Special Issue: Letter From the Editors

Dear readers,

As student journalists studying the environment, we have always strived to incorporate environmental initiatives into our work at The Oberlin Review, from shifting to a paperless editing process — saving approximately 10,000 pieces of paper annually — to reducing our print circulation.

While we are certainly proud of these eco-friendly transitions in our workplace, we know that environmental and climate narratives are much larger than any person’s, or newspaper’s, individual choices. We still find ourselves intensely curious about the best ways to communicate about the climate challenges currently afflicting communities around the world, including Oberlin. In particular, we continue to strive for ways to further incorporate the personal and the human in our writing. In this curiosity, we began planning a special issue magazine — the Review’s first, as far as we know — focusing on climate change and the environment.

This project is nearly one year in the making. It has been driven by a desire not only to engage with more long-form journalism and topics that matter to us, but also to explore them in a place that matters to us: Oberlin. There seems to be no better time to tackle these issues and questions than now, during a global pandemic that is laying bare collective challenges and failures in addressing the links between climate crisis and public health.

Additionally, we are beyond honored to publish this magazine as part of the Earth Day 50 symposium primarily organized by College fourth-years Madeleine Gefke, Olivia Vasquez, and Ora Hammel; College third-year Wenling Li; and College second-year Phoebe von Conta. We are indebted to them for their hard work and leadership in bringing this series together, and inspired by their commitment to using the symposium as an opportunity to bring together College and City communities, even as we are all so physically far apart. And the lineup they have assembled is impressive; we are overjoyed to have the opportunity to learn from leading scholars and writers like cultural geographer Carolyn Finney and climate writer Mary Annaïse Heglar, OC ’06.

This magazine was only possible with the incredible, committed work of the staff whose pictures are at left. We are so grateful and humbled by the opportunity to work with such an insightful, dedicated group of journalists.

On the following pages, you will find reporting on the NEXUS pipeline and rising water levels in the Great Lakes; Q&As with Heglar and investigative environmental journalist Sonia Shah, OC ’90; current Oberlin students translating their academic research into op-ed form; and everything in between. As we spend the 50th Earth Day reflecting on how far we have come and how far we still have to go, we hope everybody with some connection to Oberlin or any interest in the environment will have something to take away from these pages, which represent a true labor of love.