Over the past couple months, seniors at Animas High School have been breaking down Justice and what it is. They started with the different philosophies of justice from utilitarianism to libertarianism to Rawl's justice as fairness. Through watching True Justice and reading texts from Howard Zinn, Dalai Lama, and other philosophers. They slowly transitioned to environmental ethics, debating Bears Ears and questioning the most just way to balance the environment, economy, spirituality, and recreation. They watched Beyond Standing Rock and read texts such as Aldo Leopold's Land Ethic. Producing two justice monologues, students prepared to create their own justice project. They worked to create justice in a place of injustice in the world.
I also created a logo to make our website more professional.
To add to the rhetoric of the website and display my perspective on environmental justice I wrote an essay analyzing Aldo Leopold's Land Ethic.
Project Defense: Initially, I intended to create a mural to display downtown to raise money to plant trees, but in the first week of the project, I started exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and went into isolation for two weeks. This inhibited me from helping my group paint a mural. I was still very passionate about our project so brainstormed different ideas for my contribution. To raise awareness about student’s perspectives on climate change, justice, and to help raise money to plant trees, I decided to take a different route and document our project on a website. I designed the website from scratch recording the goal of our project and the overall goal of the justice project. I created a page to display the perspectives of students in our group on climate change and what we feel is a just way to approach it. I created a mural page to show our progress as we designed and refined our vision. I linked our GoFundMe to encourage users to help donate to our cause. To create a more professional feel to our website, I designed a logo (Students For Environmental Justice). I wrote most of the text on the website and created an analysis piece on Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic to add to the Climate Change in Colorado page. I also took a leadership role within our daily group meetings to keep our conversations rolling and keep us on track. My project reflected my personal philosophy of justice, justice being a balance between liberty and equality and benefiting the masses (utilitarianism), through taking action for the environment which people have taken too much liberty from and not give enough equality to it. The economic views we have about the environment have led to climate change and humanity has not taken enough responsibility for our actions. The masses are hurting/will hurt because of it. I used Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic and the article “Equality and the American Democracy” to form my views of justice and how to treat the environment justly. My project of bringing awareness to our mural and raising money for planting trees to combat climate change worked towards fighting for equality for the environment by informing the public on the work of Aldo Leopold and our effort to plant trees. With my background knowledge from class and my growing knowledge from the book, “Windfall,” by Mckenzie Funk I was able to develop my philosophy of justice and apply it to my project of raising awareness for the tree planting group. I would have liked to learn more about wildfires in Colorado and the impacts climate change will have on them. I think it is important to inform the public about our future. I have discussed this with Tina Trujillo, who worked over the summer with a wildfire group. She said that wildfires are the new normal for Colorado and our carbon emissions are too high for us to reverse them. My group was mainly focused on bringing awareness to the other group’s project but I wish I had more time to explore that.
Project Reflection: Although I wasn’t able to work on the mural like I had originally intended to, I was still able to raise awareness for planting trees in a digital way. The goal was still accomplished and I created a beautiful website that not only advertised for our tree planting but also gave insight into our students’ perspectives on climate change and justice. I feel like it was a success. My ability to adapt to my situation and the support from my group lead me to have a successful product. I was still able to meet my goals even though I was in quarantine and had to adapt my project idea. My biggest obstacle was overcoming the sudden quarantine. I had to problem solve a new way to contribute to my groups goal of fundraising money to plant trees. I brainstormed several different ideas but came to the conclusion that a website would be able to reach a wider audience than the mural. It would be able to be used if Durango went back to a stay at home order. Although I wasn’t able to do my project from my proposal I was still able to meet my goal. Even with the restriction of quarantine I feel that I showed up for this project. Instead of accepting defeat when my situation changed, I accepted the challenge and learned to work around it. In the end it benefitted my group greatly. Not only was I engaged in the website, but I was also engaged in providing feedback for the mural. I gave advice around how to approach painting and design feedback. I felt that the website itself didn’t fully represent my views on justice and climate change so I wrote an essay on Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic to add to the rhetoric of the website. One of the key lessons I learned from this project was adaptability is key. Right now, with the state of the world, everything is in a gray area, so being able to adapt quickly and still accomplish your goals is very important. Being open minded and having back up plans to be adaptable will help me with my senior project if I need to adapt my ideas. Another key lesson I learned from this project was clear communication. There were a few issues between the mural group and the tree planting group regarding communication, so we remedied this by meeting all together to clear up our ideas. This allowed us to work more efficiently together and grow our project. Clear communication will come in handy during senior project because I hope to collaborate with a local architect. Explicitly conveying my ideas will help me to be successful.