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Spring Focus on Sustainability and the Environment : Letter from our Guest Editor
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STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00091523/00613
 Material Information
Title: Spring Focus on Sustainability and the Environment : Letter from our Guest Editor
Series Title: Journal of Undergraduate Research
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Prizzia, Anna
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: Spring 2012
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Genre: serial   ( sobekcm )
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Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: sobekcm - UF00091523_00602
System ID: UF00091523:00613

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I am inspired to find that this group of young researchers had obviously recognized the import of connecting their research to the broader context of our connection to the world and the opportunities we have to approach our challenges. Letter from our Guest Editor D rinking my tea on my porch one morning I suddenly found myself d own o n my belly, shirt damp with dew, nose to nose with Apis mellifera otherwise known as the common honey be e myself I sat there marveling at its complexity and effort as it packed its little legs full of pollen. Then a passage by William Vitek I had read recently came to mind In a culture best identified by its uncom promising commitment to individual rights, enlightened self interest, and the icon of the self made person, any discussion of a life lived in place and in common with others will seem quaint, romantic, idealistic, and thoroughly backward looking. But we fo rget, or never knew, that there is an alternative view of human nature that sees membership in a community as the central feature of a successful and prosperous life. Of course, there is the obvious metaphor of t he hive : the dependence of bees on their community an d the roles that each bee pla ys and that without each other they die. But, more to the heart of the matter, there is the fact that this tiny creature, bouncing from flower to flower in my yard is a part of my community It is so intricately entwined with me and all of humankind that without it, we too might die. In all our rush to be become stronger, richer, and faster, we forgot about the bees. We decided it was trite to think about our connections to the world around us and our interdependence on nature. We separated ourselves from our community, and what can really make us a successful and thriving species. With these thoughts still swirling in my mind, I sat down to read the JUR submissions for the spring foc us on su stainability. I am inspired to find that this group of young researchers had obviously recognized the import of connecting their research to the broader context of our connection to the world and the opportunities we have to approach our challenge s. I am also encouraged to see that our students understand that sustainability is not just about the environment, but about a fundamental shift in the way we approach everything from finance and incentives for development to assessing the value of c onservation land. Studies ranging from a political analysis of water conflict to research on leaf response to nutrient cycling and warming in the arctic show the breadth and depth to which these y oung minds have linked scient ific inquiry with the call to contribute positively to the enhancement of our community environmental, social, cultural, historical, and economic Perhaps what stands out the most in the writing is recognition that complex systems make for complex issues and that there is not an easy answer. It is evident that these scholars understand that in helping people to re connect to, care for and humbly look for solutions within these complex systems we will find the capacity to repair the larger environmental crises. When we recognize that community is as an essential element of who we are and that our natural world is a part of our community we can reinvent citizenship and d iscover the tools and strategies that will change the world. Anna Prizzia Director, UF Office of Sustainability