Students reflect on this year’s Dempsey Environmental Lecture Series

by Erin Dahl ,

They were struck by her commitment to women’s rights, her zeal for protecting the planet, and her passion for sustainable agriculture.

Through Willamette’s Dempsey Environmental Lecture Series, Vandana Shiva – an award-winning scholar, author and environmental activist — made a strong impression on students when she visited campus last week.

Based in Delhi, India, Shiva advocates the development of sustainable and just food systems and stresses the connections between the way people live and what they eat.

After listening to Shiva – both through the public and class lectures – here’s what some students said they learned from her: 

  • “What stuck to me the most about my conversations with Dr.Shiva was her brutal honesty. I was blown away by her willingness to tell it like it is and give heartfelt answers to a myriad of difficult questions. What it comes down to for her is listening to her heart, her mind, her conscious and her physical limits. If we all did that, we could make the world a better place for all.” – Rie Tanabe ’17, environmental science major
  • “She said ‘We are not Atlas carrying the Earth. The Earth is generous enough to carry us,’ which I thought was a great way to look at how we are dependent on the Earth, and not the other way around.” – Myriah Juarez-Wagner ’17, environmental science and politics major
  • “By standing firmly behind her principles of health and well-being for all the world’s people, especially impoverished farmers, she is using her power to make changes for the better.” – Jake Kornack ’17, economics and history major
  • “Dr. Shiva’s goals to establish ecological agriculture in a global setting seemed tangible and measurable. … Humans are part of the land. We don’t dominate it, we don’t own it, but we do have a responsibility to live in harmony with it.” – Sarah Brush ’18, biology and environmental science major