Hope in a Hotter Time

Explorations in sustainability & justice


Resilience project 2018

In the coming weeks we’ll be developing our  resilience projects. For this assignment students, individually and in small teams, will develop skills that could increase their resilience in the face of potential disasters and in the transition toward sustainable & just ways of living on the planet and interacting with one another.

Wild plants for food and medicine – To help jumpstart our ideas for possible projects and learn about some of the plants growing on the Portland State campus, we’ll have a plant walk and talk with Lara Pacheco founder of Seed & Thistle Apothecary.

Other resources for project ideas – Here are some additional web resources that might provide ideas for projects:

  • OPB – Unprepared – A site developed by Oregon Public broadcasting (OPB) that provides lost of information related to preparing for the earthquake(s) that are anticipated for the Portland region.
  • Resilience.org – Focuses on building community resilience in a world of multiple emerging challenges: the decline of cheap energy, the depletion of critical resources like water, complex environmental crises like climate change and biodiversity loss, and the social and economic issues which are linked to these.
  • Cascadia Wild –  a Portland-based non-profit dedicated to connecting local people with the local ecosystem.
  • PREP (Planning for Resilience & Emergency Preparedness) – provides practical information on getting ready for any potential emergency, from storms and power outages to floods and earthquakes.
  • Peakprosperity.com – The “What should I do?” page of Peakprosperity.com provides some starting points for increasing personal and community resilience.

During mentor lab on Tuesday, April 10 each person, or small team, will be asked to describe their resilience project idea as a “comment” to this post.  Your description can include links to other websites & sources that you might use to help develop your project.


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Blog Post#3

I was really excited to go on field trip with the class, I woke up too early like a high school student. Although, I got lost nearby Forest Park. Eventually, I make it to the spot and we went out to the forest. I loved looking for new species of animals and plants that I never seen before. We were able to identify couple of plants and unfortunately I can’t name them. There was some Douglas fir around the place, I love these kind of trees because they are ancient trees they live too long.

We also identified some birds that around the creek. We saw two kinds of birds, one of them is brownish with small peak.The other one, has black feather all his body and orange feather on his nick. We kept walking on the trail till we saw too many of banana slug on the side of the trail.

I was really happy when I saw the forest cleaned up and there is less trash around the place. People developed the place and they created a trail for disable people from the start of the trail till the middle of the forest. I wish if I could see more animals there like dears, owls, and foxes. I hear too much about the forest and its animals and I’ll go there again to look for these animals next time.

-AlAzhar AlHadrami

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Reflection on the Past

Last week, our Sustainability class went to Forest Park to view some of the exciting things it has to offer. Initially we were given a book and a list of things to be on the look for. Including birds, trees and rare flowers. Grouping up with Racheal, Damon and Josh, we set out to find almost everything on that list. This trip was quite a nice experience and a good change of pace rather than sitting in a classroom.


Ahh but yes a quick preview of the upcoming conversation. We will be having a conversation about three quite pressing matters in todays modern times. The first being a very controversial topic not only at PSU but through most of the nation. And that topic is bud dum dum bud dum….. Planned ParentHood. Quite a large debate has been conducted on many campuses nationwide to decide if this type of thing is needed in the modern world.

The second and slightly more controversial subject is Gun Control. Many people on the left and the right argue day and night to put the other side to rest. Some people believe that you can either have weapons and then there are other who’s say you shouldn’t be able to have them.

And finally, the third potential topic is the idea of feminism and equality based wages. We all want equal wages and we just think that fighting for the right cause in the right way is a key factor for opening peoples minds to new ideas

After this post, we are most likely not going to be posting any time soon, I appreciate everyone looking at my blogs and reading them thoroughly and with an open mind. Have a great 2018!

Dylan Perrin.

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Blog Post #3 The Forest

I’ve been to many forests across Portland, but never have I tried to look for certain plants, animals, or birds. To me, much of the plants or animals I see look the same to me, so I never pay close attention to them. Going on this trip was cool becasue I got to see the complexity of the forests. When trying to look for plants, they looked the same with a quick glance, but once you started to look at the petals, the shape of the stem, and the shape of the leaves a clear distinction could be seen. This has got me curious on what else I can find on trails, forests, or small creeks around town. So the next time I go into a forest I will be more observant of my environment and try to identify anything that I can get my hands on!


