Greeners create change all over the world, some quietly behind computer screens, others in the outdoors or teaching the next generation. Here are a few changemakers who have made more than just a splash in the past year.
Ben Haggerty ’09 aka Macklemore teamed up with Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett Jr. to purchase and distribute copies of the new book, Teaching for Black Lives, to every middle and high school in the Seattle Public School District. Co-edited by Wayne Au MiT ’96, Dyan Watson, and Jesse Hagopian, this new partnership will provide more than 500 copies for teachers across the district, enabling them to make direct curriculum changes and improvements.
Senator Kevin Ranker ’97, 40th District, Orcas Island, introduced the Orca Protection Act, which proposed increased protections and supported further studies on ways to protect the 74 critically endangered Southern Resident orcas. Former Evergreen President Les Purce co-chaired Governor Inslee’s Orca Recovery Task Force (a coalition with over 40 members) with Evergreen parent Stephanie Solien. “If compassion were fish, the orcas would not be starving. If compassion were clean water, our orcas would not be suffering the effects of toxic contamination. If compassion were quiet waters, our orcas would once again be able to find their prey and communicate with each other,” they said. After the heartbreaking death of a newborn calf this summer and the 17 days that Tahlequah carried her calf in mourning, the task force created #RememberTahlequah and a list of 17 actions people can engage in to help the orcas.
Buzz me up
In research published in the journal Scientific Reports, Paul Stamets ’79 describes how bees given a small amount of his mushroom mycelia extract exhibited remarkable reductions in the presence of viruses associated with parasitic mites that have been attacking and infecting bee colonies for decades. He has designed a 3D-printable feeder that delivers mycelia extract to wild bees. He plans to launch the product and an extract-subscription service to the public next year. Paul also influenced the Star Trek universe—the new series Star Trek: Discovery features the eponymous Lieutenant Commander Paul Stamets, an intergalactic mycologist and chief engineer who developed a “spore drive propulsion system.”
Cough, cough, laugh, laugh
Stand-up comedian Josh Blue ’01 appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, performing a set about randomly being offered sweatpants and prescribed meds by a homeless man, whom he befriended with cannabis.
A rock supergroup formed in 2012, includes Corin Tucker ’94 of Sleater-Kinney, Peter Buck of R.E.M., Kurt Bloch and Scott McCaughey of The Minus 5, Bill Rieflin of King Crimson, Linda Pitmon of The Baseball Project and Steve Wynn & The Miracle 3. Their debut album, Invitation, was announced last June along with lead single “The Arrival.” Tucker contributed lyrics inspired by the political landscape and causes ranging from the Black Lives Matter movement to climate change.
This ink runs green
Fantagraphics released a studio edition of the award-winning, iconic graphic novel Black Hole by Charles Burns ’77. A film adaptation is being written and directed by Dope filmmaker Rick Fujiyama, produced by Plan B, and funded by New Regency. Mean-while, Phoebe and Her Unicorn (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2014) by Dana Simpson ’99 was ranked #8 in 2018 on The Today Show and Amazon’s “18 Best Books for Reluctant Readers” summer reading list.