Brandeis students continue to make meaningful, newsworthy change for good. On May 12, 2015 the Boston Globe addressed the regulation and safety of Massachusetts nail salons, citing Brandeis University Nail Salon Worker Toxic Exposure studies by the 2011 and 2013 Environmental Health and Justice JBS students: “Amid N.Y. report, how are Mass. nail salons regulated?”. These research studies were presented by the students at the Academy of Sciences Annual International Conferences of Environmental Science and Technology.
By Julian Cardillo
Aug. 29, 2014
Cut down trees to benefit the environment and improve human health?
That may seem counter-intuitive, but Brian Donahue, professor of environmental studies, says in the long term converting some of New England’s forests into farmland and pastures could create a food system that is healthy, sustainable and prevents global warming. It also is a critical step in enabling New England to produce half of its food needs by 2060.
Donahue is the lead author of A New England Food Vision, a perspective on the future of the region’s food needs. Calling access to food a basic human right, he and co-authors, who include researchers from the University of New Hampshire, College of the Atlantic, University of Southern Maine and University of Vermont, propose changes in food production and distribution across the region.
At present, five percent of New England’s land is used to produce food while 80 percent is forested. The researchers call for using 15 percent, or 6 million acres, of the region’s land for food production.
“We are not talking about running out and cutting down a bunch of trees,” Donahue explains. “It would be gradual, happening over a half of century or more. We need adequate conservation. You want to be careful about how you go about this, as forests give us immense benefits.” Read more here!
On March 27, Latin American and Latino Studies, Environmental Studies, and Fine Arts UDRs hosted a documentary screening of Waste Land. Students came together from all disciplines to watch the film while eating South American food.
The film is about Vik Muniz, a famous Brazilian artist who currently lives in the United States. Muniz traveled to the world’s largest landfill near Rio de Janeiro to speak with catadores, or people who pick up recyclable material from the landfill for work.
Muniz took photographs of the catadores, then worked with the catadores to make artwork in the shape of the portraits with recyclable materials. After selling photographs of the artwork, all of the money went to the catadores. With the money, they bought equipment and a truck and built a learning center and a library so that people could learn about recycling.
The movie focused on the lives of the catadores and how they were moved by the experiences of creating art from recyclable materials then seeing their portraits become famous.
The screening was followed by a discussion about the lives of the catadores, recycling, and artwork. Overall, it was a meaningful film that brought students of many different disciplines together.
Accepted Students Day, the main recruitment day for the upcoming Class of 2018, was held this past Sunday, April 6th. By the time the Academic Fair opened, students flocked to the Environmental Studies booth where the UDRs, Esther Mann and Adam Krebs, stood. There was a line of eager students and parents in front of the booth for the two hours that the fair was held. The parents’ most common question was, “Tell me about the major” while the students asked, “Can I double major?” Most people were most interested in the experiential learning opportunities, the ratio of science and social science courses, and internships, yet they also asked about faculty, research opportunities, specific focuses in the major, study abroad opportunities, clubs and ways to get evolved, and future job options. Overall, the students were extremely excited to start learning Environmental Studies at Brandeis this upcoming fall.