So let me set the scene for “y’all”. We are still south of the Mason-Dixon line, somewhere in Virginia. I think no one would disagree if I said that we smell bad, like old laundry and van. And right now the communication between the vans consists of holding walkie-talkies up to the speakers to volley songs that others may consider obnoxious back and forth. Heiman’s van instigated with “Fish Heads” and Candie’s was quick to throw some Australian attitude right back at us with “Tie me Kangaroo Down Sport”. If you’ve never heard either, you should listen to both about 400 times. And we are all looking forward to the luxuries life off the road, such as not waiting in lines to use bathrooms, personal time, and total freedom of music choice. That doesn’t mean that we won’t miss the life once we’re back in Carlisle.

By random draw my job today is to sum up the experiences and adventures of the past 3 weeks. Three weeks that could easily be made into a novel, or screenplay. I wish everyone could have this experience. Packing up and searching out the problems in person and talking to the admirable individuals who are fighting them was something I would do again in a heartbeat. I loved watching the landscape change on our drive down and spending time with people who were strangers back in August. By people I mean the 14 women and 2 men and 2 amazing professors of LUCE who get outraged or amazed by the same things. We’ve seen each other at high points and low ones and have shared many ridiculous and hilarious experiences.

One of the themes we encountered again and again was absence. Mountains that are blown up, marshes that turn into water, and the lack of meaningful government action are the challenges that confronted us at every turn. I feel like I have an obligation now to tell other people about what is happening to our country and to try to make a difference like all of the activists, organizers, and scientists who took time to talk to us.

Regardless of what disheartening sights we may have seen, we can’t let the negative weigh us down into inaction. The problems are big, but allowing that to intimidate our generation will just make things worse. There is hope, and as I write this a truck loaded down with the turbines for a windmill heads south on 81 …

However, Jensen just got silly putty stuck in his ear …. I guess he finally cracked.

Lucers 06 — back safe and sound at Kaufman.

The Environmental Studies Department welcomes us home!