Soka Sustainable Student: MacKenzie Kermoade

MacKenzie Kermoade, Class of 2019

1. Why should people care about the environment?

Planet Earth, this tiny blue gaseous marble in the sky, is the only place humanity has in an otherwise inhospitable universe. This is it! Despite what Elon Musk may say, we can't just haul off to Mars when the going gets tough down here-- we need to protect what we have.

2. What aspect of the environment are you most passionate about? (i.e. deforestation, pollution, waste reduction, etc.) 

I have a background in marine biology, and I grew up in Western Washington, where Canada and the US co-manage a body of salt water called the Salish Sea. Because of this, I'm really interested in transboundary marine management! I'm hoping to pursue Arctic Studies because with sea ice retreating, it's becoming an area of vast geopolitical intrigue for many global players.

3. Are environmental issues inherently political?

Yes! In my Environmental Policy class, we see how every environmental issue is a battle between those who want reform and those who don't. Cultural shifts are important, of course, but the reality is that large-scale change is founded first in a political setting.

4. What's one thing we can do every day to help the environment?

In your Soka life, take the stairs if you are able, use the outdoor drying racks on the balconies, be mindful of electronics use in your room, compost correctly, and don't be afraid to pick the fruit off the trees! It's edible! Just wash it off first.

5. What's one thing you've done for the environment that you're proud of? 

I volunteer up at the Newport Bay Conservancy, where I interpret the natural history of Orange County to the public. I'm grateful for this position because it's connected with the ecology and people of our local community. When I'm out on the trail as a Naturalist, I get to wear a fun vest and hat like a park ranger. My first day volunteering after study abroad, I received my 100 Hours of Service pin to attach to my uniform! It's right next to my little roadrunner pin on my left pocket, and I'm so excited about it!