Renee Lumia, 350 Seattle intern
When Renee’s grandparents immigrated from Sicily a couple of generations ago, one of the first things they did was plant a fig tree – like at home. Today, a descendant of the tree grows in Renee’s family home in Maple Valley — along with kale and blueberries and a long list of other vegetables that feed the family. The garden, including the cherry tree in whose branches she lounged in as a child, gave her both the spiritual grounding and appreciation for nature that inform her environmental passions today.
Trees, among so many other things, are impacted by climate change, she says. “I feel compelled to fight.”
Recently graduated from Pacific Lutheran University, Renee has a double degree in biology and environmental studies: The biology for its scientific grounding; the environmental studies for its understanding of the interconnectedness of human life and the natural world.
“It’s why 350 Seattle resonates with me,” she says. We live on this “water-filled planet floating in space” and “our home is being threatened.” While realizing that our actions are complicated by there being different people and different points of view on how to manage the challenge, ““We’re all in this together.”
She’s been investing in the health of the planet since she was very young woman. As a “Gold Award” Girl Scout, she trained girls in the basics of composting and recycling; then produced a “journey,” Sow What, a program to teach the dynamics of the global food network. Finally she improved a nature trail, (originated by her Scout brother), doubling its width, removing invasive species and installing graffiti proof, concrete-emplaced numbered signs which linked to explanations of how Native Americans used the plants for food, medicine and artifacts. The trail now enhances the curriculum of the Glacier Park Elementary School, which prides itself on its Native American Studies program.
Renee started as a Justice Leadership Program intern with 350 Seattle in September 2017. There will be specific tasks – selling t-shirts, working with 350’s book club and its social media interface among them – but she hopes to gain experience with both fundraising and political action in the environmental cause.
Check out the Voices of 350 blog!