilize this new and incredible resource.
 
Keep your eyes out for workshops and exchanges coming soon!
  
The purpose of the Southwest Seed Library is to:
  • Provide free regional hardy seeds (food, herbs, flowers)
  • Improve soil and food with knowledge of our earth
  • Be a school for saving and sharing seeds
  • Be a place to learn about growing in our challenging climate
  • Be a connecting point between farmers, gardeners, and schools to share knowledge and resources for a stronger, healthier Southwest
  • Be a long term Permaculture project that will grow with our community
  • Empower for self-care and abundance
Please contact Rachel Bennett, Community Seed Coordinator, for more information:  southwestseedlibrary@gmail.com
Unused Ink Jets Available

 

Zero Waste your office! The EC has several unopened ink jets that are no longer needed. We would love to provide them with happy homes!

 

Email Marty at mlpool@fortlewis.edu if you can use any of the following ink jets:

  • HP, LaserJet, 305A (Yellow, cyan, magenta)
  • HP, color LaserJet, CE4500-4550 (Cyan, Black, Magenta)
  • HP, color LaserJet, C4194A, Yellow
First come first serve. Once you contact Marty we'll set aside the ink jets for you to come pick up!
High Country News Available at the EC!
  
Copies of the High Country news are now available for free at the Environmental Center thanks to a donation by FLC Professor, Brad Clark.
  
Please come by and pick up your copy today to keep in the know about relevant environmental and social news on the Colorado Plateau.
Rooted will return next time! Be sure to keep an eye out.
Local 
Maria's Bookshop Hosts:
A Bill Ritter Book Signing!
  
Wind, sunlight and other sustainable resources are now the fastest growing energy sources in the U.S. and worldwide, due to the urgent need to prevent climate change.
  
Bill Ritter, former Colorado governor and director of CSU's Center for the New Energy Economy, discusses the future of fossil and renewable fuels and the new ways our planet must think about energy, including U.S. energy-climate policies and politics.
  
When: Oct. 24 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
 
Where: Powerhouse Science Center
San Juan Citizens Alliance Job Opportunity:
Animas River Campaign Organizer
  
The Animas River needs a full-time advocate.

In addition to the now well-known and constant assault from inactive mines, the Animas River faces threats from temperature increases, urban run-off and E. coli contamination on its way to the San Juan River.

Thanks to a dedicated grant, we're thrilled to be hiring a full time advocate to organize around the health of the Animas River.

Please take a look at the job description!
 
If it excites you, we'd love to see your application.
Comment on the Hermosa Creek Watershed plan!

San Juan Citizen's Alliance invites you to submit your comments 

Nearly two years ago, a tireless and diverse grassroots effort to secure protections for a local watershed culminated in the  Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act. Now the draft management plan is available for comment.

This community secured incredible protections for the Hermosa Creek watershed. Take a moment to make sure it is done right. The SJCA asks you now to 

In an effort to encourage more meaningful comments, we're experimenting with a new approach. Rather than create a pre-written letter, we are asking you to write a short personal letter drawing on talking points from our analysis. We've also created a blog detailing our concerns in more depth. We believe taking a few extra minutes to type the comments in your own words will translate into greater consideration by the Forest Service.'

Thanks for helping us ensure a strong finish to this successful collaborative process.
Durango Green Drinks

A great chance to get your networking on and meet other rad folks in the environmental and sustainability fields here in town. 
Regional & Beyond
CMU Upper Colorado River Basin Water Forum

COMPLEX SYSTEMS IN FLUX: Changing Relationships between Water, People and the Environment

The 2016 forum will seek to generate new insights into the dynamics of the natural and human systems that coexist in the Colorado River Basin. 
  
Keynote Speakers: 
  
Jack Schmidt, Professor of Watershed Sciences, Utah State University;  Tom Buschatzke, Director, Arizona Department of Water Resources.

When: Nov. 2 - 3
  
Where: Colorado Mesa University
 
Cost: $60 - $160 (depending on days attended and if a current student)
  
For more information please visit Colorado Mesa's webpage!
Thoughts and ideas included in  The Lorax Reacts are solely those of the author. Anyone is welcome to submit a piece to this opinion section of our newsletter. To submit, please email Assistant Coordinator Marty Pool at mlpool@fortlewis.edu

Truth and Action
By Randy Willis

I am struck that so many are willing to obliterate the rights of future generations for a livable planet that should still be beautiful and healthy. Most would tell you they do believe in these rights, but they are either too busy navigating the demands of their own life or they have been misled and believe the threat isn't real.  Shouldn't true wealth be comprised of clean air and water, real food, peace, community, shelter, and the astounding beauty and bounty of the natural world?

Forget the pursuit of this shadowy, tenuous wealth that is a destroyer.

Greed is extraction that results in the degradation of our land, air and water. Madness are the pharmaceutical companies emptying our pockets by price gouging life-saving meds simply because they can .  Criminal is putting our education infrastructure at risk in the name of so called fiscally conservative sleight of hand maneuvers such as voucher systems . The list goes on and on so forgive me if I left out the particular injustice that you live under.

Truth: For all the reasons to argue against fracking, one point stands out here in the arid west: the shear amount of water that is rendered useless. Attempts to recycle fracking water have been feeble and unacceptable. According to the Denver Post , it takes anywhere from 500,000 to 5 million gallons of water to frack a single well, and that number has been rising steadily over the past years. Organizations like EarthJustice.org allow you to raise your voice and stand up for our air, water, and land at a national level.

Truth: While the coal, oil and gas industries have been economically beneficial for some, living with the various carbon intensive industries has also put the Four Corners on the map for the highest concentrations of air borne mercury and created our notorious Methane Hot Spot . Mountain Studies Institute has a nice piece detailing the effects of mercury on our local ecosystems and offers opportunities to get involved on this issue. The San Juan Citizens Alliance offers another way to take action and ensure that these industries take responsibility for their impacts.

The true economy is quality of life. One that doesn't come at such a great expense to others and the little, blue planet that we depend on. I do not think all is lost. In fact, I believe that the wrongs can be righted with a bit of truth. With understanding people can make the right choices and give a good stiff arm to the ways of greed. Let's arm ourselves with some truth and take action!