A Quest to Save our Winters

Lily Kutz

By Lily Kutz ‘22

Upon receiving the email notification of a new academic initiative of the Climate Science and Sustainability Concentration at Wyoming Seminary, I can easily say I felt great excitement. This program represents something I have been longing for.

Issues of climate change and sustainability of our planet have had the ability to reach the general public through various resources. The most common avenue of exposure I have had to these issues would be, as many can relate, social media. This should not be a surprise, as social media has become the avenue for updates on just about everything, and it has made access to information like this incredibly convenient over the past several years. In addition, the issue of sustainability has grown in popularity as well. 

Watching and reading the news stories and statistics regarding these issues, though, has always brought along a sense of anxiety and guilt for me. I feel this urge to bring change, for the issues shake me inside, but trying to figure out what to do remains overwhelming. 

The earth is huge, and the issues are vast. Yet, this initiative offered me an avenue to guide my feelings and ideas. What I love about this concentration, beyond everything that it stands for, is the ability to work in an area I feel passionate about. This represents the best way to capitalize on creating a positive impact. The opportunity for students to work on issues in climate science and sustainability in areas they care strongly about generates the most spirit, and therefore the greatest change. 

Personally, I have always felt a connection with winter, and the mountains are where I feel most myself. I am an alpine ski racer, which means I basically live in the snow all season. From my time on Earth, though, winter has changed a lot. Even from my early elementary school years, I can mostly recall snow-filled winters in Pennsylvania. As I have gotten older, a white Christmas became a dream, not always a reality. 

Along with everything winter, another area that I have a passion for is health and wellness. Ironically, through suffering an injury in alpine ski racing, my love for these fields grew even more. Through surgeries and many visits to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, my injury exposed me to my interest in the profession of medicine. The energy of everyone around you, working for the health of every single child there, was breathtaking, to say the least. I knew, if that is how it made me feel, then I definitely belong in this field.

Keeping our environment healthy is just as important as keeping humans healthy, and they have a ripple effect on each other. It is important to understand how these go hand in hand. A prime example would be the current health concerns seen in the San Joaquin Valley, California. Rising temperatures along with pollution cause the valley to have some of the country’s worst air quality. The livelihoods of the farm workers who live in the valley depend on their productivity in the fields, but the increasing air pollution and heat have had drastic and serious effects on their health. Medical conditions, especially those related to respiratory issues, have put the San Joaquin Valley’s coronavirus infection rates among the highest in California.

Participating in Sem’s Climate Science and Sustainability Concentration and learning about strategies to help keep the environment and humanity healthy is a neat way to connect my love for winter and snow to my passion for health, science, and medicine.

As I have mentioned, if you are passionate about something, the results of your work will show it. Allowing Sem students the freedom to pursue and personalize their process in the Climate Science and Sustainability Concentration will bring creative and exhilarating work. For me, I am beyond excited to work in the area of saving our winters, as I love snow and ski racing. These interests of mine have in turn allowed me to develop another passion for health and medicine. These two ideas of climate change and health seem so different, but in the realm of working to protect our planet, they can definitely go hand in hand. 

If this work is close to your heart and you would like to be involved through your business or personally, please fill out this form or contact Nicole Lewis (nlewis@wyomingseminary.org) or Rachel Bartron (rbartron@wyomingseminary.org) directly.