PCC, Sustain Me! Podcast & The Bridge
Over the summer of 2018 at Portland Community College, a podcast was in its development stage. Spawned by a desire to provide a different platform for storytelling and driven by a passion for sustainability and social justice, PCC, Sustain Me! A Higher Education Sustainability and Environmental Justice Podcast was born. Now, 15 episodes later and with this Fall term nearly in the books, the podcast and its young story has traveled around the country, and as of this writing, across the globe as well.
I found myself last academic year in a unique position as a student leader in the position of Environmental Justice Coordinator and the additional role of Director of Student Resources at the Cascade Campus. With these roles, combined with a growing awareness that social justice was deeply connected to sustainability, I quickly halted my trajectory towards renewable energy engineering and redirected myself towards communications with a focus on these subjects I had become so involved with. I was fortunate enough to go to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) 2017 Conference & Expo in San Antonio. That is where I realized it was communications that was my outlet for sharing the importance and connections between sustainability and social/environmental justice. I started applying to speak at conferences and by the end of the year had presented or co-presented at 6 different conferences and was chosen to attend the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) 2018 in New Orleans near the end of the Spring term. That spring I was also hired part time as the Sustainability Communications Coordinator at the district level for PCC.
Since episode 1 officially launched I’ve also been honored to present at two national conferences on promoting podcasting as an additional educational platform for getting the message out about the importance of sustainability and social justice. At the time of this article’s publication, I’ll be in the Philippines for the 11th Annual Global RCE Conference: Education for the Sustainable Development Goals. The presentation I’ve given at these conferences is cheekily called: How to Podcast Your Way to a More Environmentally Sustainable & Socially Just Future. The Global RCE Conference is connected to the work I’ve helped out with and is connected to GPSEN (The Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network) which is one of the 166 Regional Centres of Expertise recognized by the United Nations University.
PCC, Sustain Me! attempts on a weekly basis to help build a narrative of the sustainability, racial equity, and social justice work that Portland Community College students, faculty, and staff engage in. Having a weekly article and an additional outlet on The Bridge website seemed like a logical and natural evolution of the program. The podcast has also provided a means to explore and to interview folks in the greater community and across the nation who are doing awesome work in the fields of sustainability and social justice. What has also come about with this program, in accordance with the desire for more equitable reality, is an outlet for many voices to be heard. The majority of guests have been women, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and people of color. The most challenging and humbling aspect of all this has been realizing more and more the truth of our current climate. We, in America, operate under a dominant culture driven by white supremacy, the patriarchy, settler colonialism, and capitalism.
This latest episode is with Kelsey Juliana, one of the 21 youth plaintiffs in the Juliana v. US case, which is considered the climate trial of the century. It was set to begin October 29th though it has been delayed. Kelsey is by no means giving up; she and countless other youth activists around the country are continuing to take action for the sake of the planet they are inheriting. Thanks for tuning in, folks. If you have a cool story to share or would like to connect, by all means, please do so!