Tag Archives: peter shumlin

Guest Post: Wesleyan Needs To Be On The Correct Side of the Climate Change Fight

“For almost 40 years I have been so proud of Wesleyan students and alumni. But I am not seeing the level of activism that is necessary for this existential fight.”

Pictured: Lauren Steiner '79 speaks at the Los Angeles Tar Sands Blockade Solidarity Action in March, 2013.

Pictured: Lauren Steiner ’79 speaks at the Los Angeles Tar Sands Blockade Solidarity Action in March, 2013.

Several weeks ago, members of a student group calling themselves Wes, Divest! put together a petition calling on President Roth and the Board of Trustees to divest from fossil fuels. The petition has since amassed more than 250 signatures, many with accompanying messages of support. President Roth hasn’t yet publicly responded. When asked about the possibility of divestment at a WSA meeting in March, he suggested that it was highly unlikely—and argued that Wesleyan’s endowment shouldn’t be a “vehicle for social change.”

As the push for divestment first starts to heat up at Wesleyan (as it already has at Tufts, Amherst, and much of the ‘Cac), we’re presenting a guest perspective by Lauren Steiner ’79, an environmental activist and Wes alum who urges all Wesleyan students to take up the fight now, before it’s too late:

“Plant trees, create recycled art, tour a chestnut orchard, work on an organic garden and much more during Earth Month at Wesleyan!” So reads the first sentence of an article in the latest edition of The Wesleyan Connection emailed to me in April. As an environmental activist who attended the first Earth Day celebration 33 years ago at age 12 and who planned an LA solidarity rally to the D.C. Forward on Climate Rally this past February, I found this quite dismaying. When I was at Wesleyan between 1975 and 1979, when we hadn’t even heard of climate change, we were actively protesting threats to the environment and human health. In 1976 and 1977, activists from Wesleyan joined the Clamshell Alliance protesting the construction of the Seabrook nuclear power plant in New Hampshire. Where is that activism now when environmental threats are so much worse?

Vermont Governor Attacked by Bears During Daring Birdseed Rescue

Wesleyan alumnus Peter Shumlin ’79, the sitting Democratic Governor of Vermont, mounted a daring rescue of his bird-feeders in the face of staunch opposition represented by four bears on Wednesday night. As he was falling asleep at his home in the Vermont capital Montpelier, a group of blackbears entered the area and began assaulting his bird-feeders, hoping to capture the tasty birdseed held within. Unarmed and slightly groggy, Shumlin shouted at the bears to scare them off but upon the bears’ repeated return was forced to remove the bird-feeders from their vulnerable tactical position and secure them within the safety of his house. The bears put up stiff and aggressive resistance: “I was within three feet of getting ‘arrrh'” Shumlin stated afterwards. “You almost lost the governor. Security was not there.”

Nevertheless, Shumlin did manage to safely recover most of the bird-seed and the feeders, and was not harmed. He may now continue his bird-feeding hobby, which he says remains his “only connection to nature” while in the city. Vermont’s Fish and Wildlife Department, however, has urged homeowners throughout the state not to use bird-feeders at this time of year, citing the general abundance of food for birds and the attractiveness of birdseed to bears coming out of hibernation. The full story can be found here on Vemont Public Radio.