One new addition to Wellesley’s many clubs and organizations this year is EnAct, short for Environmental Action, a student organization for environmental activism. As its name suggests, EnAct’s mission is to educate the community about environmental issues and initiate opportunities for students to make positive change to the environment. The founder and president of the organization is Nathalie Bolduc ’19, a political science and environmental studies double major interested in environmental policy.
“In the face of global climate change, we must redouble our efforts to work for a more sustainable future. There are many things I do in my personal life to lessen my impact on the planet, but ultimately we are stronger together. The more people involved, the greater our chance of success and therefore we can EnAct more positive change in the world,” Bolduc said.
EnAct is not the first environmental activism club on Wellesley Campus — several organizations focusing on this field have been active, including Wellesley Energy and Environmental Defense (WEED) and Regeneration. However, what sets EnAct apart is that the club seeks to develop and promote an interdisciplinary and multicultural perspective on environmental problems.
“This year our main focuses are food waste, divestment, and—in the spring semester—lectures,” Bolduc said, offering a more detailed description of the vision of EnAct. “In terms of food waste, we hope to work from both a pre- and post-consumer perspective to protect the environment from the harmful effects of agriculture and reduce the economic costs associated with surplus food.”
EnAct is also advocating a more forceful position of fossil fuel divestment and investment in climate solutions. It involves the removal of investment assets including stocks, bonds and investment funds from companies involved in extracting fossil fuels in an attempt to reduce climate change by tackling its ultimate causes.
“Our initiatives for divestment will depend upon whether the student body is interested in asking for this symbolic change; thus a lot of our work in this respect will be educating and empowering students to demand that the administration and trustees protect our futures through sustainable choices,” Bolduc said. “In the spring, we hope to bring a series of lecture from diverse speakers to campus to generate student attention on the urgent problem that is climate change.”
Besides these efforts, EnAct plans to collaborate with other on-campus clubs and projects having similar goals. The organization has also been ambitious in its scale of influence by not limiting its activities to the Wellesley community and reaching out to environmental organizations in the Boston area to co-host volunteer events.
EnAct was founded during a very sensitive time when the entire Wellesley College community had been shaken by the election results and its related incidents. Bolduc shared her opinion regarding the influence of such social-political vicissitude on environmental issues as well as on environmental activism organizations like EnAct.
Emily Prechtl ’20, the First Year Representative of EnAct, expressed concerns about the impact of these political policies on the earth’s climate.
“Myron Ebell, who will likely run the EPA under Drumpf’s administration, is a public climate change denier. We need to start forming tight, dedicated environmental groups all around the country right now, so we’re ready to fight during Drumpf’s first 100 days in office. I hope that my Wellesley sibs, especially other first-year sibs, will take the initiative to act on their beliefs that our planet needs protecting, especially in times like this,” Prechtl said.
Both Prechtl and Bolduc expressed strong beliefs that the government can no longer be counted on to protect the ecosystem or to satisfactorily resolve environmental problems like climate change; meanwhile, environmental damage that might occur during the next four years is impossible to repair quickly and thus will be felt for decades to come.
Bolduc stated that the election was a wake-up call for many, but feels that the response to the election can be harnessed positively. “The results of the election have generated many strong emotions. EnAct wants to turn these emotions into positive actions because a way that we can counter hatred and negativity is by continuing to strive to make the world a better place,” she claimed.
Among the first actions of EnAct is a volunteer opportunity it co-operates with Food Not Bombs organization, which will be hosted on Dec. 10. On a more regular basis, the club also holds weekly meetings every Wednesday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., which will be open to the whole student body for the rest of this semester.