The new class on biodiversity is very excited to be engaging Navajo activist Wahleah Johns and Harvard entomologist Gary Alpert this week to learn more about the Black Mesa region of Arizona! The plateau that has been heavily affected by coal mining activities, and the land changes and reduced access to clean waters are impacting all life in the area. Several concerned members of the Navajo and Hopi Nations are hard at work exploring enewable energy sources and alternative livelihoods, through organizations such as the grassroots-based Black Mesa Water Coalition and Inna Solutions, to more sustainably support the human communities and better preserve the health of the natural environment in the long-term.
Next week, we will be taking a look at the situation in the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia with plant biochemist Jean Yong. During our recitation sessions, students have also been hard at work exploring biodiversity through experiential activities and projects. We played a biodiversity simulation game using 20 types of seeds and legumes to represent different species and have been observing the local biodiversity around us, both on-campus and off. We are now diving into projects at the intersection of community development and ecological conservation - please let us know if you are in the area and would like to join us during our informal project review sessions, as we would welcome your ideas/feedback and hope to engage a diverse range of perspectives!