photo & story
by Maren Schober
Michael Meade, a senior at ConnCollege, knows what he wants and he is going for a “green world.”
“My major is Student Designed Interdisciplinary Sustainability which includes Green Architecture, Ethnobotany, Environmental Politics and Anthropology.”
A lot of big words, but what does it mean? “It means I am gaining knowledge about sustaining life using environmentally friendly materials and resources. I believe this is important in the present and for the future. I am also doing independent study projects such as Rainwater Harvesting and using art as a tool for education about sustainability.”
Michael puts his beliefs and studies to practice by donating hours of his time to two community efforts in this direction. “I volunteer with Fiddleheads, the natural foods co-op in New London, three hours a week working the register and helping manage the co-op. I also volunteer at New London’s FRESH community garden two hours about every other week helping build raised vegetable garden beds and doing various garden work.”
Michael lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. What brought him all the way to Connecticut?
“ConnCollege offers me the small classes and close relationships between students and faculty that I like. I also have some relatives living nearby.”
“I like working with children,” Michael continues. “When I was fourteen years old I started doing volunteer work in Middle School teaching reading to first grade students in Santa Fe. Now I find ways to work with children during special family events at Fiddleheads. Sometimes I teach a craft to the kids.”
“Through my current volunteer work I am learning what it takes to bring a community garden to fruition. I am also getting a basic understanding of the economic and social management requirements for a community co-op like Fiddleheads.”
“I am currently working on an art project that addresses a big concern of mine. Only about 20% of the plastic water bottles we produce are actually recycled. The other 80% ends up in landfills, wilderness or in the oceans. If we shifted the money we spend on bottled water to improving our water infrastructure (such as the repair of leaky pipes and integration of better filtration systems) we would all be healthier and ultimately be polluting much less.”
“Last year I took the opportunity to spend five months in Australia observing the community garden process in that country. That was a wonderful experience. After I graduate from college, I plan to spend the summer working with children in the Children’s Adventure Company which includes an environmental wilderness program. Following that I will work for a company in Maui, Hawaii where I will be active in organic farming.”
One thing is for sure. Whatever Michael Meade does in life will help improve our own knowledge of how to best use the resouces we have to sustain our own lives. We are fortunate to have students like Michael who care enough to want to keep our planet green.