Editor's Introduction

Environmental Issue

The myriad ways in which environmental conservation, stewardship, and sustainability find expression on MU’s campus would probably surprise most people. Global warming, electric cars, renewable energy——these may be controversial matters in our society, but as we watch the slow and uncertain rise of so-new technologies, and follow the political calculations surrounding policy changes shift with the price of oil, on the local level many are taking decisive action. While in some cases this action is spurred by conscientious conviction, as we see more and more movement it becomes clear that people are seeing how considering environmental impact makes fiscal sense in both the short term as well as on the long investment horizon in which a university must think. From changes to how we source food, conduct research, power the campus, undertake construction, and dispose of waste, environmental issues have engaged administration, staff, students, and faculty at all levels. If the University is to become an exemplar and leader in the region around Columbia—not to mention the state of Missouri, or nationally—studies and programs now in their infancy, or debates now taking place, might one day prove the crucial first steps that made it possible.

This issue of Artifacts, which we hope will be but the first of its kind, was opened to writing that explores any aspect of environmental studies, although we especially sought work with an interest on issues that touch our local campus, community, and watershed. We wanted writing that evokes place, investigates the impact of human development as well as efforts at sustainability, or that simply seeks to better understand some aspect of the nonhuman world. Mizzou students earn a letter grade of A from the Center for Sustainable Endowments for their efforts to promote environmental awareness, organize conservation programs, and influence university policy (the University as a whole garners a B-; see www.GreenReportCard.org for more info). We have gathered here a portfolio of writing that considers, critiques, chronicles and celebrates the variety of ways in which our students—often in co-operation with faculty, local businesses and government agencies—work to make our campus culture one that is more engaged, informed, and responsible regarding the use and enjoyment of natural resources.

Coal Protest
Professor Larry Brown from the Department of Geology shares with listeners at speakers circle on Wednesday the importance of clean energy. This presentation was organized by Coal Free Mizzou, an organization that works to create more energy efficient solutions for campus.
Kayla Huett/Maneater Staff Photographer

Coal Free Mizzou is a student organization devoted to moving the campus power plant toward 100% clean energy. In this photo, Professor Larry Brown from the Department of Geology addresses a rally CFMU held on November 13, 2009. An article about Coal Free Mizzou first published by the maneater is located here.