On Environment

Volume 1 Issue 3

Letter from the Editors

September 29th, 2017

We would like to take this opportunity to welcome all of our readers, both returning and new, to Process: A Journal of Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Scholarship (formerly e.g.). As you can see, we have had a busy summer revamping our journal and publishing platform. We believe this new website will make it easier for readers to explore previous issues, find calls for papers, and navigate the submission process for upcoming issues. The website is designed to present each issue’s theme in a way that emphasizes the conversation among the featured pieces, and we are very excited to present our special issue on the environment as the first issue published on this new platform.

In selecting such a broad topic as the environment we hoped to encourage a variety of perspectives on the precarity of our current moment. As with previous issues, we were not disappointed. We received submissions in a variety of genres and from a range of disciplinary contexts, including literary studies, environmental science, and poetry. We have selected three pieces for publication that complement one another in illuminating ways: though they each take a distinct disciplinary approach, they collectively convey the exigency of thinking critically about humans’ relationship to the environment, including anthropogenic impacts on both a local and global scale.

In the first essay, “Framework for Urban Agriculture,” co-authors Kyrsteen Webster, Aleczander Lane, and Ryan Martin explore the complexities and benefits of instituting small-scale urban agriculture in cities around the world.  They make a thoroughly researched and compelling case for urban agriculture as a sustainable, ethical, and environmentally responsible solution to the harmful consequences of the large-scale farming practices and policies that currently drive global agribusiness. Their piece thoughtfully argues for educating and training citizens to adopt small-scale urban farming as a strategy for adapting to climate change and an overpopulated planet. The second piece, “Malaria Prevalence in Invasive Bird Species versus the Native Hawaiian Bird Species” by Jeanette Calarco, also addresses the impacts of climate change. As part of her larger thesis, Calarco’s research focuses on the extent to which a species of Hawaiian honeycreeper has shown signs of evolved tolerance for malaria. Though her research is still in progress, her findings suggest that native Hawaiian bird species have potentially adapted to dire environmental changes as a result of climate change and other anthropogenic effects on the islands of Hawaii. Phillip Swart’s “The Headache of Hetch Hetchy: John Muir, Metaphor, and the Defense of Public Lands” focuses on John Muir’s uniquely metaphorical style of scientific field writing in The Yosemite. Swart argues that Muir’s anthropomorphic metaphors help the broader public relate to and sympathize with the trees of Yosemite, thus mobilizing readers to advocate for forest preservation. Swart concludes by highlighting the enduring relevance of Muir’s efforts today, particularly in the wake of President Trump’s request that the Secretary of the Interior review the status of 28 national monuments—a request which has been met with a surge of resistance efforts to preserve these monuments’ current boundaries.

Swart’s piece offers a nice bookend for this issue’s trio of essays: he poignantly stresses the importance of bridging the divide between specialized scientific writing, as we see modeled so elegantly by Calarco, and the wider public. Webster, Lane, and Martin indeed make this very effort in their own piece, translating their research about the global food system into practical steps that individuals can take in their own homes and communities to help lighten their carbon footprints. Together, these essays demonstrate how important it will be in the coming decades for scholars across the disciplines to adopt innovative strategies for sharing their research on the environment with different publics, within and beyond their academic fields.  

We hope that you enjoy the work of our talented contributors in Process’s special issue, On Environment, and can use it to begin important conversations in your own institutions, classrooms, and communities. Please also check out our current CFP for the upcoming Autumn special issue, On Politics. We look forward to continuing the project of cultivating engaging discussions for our readers and generating new opportunities for students to showcase their writing!



Emily Bald & Alexandra Smith



Malaria prevalence in invasive bird species versus the native Hawaiian bird species

Jeanette Calarco

For the purposes of publication, my prospectus outlining my undergraduate thesis has been edited. As of Fall 2017, I have begun researching malaria prevalence in invasive bird species versus native bird species on Hawaii. A species of Hawaiian honeycreeper, the Hawaii amakihi, has shown signs of evolved tolerance for malaria. Through researching the infection rates, further evidence supporting this hypothesis of evolved tolerance can be found.

Keywords: malaria, evolved tolerance, Hawaiian honeycreeper, climate change


Framework for Urban Agriculture

Kyrsteen Webster, Ryan Martin, and Aleczander Lane

World population growth and nations transitioning into more “American” style diets are more ubiquitous than ever. This fact puts a lot of strain on the demand of food and water. The goal of this paper is to provide enough information on how to solve some of these issues through urban agriculture. By turning large-scale farming into a more sustainable regional system through zoning policy and education, we as a society can become more connected with the land in an urban world. While our paper explains some of the historical events that got us into this current situation, the primary focus will be to examine issues facing transporting and storing a global food system; policies benefiting or hurting the local urban farmer; and potential yields and limitations with urban agriculture.

With the current immigration crises, partisan public policy disagreements, and a public focused on other issues such as health care, America and other developed nations have lost sight of some of the problems with their own food sources. We found poor communities pulling together and becoming stronger through urban agriculture and studies where it was extremely expensive to maintain agriculture practices in the area. We bring forth models and policies that support a shift in agriculture by taking our first steps in the classroom and providing the public an education.

Keywords: urban agriculture, sustainability, local food


The Headache of Hetch Hetchy:

John Muir, Metaphor, and the Defense of Public Lands

Phillip D. Swart

A fundamental challenge for environmentalists is encouraging broad support for public lands. One of the most famous public land conflicts was the battle for the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park. A thirsty San Francisco desired a reliable water source, but at the expense of destroying public lands. The great environmentalist and writer John Muir wrote extensively in defense of Yosemite, the Hetch Hetchy Valley, and the need for wilderness spaces. In this paper, I conduct a metaphorical analysis of “The Forest Trees in General,” the sixth chapter in John Muir’s 1912 book The Yosemite that sought to garner public support for the Hetch Hetchy Valley. By examining the metaphors in this particular chapter, the rhetorical genius of Muir becomes apparent. Through anthropomorphic metaphors, Muir was able to relate the necessity of public lands and the natural life within them to a broad audience. The implications are that advocates for public lands can empower nature by curating concern and sympathy with the general public through the use of metaphor.

Keywords: John Muir, forest preservation, nature writing, metaphor