When I came to Prescott College, I only knew that I wanted to make environmental change. I was a transfer student and had taken a gap year-and-a-half, so I was motivated and ready to dive into this new educational journey. At first my interest was small-scale agriculture, and thought about calling my competence “Agroecology,” but I was actually more interested in the policy-making aspect of agriculture. My first year here, I took prerequisite classes like Algebra and Writing Workshop, and took Environmental Studies classes that piqued my interest. I figured my goals would fall into place eventually, and sure enough, they did.
The class that really made me expand my horizons was Water in the West, an intensive block course that immersed me in all aspects of water issues, from ecological to political. I knew virtually nothing about water systems before this class, and have emerged a passionate Environmental Policy competence who just might have to include water policy in her future. I’m still trying to figure out what exactly my goals are, because food sustainability plays such a crucial role in our lives (and affects us at least three times a day), but water plays an even bigger role in our lives, not to mention the lives of animals. Water connects everything and everyone. But how could I not also try to combat climate change? I kind of just want to do everything and change the world.
Many Prescott College students conserve fuel and water as much as possible, and do an amazing job of reducing their personal footprint. But unfortunately, the majority of Americans don’t even think about the ecological consequences of their actions, and that is why I am of the belief that we need policy to help get us all on the same page. Policy isn’t the only answer – individual responsibility and education are part of it – but in order to enact real, large-scale change, we need some major upheavals, and most people won’t go along with it without incentive. I’m talking large-scale – all the way from drilling less, eliminating fracking, and reforming the farm subsidies – to how the city of Prescott offers a financial incentive for taking out your lawn, or installing low-flow appliances.
Every bit counts, but the small bits are easier… we have to deal with the big bits, too. And that’s why I’m an Environmental Policy competence: I believe that some large-scale environmental policy is necessary, and I want to be a part of that change. I don’t know whether that will involve agriculture, water, something else or everything at once, but making change is what I’m passionate about, and I feel that Prescott College is the perfect place for me to prepare myself for that future.
Ruby Teegarden 2/28/13