Environmental Ethics: A Reflection

November 2019: Presenting on Environmental Ethics and Chesapeake Bay Forum

Mid November was a busy time for ALLARM. Watershed coordinators were preparing for workshops, boxes of supplies were delivered, Water Facts were being designed and hung and analysis was run for numerous water samples. During a week full of events, I’ve learned the strength of teamwork in the ways ALLARM staff have collaborated to prepare for workshops. Recently, I have been so proud to be a part of the volunteer monitoring community. My appreciation grew out of my experience presenting to a Dickinson Class on ALLARM’s values and then attending the Chesapeake Bay Forum.

On November 14th, Julie and I presented on effective community collaboration and ALLARM’s values and approaches. While searching for suggested readings I was able to solidify my understanding of community-based research. I was particularly inspired by the value of reciprocity in community science. In many ways, researching the principles that uphold community science helped me put words to the work ALLARM accomplishes. During the class, I was able to dive into a case study on the importance of community knowledge and mutually beneficially relationships. This connects beautifully with the co-created collaboration process ALLARM uses with communities. The ethics we defined as central to ALLARM were: addressing community concerns, using workshops to empower change, communicating clear responsibilities, and collecting credible data.  And finally, science is open to all!

So many of these ethics were validated during my day at the Chesapeake Bay Forum. The first workshop I attended was on behavior change campaigns. The presenters did such a great job of defining why it is important to be thinking about behavior change. I understood how environmental problems are often cause by human behavior and connected that behavior change is central to environmental stewardship efforts. In the workshop we discussed a campaign reducing pet litter and a campaign on plastics in water.

I also attending an Understanding Bias workshop, Riversmart Green Homes, Stream Team workshop. These experiences revealed the amazing work that is being done in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. There are so many organizations, fueled by passionate individuals, accomplish valuable goals to benefit water health of the Bay.  I found it amazing that all the workshops were hands-on and collaborative. The overall atmosphere of the Chesapeake Bay Forum felt like a family meeting with a “we can do it” attitude. This was my first time attending and I walked away feeling incredibly empowered.