The Oberlin Review

Students and community members gather in Tappan Square for a climate strike on the morning of Sept. 20.

A Dispatch From Oberlin’s Climate Strike

April 22, 2020

Editor’s note: On Sept. 20, 2019, the Global Climate Strike took place in thousands of communities around the world, as millions of people rallied to support the urgency of climate change solutions. In Oberlin, more than 600 students and community members gathered at the grandstand in Tappan Square to join the global movement. The following was the rally’s opening address, which has been edited for length and clarity. Good morning, everyone. My name is Faith Ward, and I want to welcome you ...

Earlier this month, the demolition of the Crawford coal plant’s smokestack sent dust billowing into the Chicago community of
Little Village in the midst of a global pandemic.

COVID-19, Climate Justice Fundamentally Linked

April 22, 2020

When this Editorial Board first met to discuss possible directions for our work in this issue, the possibilities seemed limitless. After all, environmental themes like resource overuse, air and water pollution, and environmental policy and racism all intersect with the Oberlin community in countless ways as climate change continues to impact life around the world, including in Northeast Ohio. Now, as we complete this magazine while sheltered in place, our futures have changed in ways we had not...

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...

Special Issue: Letter From the Editors

Nathan Carpenter and Ananya Gupta

April 22, 2020

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 ...

College third-year James Dryden and College second-year Sophie Falvey performing in The Size of a Fist.

Dystopian Play “The Size of a Fist” Explores the End of the World

November 22, 2019

In the dark of Kander Theater, Bee, an adolescent girl, sits on the floor, trying to draw a tree. Behind her, a ladder in the back of the room stretches from floor to ceiling, making the audience feel as if they too are underground. Bee’s father peers at his daughter’s drawing, perplexed and disappointed by its inaccuracies. Bee explains she’s never seen real trees to reference. Deep in a small ’50s bunker, designed to weather nuclear fallout, the two characters in The Size of a Fist li...

In Council Race, Voters Should Consider Climate Policies

John D. Elder, OC ’53, Vice President, Communities for Safe and Sustainable Energy

November 1, 2019

 Of the dozen fine Oberlinians running for City Council, I urge you to vote for those who have been clear about their support for preserving the entire $2.8 million Renewable Energy Credits money for its intended purpose — the Sustainable Reserve Fund — where it can now be used to fulfill the goals of the City’s Climate Action Plan and provide significant long-term benefit to our low and moderate-income residents. I am very glad that all 12 candidates have positive views about the use of the REC dollars, as reported in the questionnaire responses on the Communities for Safe and Sustainable Energy Facebook page (@oberlinCSSE). However, I want to highlight the six who voted or said they would have voted to put all t...

Arctic Melt and Sea Level Rise: Wake-Up Call for Gen Z

Arctic Melt and Sea Level Rise: Wake-Up Call for Gen Z

October 11, 2019

 Scientists around the world are finally coming to the realization that the Jonas Brothers were right in 2006 when they sang, “I’ve been to the year 3000. Not much has changed but they lived underwater.”  The consensus among several reputable international institutions — the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, and the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — is that sea-levels are rising at an alarming rate, and may eventually result in the partial s...

Nuclear Power Requires Critical Analysis

Shogo Ishikawa, Contributing Writer

October 4, 2019

The dangerous narratives employed in the article “Ishikawa Employs Dangerous Nuclear Narratives, ” written by Production Editor Christo Hays, surprised me (Sept. 27, 2019). Hays claimed that most of nuclear power’s existing problems, such as issues of waste disposal and fuel rod cooling systems, can be improved and fixed through technological development. Hays stated that the Fukushima nuclear meltdown of 2011 was “the result of fuel rods overheating and reacting with water-based coolant to create explosive hydrogen,” and continued, “New fuels and coolants eradicate this possibility.”  First, it is difficult or even impossible to specify the cause of a nuclear meltdown. Hays has forgotten the simple fact that nuclear me...

Ishikawa Employs Dangerous Nuclear Narratives

Christo Hays, Production Editor

September 27, 2019

 For those who don’t keep up with the weekly jabs published in the Review’s Opinions section, here’s the short of the nuclear energy debate that has graced the past two editions: College third-year Leo Lasdun wrote a pro-nuclear energy article in which he cited a NASA study claiming that nuclear energy saved 1.8 million lives between 1971 and 2009; this was in support of his broader claim that “the future is nuclear” (“Nuclear Represents Best Option,” Sept. 13, 2019). The following week, College second-year Shogo Ishikawa penned a broadside in response, casting doubt on NASA’s analysis and aspersions on Lasdun (“Lasdun Overlooks Downsides of Nuclear,” Sept. 20, 2019). Not only are Ishikawa’s claims u...

Climate Activism Must Be Universal, Inclusive

Theo Canter, Contributing Writer

September 27, 2019

 Last Friday’s Climate Strike left me and many others who participated in it with a sense of rising optimism and hope. With participants numbering in the millions worldwide, it was one of the largest social protests in recent years.  Soon after students walked out of class Friday morning and gathered around the Tappan Square bandstand, a wide variety of powerful speakers — ranging from high school students, to college students, to adult community members — made their voices heard.  Having been to many political gatherings and protests, especially in the past few years, I felt that this one in particular was different. This was not like Matthew McConaughey’s 2003 Saturday Night Live sketch, “Protest...

EICD Act An Essential First Step In Climate Fight

Ray English, Director of Libraries Emeritus

September 20, 2019

 Many thanks to the Review for Alexa Stevens’ fine article and your good editorial about the Global Climate Strike (“Sunrise Strikes for Brighter Future” and “Oberlin Climate Strike Engages International Emergency,”, Sept. 13, 2019 ). Your editorial is absolutely right in stating that climate change is “a quickly-approaching emergency” and that “this is a fight of and for our lives.” It’s very heartening to see a worldwide movement of young people raising awareness of this issue and it’s exciting to see such engagement here in Oberlin. I’m looking forward to seeing what I hope will be massive global participation in the strike, accompanied by widespread media coverage.  I encourage everyone ...

Lasdun Overlooks Downsides of Nuclear

Shogo Ishikawa, Contributing Writer

September 20, 2019

 Many people have read the article “Nuclear Represents Best Option” by Leo Lasdun, which was published in the Review last Friday. This piece is a direct response to that article and an attempt to encourage further discussion regarding nuclear energy and U.S. energy policy in the future. Lasdun uses four main points to support his argument that nuclear energy is the most realistic option for energy production in the United States: nuclear power is emissions-free, which is pertinent given the rise of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere; is economically feasible due to the fixed cost of existing nuclear power plants; has high energy production efficiency compared to other energy sources, such as solar, wi...

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