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E D I T O R' S    N O T E
There's Hope

My environmental epiphany came during my first year of college. I don't remember The Big Moment, but I do remember fondly my first Earth Day, and starting to pay attention to consumer waste and global warming and what politicians had to say about such things. I also remember becoming increasingly idealistic, and vocal, about my newfound cause. I began my sophomore year as an environmental resources management major, determined to apply that knowledge to a career in environmental law. A noble plan, but as it turned out, I wasn't much of a scientist. I dreaded biology class and found refuge in the literature courses I had taken for fun. The writing, so to speak, was on the wall, and an editor was born.

I haven't regretted that decision, but there are times when, as I watch ecological world events unfold, I feel helpless to do much about them. Right now, for instance. With an energy crisis, a global food shortage, and global climate change in the news, it looks like we've hit a trifecta of looming disasters. OK, sure, I'll recycle my cat food cans and turn off the water while I brush my teeth, but come on, how much of a dent can that make? It can be hard to stay optimistic.

But then again . . . This is why it's good to be an editor. I might not be able to solve the world's problems, but I get to write and edit stories about the people who likely will. "Green Idea! It Might Just Work" (p. 44), by our Corbin Gwaltney Fellow, Siobhan Paganelli, A&S '08,tells the stories of some of the students behind Johns Hopkins' own grassroots environmental movement. A couple of them stumbled into the cause as part of a class; others arrived with activist résumés and an "of course we can" attitude. I've heard this generation described — negatively — as having a sense of entitlement. In this case, they appear to feel entitled to be able to fix things, which is great. What's more, they're smart enough to do it. That, coupled with the university leadership's stated commitment to going green, is reason for optimism.

In that spirit, Johns Hopkins Magazine will be doing its part as well. For the next issue, we're planning to start printing on recycled, FSC-certified paper. It costs more, and we'll be looking for ways to trim expenses to cover it. But, in the long run, we think we can't afford not to make the change.
— Catherine Pierre

Return to September 2008 Table of Contents

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