Environment & the World

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Intro for a new blogger

Filed under: Uncategorized — kwolfgan @ 1:52 pm

Helllllo, blogosphere! Karen Wolfgang reporting for duty. I have to admit that I harbor a bit of resentment toward blogging: I was told several years ago that I should avoid this activity at all costs, because I would probably put too much time into it, and while I would end up with reams and reams of e-paper to my credit, the impact might not be worth the hassle. For that reason among others (including sloth and writer’s block) I have avoided posting here since I was invited to do so some number of months past. But now, against some odds, here I am.

Despite the aforementioned “issues,” I am eager to share my experiences with a host of anonymous readers (and hopefully some not-so-anonymous ones). I’ll start, then, with an introduction: my name is Karen. I live in Portland, Oregon, where my mom and dad raised me and my younger brother, Kurt, who is 21 and a junior at the University of Utah. I graduated from Princeton University in June with a degree in anthropology, and shortly after moving home to PDX joined the Leadership in Ecology, Culture, and Learning (LECL) program at Portland State University (http://www.piiecl.pdx.edu/); if all goes well, I will receive a Masters degree in sustainability education in about two years. I have a graduate assistant-ship administering a Metro (regional government agency) Nature in Neighborhoods watershed restoration grant at a local elementary school, and I work/volunteer at least one day a week at the Learning Gardens Laboratory, my program’s signature project, letting middle-schoolers teach me. I live with my partner, Isabel, in the basement apartment of her grandmother’s house. Although I bike and ride the bus to most of the places I need to go, I stubbornly hang on to my ailing 1989 Isuzu Trooper; she’s in the shop right now. I will be writing these entries on my new Dell laptop, whose name is Bubba (don’t ask).

Now that you know a little bit about me, you should know something about what I intend to post here. So… I love to read. I love it love it love it. I have too many books, and I like it that way. It makes me happy to think that I can pull a book off the shelf and address any question I might have. I don’t expect answers, mind you—just different perspectives on what I personally have seen and done and felt. School, which I was highly anxious to leave in the dust after graduation (something that turned out to be harder to do than I thought it would), frequently manages to inspire me to buy more books, and occasionally read them. So, I suspect that most of what I write here will be philosophical-theoretical (and hopefully practical, based on my experiences in the actual world), rather than newsy; I might even take a turn toward the spiritual if I get the urge.

In any case, I want to make sure that my entries are not perceived to be too far off the mark: this blog is called Environment and the World, not Life of Karen. But if there’s anything I learned at Princeton (you’ll see that phrase again!), I learned that a person’s background informs the way (s)he sees the world. I don’t want to give readers a single chance to think that I see the world objectively. No one does. And I do not want you to believe I am writing about the environment as some thing out there that desperately needs monitoring or saving. Each of us has an environment, and we are in relationship to it and each other. Each of us—including the non-human peoples of the world—deserves a healthy environment, and (do not forget this!) plays a crucial part in bringing it into being. I will be sharing here my encounters with my environment, for what it’s worth. Thank you for reading. Here ends the first Environment and the World (as seen through the eyes of Karen) blog entry.



  1. Hi Karen! What a wonderful introduction! I was so glad to read your post and the issues you raised in it. One of the reasons I wanted you so badly to be a part of this project is because I don’t really know anyone who can discuss context and culture, and reflect upon things, as bluntly and articulately as you do. I have a tendency to get a little too wrapped up in newsy stuff, but at the same time I didn’t want this blog to just default into regurgitating stories from news feeds. So by all means, tell us about the books you’ve read; get theoretical, philosophical, spiritual and remind us that the environment—our relationship to it and our embeddedness in it—is constituted by more than just the decisions and actions taken in capitol hills, corporate board rooms, and environmental non profits.

    Comment by Amir — Saturday, October 21, 2006 @ 12:46 am

  2. Karen,
    Does my background tell a tale in my perception of the world? Thanks to you I see the world more objectively than I ever have. You are wrong as I once was, we cohabitate with the environment and we still get teary eyed when we see the destruction of industrialization. I was saddened sitting on that beach in Galveston Bay and the murk waters were so visibly shot. I reminisced two hundred years afore when those waters were fruitful and sea lungs sounded clearer. A wise young lady once told me that I should live in my environment though I might not make a difference for all, I might adopt a difference for myself. I was blinded by my then background and could not see the beauty of her wisdom far greater than her years. Something else I learned from that environmental thinker was the idea that if all industry stopped, the world might salvage itself. On a larger scale, this may be occurring and we may be caught in the decomposition phase of a salvaging existence. Though we have an existing environment with ourselves and our surroundings, we also have a spiritual environment that at times hurts because our perception of the world is an ever changing work of thoughts and emotions a Molotov of energy. Here is a toast to the environmental prophet who shared her insights laughter and love and forever changed my perception from a fruitless decaying world leach, to a participant’s one where one stone at a time is a fundamental contribution in the larger scheme of my own expression. We are in a transition period and I still believe in miracles happening tomorrow the cross roads if you will. We existed and it was not a dream dam it. Those that existed before the revolution who roamed the forest and gazed at the stars were also romantics for the environment. One of the most flavorful dishes I had the pleasure of consuming were harvested from the environment by the environmental chef dark beans and rice hmm hum good! So many thoughts, though they may fall on deaf ears they are thoughts of a memoir and sunny days that live forever in my heart. I hope you can filter through these random thoughts and understand that my environment was forever changed.

    Comment by ME — Tuesday, December 19, 2006 @ 5:17 pm

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