Letter to the Editor: The Sierra Club


Photo courtesy of the Sierra Club.

Dear Editor,

In these last few weeks as we wander campus smelling the fresh blooms and taking in the leaves, I’m reminded of people’s ability to appreciate their environment. As I was leaving Swenson Hall of Geoscience where I spend most of my time, I noticed flocks of people in every corner of the lower quad. People wrapped up in their hammocks. People rocking in the composite wooden chairs. People resting under the trees. Every person was in their own world yet they were all participating in the same act of celebrating nature.

Very often people find themselves in their own world. At the beginning of the semester one incident that excluded the awareness of our shared interconnectedness was the East Palestine, Ohio Norfolk train derailment. On February 23rd a southern outbound train carrying hazardous material derailed in the community of East Palestine. Most
coverage of the event sought to place blame in whatever political direction that confirmed their bias. But we forget such incidents are only symptoms of the problem.

Ralph Waldo Emerson justified his littering by assuming the college graduates of the future would need something to do. And it’s believable to assume some environmental consulting firm will have a long profitable contract written out to manage the damage done in East Palestine.

We have a nasty habit of commodifying even the most tragic of things. Through Aldo Leapolds writing I have skimmed the surface of what it means to treat the land ethically and I believe that if we are ever to find ourselves in a less dire circumstance then we must affirm our land ethic.

This is one such service the Augie Sierra Club strives to provide its members. In late spring just before the weather was nice for shoes to not get muddy, Augie Sierra Club hosted an excursion for Augie students inviting them to attend a small day trip to the Maquoketa Caves State park where we spend two and half hours letting students relish in the bliss of not having their phone scream away at the incoming emails.

Students on this trip were able to explore the caves and experience nature not regularly available to them. I find students leave this trip feeling grateful for having had the opportunity to get away from the anxiety that can sometimes be found on campus.

It’s incredible the healing power that our environment provides.

As summer nears I would encourage everyone to find themselves outside. Find yourself investing in nature because that really is the only way we can safeguard the future of our home.

Jack Hughes
2022-2023 Augie Sierra Club Vice President

Please reach out to me if you would like to join the Augie Sierra Club

[email protected]