KISU's Sustainable Idaho welcomes new hosts
Sustainable Idaho is back this week with new co-hosts, Ailie Maclean and Eizaak Jordan. Ailie and Eizaak discuss what sustainability means to them, why they care about this topic, and what the future of the series looks like. The series will continue to run every Tuesday morning during the semester at 7:35am.
Welcome to Sustainable Idaho, where the hosts discuss the economic, environmental, and societal elements of sustainability within Idaho. Ailie and Eizaak are the new hosts of Sustainable Idaho, taking the reins from Rachel and Scott, who looked at a variety of topics, including the Portneuf river vision project, a series on Idaho’s salmon, and most recently, FMC’s Hazardous Waste Storage site. The show will continue to air at 7:35 am, Tuesday mornings and provide engaging and explorative topics.
Ailie and Eizaak wanted to give a brief overview of who they are for all of the Sustainable Idaho listeners. Eizaak spent a sizable portion of his childhood out in the Idaho wilderness, which facilitated the development of his appreciation and deep love for the natural world. He would often spend his free time going out to catch frogs and fly fish.
For AIlie, who was born and raised in Alaska, she experienced some of the few natural spaces in the world that remain untouched by human intervention. Her dad is a fisheries biologist and her mom a geologist, so her family enjoyed getting outside often, primarily to fish and hike. This kind of upbringing has definitely influenced her intellectual goals and long-term career interests. In high school, Ailie participated in speech and debate and had a tendency to focus her speeches on climate change and environmental issues. Same with class projects and essays. And now at ISU, Ailie is majoring in political science in hopes of one-day practicing environmental law. Eizaak is currently a political science major and the president of the Sustainability Club here at Idaho State University, and he strives to preserve and protect the natural world. He is currently conducting research on environmental groups within Idaho.
So, both Ailie and Eizaak’s backgrounds have definitely played a role in their academic interests and goals, but they’ve also been engaged in extracurricular activities on campus. Ailie recently won the Vice Presidency position in ASISU with the Amplify Party. One of ASISU’s biggest goals is to start an on-campus garden, which would provide fresh produce for students through Benny’s Pantry.
Meanwhile, Eizaak has strived to schedule various events since becoming president of the Sustainability Club. Like, Explorative Education Days and Community Restoration Day. These activities have served to show where sustainability is succeeding in our community and where it is lacking. However, in order to do this work, the hosts must have a strong personal definition of sustainability.
Sustainability, to Ailie, means living in relative harmony with the natural environment, but she also thinks that the core of sustainability is to make sure we don’t deplete resources or alter the natural world drastically. Some people may feel passionate about sustainability because they want future generations to enjoy natural spaces like we’ve been able to, while others want to leave as little an impact on Earth as possible simply out of respect for the natural world. That said, there are a number of factors and aspects that play into how we use resources and treat our environment – making the hosts consider how they can break down these different aspects.
Going off of Ailie, Eizaak thinks we should consider the environmental, economic, and social components, like they mentioned in their intro. The environment will have to do with the stability of our ecosystems and the various organisms that live in them. In this realm, there will be a focus on species and habitat loss. There is regularly a focus on the environmental side of sustainability, but the economic and social impacts are incredibly instrumental in making or breaking sustainable policies. An excellent sustainable approach would account for continued economic prosperity and moving towards a just community.
Ailie believes that policiesthat strive to protect our natural spaces need to account for how communities will be impacted. For instance, many Idaho communities have faced long-term job losses in both forestry and mining. While ending mining in an area protects the local ecosystems, those lost jobs hurt Idaho families. A good sustainable policy will allow those who are facing job losses to get resources, like training for example, to move into a new green sector. Eizaak agrees that we have to account for how working families are impacted. This brings up the idea of the larger impacts on society. The transition to sustainable practices should account for how various goods and burdens are distributed throughout our communities.
As political science majors, Ailie and Eizaak can appreciate the interconnectedness of politics, and the various components of sustainability. The first foundational understanding is that people and the natural world are connected and dependent on each other. Everything in our lives is built from raw resources, but many resources are finite. Whether it’s our freshwater, energy, or forests, science shows us that there are limits to how much we can take. Therefore, long-term effects on the economy, society, and environment must be taken into consideration when we utilize the natural world. However, Political Science isn’t the only mechanism guiding how to use our resources. It is crucial to consider societal impacts and what the people want, which is recognized more or less through our representatives. So, we have to recognize the relationship between people and the environment in addition to lawmakers and science.
Despite their political science backgrounds, Ailie and Eizaak are committed to remaining nonpartisan and represent Idaho's diverse perspectives. Considering the factors of sustainability and how politics play a critical role, Ailie and Eizaak wanted to focus on one of the few things all Idahoans share: accessible, diverse, and beautiful public lands. Idaho’s public lands are places we go to recreate and relax, supporting Idaho’s rural economy. And that’s why, as the new hosts, they will make public lands one of the themes for their episodes.
In Idaho, over 60% of land is federally controlled public lands. These lands are diverse, stretching from Idaho’s panhandle down to the Snake River plains and range in use. And those details don’t even include the biodiversity supported by Idaho lands! For example, wolves are a popular species that garner debate. In the next episode, Ailie and Eizaak will explore how different perspectives have made wolves in Idaho a hot button issue. Their first wolf episode will explore the functions that wolves serve in Idaho’s ecosystems. Before they dive into the diverse political, social and cultural elements of wolves they need a firm foundation of the science of wolves. We hope all of our listeners will tune in next week to hear from some wolf experts. Thanks for tuning in and we hope everyone has a brilliant start to June!