The Oberlin Review

University of Wisconsin students protest the institution’s fossil fuel investments.

Across the Country, Colleges & Universities Move to Divest

April 22, 2020

As the issue of climate change has become increasingly salient, colleges and universities have come under increasing pressure to withdraw their investments wrapped up in different ways in the fossil fuel industry. These demands raise questions about the potential impact of fossil fuel divestment, as well as its financial and technical viability for educational institutions. Last year, the Review reported on the College endowment’s exposure to fossil fuels (College Maintains ‘Minimal Exposure...

The NEXUS pipeline’s route through Oberlin.

Eight Years In, NEXUS Fight Continues

April 22, 2020

For the better part of a decade, Oberlin residents, City officials, and College students have been involved in a battle against NEXUS Gas Transmission, a 256-mile pipeline extension that was ultimately built through Oberlin city limits and continues to be opposed in court. The pipeline, which begins in the eastern part of Ohio and travels through the state before connecting to a transfer point in Michigan, is designed to carry up to 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily. The project represents a ...

Mary Annaïse Heglar.

Q&A: Mary Annaïse Heglar, OC ’06, Climate Writer

April 22, 2020

Mary Annaïse Heglar, OC ’06, is a writer who focuses primarily on personal essays about the intersections of climate and justice. She also serves as director of publications for the National Resources Defense Council, and is currently a writer-in-residence at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, where she is working on both short- and long-form pieces about climate change and its human impacts. Recently, Heglar has published on the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ways that grief over its spread ...

Appalachian Storage Hub Development Sparks Concerns

Dan Kennedy, Features Editor

April 22, 2020

Appalachia has been a hub of fossil fuel extraction for over a century, and the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition has been leading anti-pollution efforts in the region since Dianne Bady founded the organization in 1987. In 2017, months before her death, Bady was sifting through industry magazines and noticed several proposed projects related to plastic production. Slowly, she stitched together a picture of what was to come: a massive petrochemical complex, now known as the Appalachian Storage Hub, spanning Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. This facility would store fracked natural gas fluids in underground caverns and process these petrochemicals into the building blocks of plastic. The coal industry ha...

Water levels across the Great Lakes System are reaching record highs.

As Great Lakes Water Levels Rise, Connection to Climate Change Unclear

April 22, 2020

Water levels in Lake Erie — and the Great Lake system overall — are higher this year than they’ve been in over a century, and for people who live and work next to the water, the impacts can be significant. This past winter alone, a beachside park in Northeast Ohio lost 45 feet of land in just 10 days due to erosion; homeowners around Lake Erie scrambled to build emergency shore protection to shelter their properties from high tides; and strong winds along the water encased lake-side New York hous...

A meme posted on the Sunrise Movement’s official Twitter page. Social media has become
an important venue for environmental activism.

As Climate Movement Grows, Organizers Turn to Social Media

April 22, 2020

Today’s young people largely share two things in common: pervasive use of social media and a collective anxiety about climate change. It’s no surprise, then, that Twitter, TikTok, and other social media platforms have become epicenters of climate-related content. For College second-year Grace Smith, creating memes is a part-time job. Smith is the social media coordinator for Sunrise Movement, a youth-led climate advocacy group with hubs across the country, including a chapter in Oberlin. Smith’s...

High school students rally at last September’s Climate Strike.

From Oberlin High School to Kendal: Climate Activism Across Generations

April 22, 2020

Looking back on his decades of climate activism, Vice President of Communities for Safe and Sustainable Energy John Elder, OC ’53, remembers that his passion for environmental activism grew out of his childhood love of the outdoors. “I was ingrained with an appreciation of our oneness with the environment,” he recalled. The activism of Oberlin High School Sustainability Club President Sacha Brewer has different roots: a recognition of the pressing need for action in the face of the globa...

The Black River Watershed, where the City of Oberlin collects its drinking water.

Water Management in Oberlin: An Overview

April 22, 2020

For decades, environmental activists and agencies in Northeast Ohio have worked to ensure safe drinking water for residents and safeguard surface water against pollution. In the mid-20th century, the picture was bleak: The Black River, a tributary of Lake Erie which runs through Oberlin, was nicknamed the “River of Tumors” because of dead fish littering its coastline. When the Cuyahoga River caught fire in 1969 as a result of industrial waste, Congress took action to pass the Clean Water Act. ...

City Council members deliberate at a February 2018 meeting.

City Council Continues Environmental Emphasis

April 22, 2020

Following months of debate, Oberlin residents voted in 2017 to allocate $2.8 million to realize the goals outlined in the third iteration of the Oberlin Climate Action Plan, originally envisioned in 2011. Broadly, the plan’s current focus is to work toward carbon neutrality and to assist Oberlin residents who are interested in sustainable space heating and transportation opportunities. Efforts toward achieving these goals are currently underway. The most recent plan reaffirms the goal of the ...

Established 1874.