One student very nearly died of covid after several weeks in the ICU. Others were forced to evacuate their homes due to the NorCal wildfires. Two were hospitalized for anxiety disorders. Two were teargassed at #blm protests. Another dozen students dropped when we pivoted to online instruction.

And yes, this has everything to do with Climate Change. Connect. The. Dots?

Although I teach at one of the nation’s top-rated community colleges, the life-threatening collapse of my Spring 2020 College Writing class left my head-spinning. And my eyes burning. And my lungs congested.

Don’t get me wrong: Mercifully no one died…

Kamala Harris in the Manual High School Gym “Thunderdome” Aug 2, 2019. Denver Post photo.

Exactly one year ago you could hear the Arc of History bending thunderously as Democratic Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris leapt onto the stage inside Denver’s Manual High School gymnasium — known locally as the Thunderdome. As only the second Black woman ever to run for President, you could feel and hear the crackle and boom of an electrifying electoral future unfolding. Still can, as Harris now becomes the first woman of color ever to be nominated as Vice President by a major political party.

Located in the heart of Denver’s historically Black Five-Points neighborhood, Manual High School has been ground-zero…

A century before Shakira or Beyoncé or Cardi B , there was Josephine Baker.

“I have walked into the palaces of kings and queens and into the houses of presidents. And much more,” Josephine Baker declared as the only Black female officially invited to speak at the legendary 1963 March on Washington. “But I could not walk into a hotel in America and get a cup of coffee, and that made me mad,” Baker said. “And when I get mad, you know that I open my big mouth. And then look out, ’cause when Josephine opens her mouth, they hear it all over the world….”

And they did. We still do.

Even today Josephine…

Paris Photos provided by joSon, a prominent contemporary African American / AmerAsian photographer. Winner of the 2018 Prix de la Photographie in the category “Nature” (copyright by josonstudio.com )

In 2005 I taught a Campus Abroad in Paris for fifty students from California’s Silicon Valley. Ever since then, I’ve dreamed of turning those informal lectures into articles and books about how Americans in Paris Changed the World.

15 years, a dozen Paris research trips, and 1000 draft pages later, I’ve finally made a sudden, shocking, and utterly fantastic discovery: Based on audience applause, turns out those tired old gossip-laden tales about traditional white American icons such as Ben Franklin, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald are no longer really turning heads in print.

Instead the Paris stories Medium readers…

Thirty years ago in 1990, my Stanford dissertation described the implicit racism embodied in John Muir’s writing in endless painful academic detail. Complete with footnotes. It was not a welcome message, then or now.

So in July 2020 when national news outlets finally began publishing first-hand accounts of fierce confrontations between the Sierra Club and its own employees of color — complete with strident calls for the Sierra Club to sever ties with the racist legacy of its legendary founder John Muir — my first reaction was “Oh heck yeah. It’s about time.”

Die-In Corpses Litter the Foothill College Campus

To support the Global Climate Strike Sept 20–27, our colleges’ Opening Day faculty/staff activities kicked off with a surpise Die-In — in solidarity with the Global Poor, the Global South, women and People of Color who bear the brunt of the climate crisis.

With over 500 professional educators looking on, corpses comprised of FHDA students and employees (plus local community members) collapsed onto the cold concrete in front of Smithwick Theater at Foothill College in Silicon Valley— challenging us all to include Climate Science and Climate Policy in every corner of the college curriculum (from STEM to the Humanities).

Photo by Eric Dalrymple on Unsplash

For a decade, the Foothill College Hypocenter for a Sustainable Future has remained “A Center without a Center” — both by necessity and by choice.

Here’s three reasons why:

Reason #1: We Have No Funding or Facilities

Operating as an ad hoc, volunteer educational hyper-organization with zero funding or direct institutional support (so far), our hypocenter has still successfully produced world-class Un-Conferences and Teach-Ins for a decade.

Reason #2: The Scientific Definition of “Hypocenter” Fits Our Mission Perfectly

HypoCenter History Highlights:

2010:

Launch Party featuring Stanford d-school Director David Kelly.

2011:

One Book/One Community, a campus-wide reading collaboration, tackles the Water Issue.

2012:

Stanford Design School Tour and Talk: students, faculty, and staff tour the Stanford Design School as personal guests of Director David Kelly.

2013:

Earth Justice Day — a all-day all-campus extravaganza, draws huge campus crowds.

2014:

Emerald Campus Lecture Series launched.

2015:

Bay Area Social Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition begins

2016:

Honors Insitute OwlTalks Series on Climate Change Reponses launches

2017:

Climate Refugees Teach In

2018:

Solutions: An Eco-Unconference

2019:

FHDA Opening Day Die-In — in conjunction with the Global Student Climate Strike

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Mission Statement

As a dynamic ad-hoc group of environmental activists and educators, our shared vision is to catalyze inspirational intersectional interdisciplinary curriculum and events, and to catalyze campus creativity, and conversations concerning sustainability on the Foothill College campus — and beyond.

Foothill College Campus Allies

The following Foothill Faculty and Staff continue to volunteer their time, wisdom, energy, inspiration, and expertise as Hypocenter advisors, mentors, and allies: Professor Robert Cormia (Chemistry), Julie Ceballos (FH Marketing and Public Relations Office), Professor Brian Lewis (English), Professor Brian Evans (Economics), Professor Gillian Schultz (Biology), Professor Sarah Parihk (Engineering), Professor John Fox (Sociology), Professor Patricia Gibbs Stayte (Sociology), Professor Sam…

Hurricane Dorian’s eye is clearly visible from space in this view from NOAA’s GOES-East satellite taken on Aug. 31, 2019. (Image credit: CIRA / NOAA)

As I write, a brand new USA Today headline screams “Could Hurricane Dorian Become Category 6?” Regardless of the official answer, category-busting, off-the-scale superstorms have become the new normal. Exactly as USA Today explains it, “No, there is no higher measure, although Dorian has already become the strongest hurricane in modern records for the Northern Bahamas packing winds of 180 mph. It is in contention for becoming one of the strongest storms of all time.” Welcome to the era of Catastrophic Climate Chaos. Welcome to the Anthropocene.

As a college professor who teaches climate-change-across-the-curriculum courses to Generation Anthropocene students in…

Dr. Scott Lankford

Stanford GEN Global Educators Network Director of Communication. Foothill College English Prof. “Tahoe beneath the Surface” won Nature Book of the Year 2010!

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