Forest Park and Some Feelings

While those of us who took the streetcar to Forest Park might say that the journey there was the adventure and not the actual exploration of the forest, this field trip was a lot of fun and I still feel like I learned good information.


While identifying the flowers to the right I learned that there are actually multiple types of blackberries that grow in oregon, as well as salmonberries and thimbleberries, which is what the picture is of. All of them are edible though I couldn’t tell you how salmonberries or thimbleberries taste. Pictured below we also found several types of moss including old man’s beard, as well as several types of ferns including the maidenhair fern.

My group and I were not able to identify the black and yellow centipede however, and we weren’t entirely sure what type of bird we found was either just because we didn’t get a really good look at it. I did catch a video of it bathing in the stream though which was really cute.


After spending so much time talking about ways we need to be more sustainable to save the beautiful world we live in, both the environment and our social structures, I really appreciated seeing at its core what we’re trying to save. Normally on a stroll through the woods I wouldn’t look for animals or types of wild flowers and would just think “Yeah, it’s a forest. There’s trees and whatever,” so actually looking and seeing the immense diversity was refreshing. Also as the year draws to a close, I just want to say that I’ve really enjoyed this class. I’m a very closed off introverted person and I don’t navigate social situations very well. If it wasn’t for having this class through the entire school year, it’s unlikely I would have made any friends at all. I liked getting to know everyone and I appreciate everyone’s kindness and wish everyone the best throughout the rest of their education and beyond. Thanks for a great year! 🙂

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Field Trips!

I’m all about any excuse to get out of the classroom and into the world. As a kid and in my earlier education we never took field trips. Partly because I went to school in Clark County Nevada (which is one of the worst school districts in the nation) and because I lived in Vegas, So you know where do you go? A casino, although informative, isn’t necessarily the best educational experience. Getting to go to forest park however was fantastic! I had hiked there previously and it is stunning out there. I think it was also really great not to just appreciate the beauty as a whole but to start to identify its parts. A forest is so alive and it’s easy to miss if you aren’t looking close enough. Having grown up in the desert I don’t have a vast knowledge of plant life. Sage brush, tumble-weed, cactus you know, the basics. But being in forest park and trying to identify different flora and fauna was a difficult task for me. It’s easy to look at a forest and just say, “Yeah, those are trees…” but to be able to identify the different types of trees through leaf shape, and bark color is something I’ve never done and something I thoroughly enjoyed. I saw many things for the first time or at least really noticed them for the first time on this field trip and that’s what its all about right? Being able to get you the hands on experience that is memorable and informative is so important and exactly suited towards my learning style. I can’t wait to take my wife back to forest part and show her some of what I learned.

Also, looking forward, I am so excited for our Thursday field trip to see where Dr. Gerwing lives. I interviewed him last term about what an urban eco-village was and why they were important and it was a great experience and I’m so excited to go see it in person. Being someone who studies architecture the eco village is something I’m incredibly interested in and designing them is something I would love to do as a career.

Can’t Wait!

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Blog #3 Habitat for Humanity

For our community engagement project, Althea and I teamed up to help out at the Beaverton ReStore center. The ReStore center is a retail store managed by the Habitat for Humanity of the Metro area that sells new and used home improvement materials. Most all of the available stuff to buy comes from donations of goods that are no longer being used by the person donating it. Income from sales at the ReStore support Habitat’s mission of building affordable homes by helping support the overall cost it takes to build. The ReStore provides the most dependable and sustainable source of funding as goods that are bought are being recycled and reused further extending their life avoiding becoming municipal solid waste at the landfill.

I was able to volunteer eight hours of my time at the beaverton location. Much of the work that I was doing involved unloading furniture, cabinets and other goods, and loading related materials that customers had purchased. During the hours when the store is not as busy, I gave a lending hand in pricing and stocking newly donated goods onto the store floor. My favorite task in being a part of Habitat for Humanity was helping out on the loading dock where people would donate their goods. I also has the chance to talk to the store manager Josh Laville on one of my breaks. It was nice to be able to talk with Josh about Habitat for Humanity and other subjects. He is a very welcoming and big-hearted person, it was not hard to recognize that Josh believes in sustainability and the work everyone is a part of at Habitat for Humanity.

I really enjoyed the time that I spent helping out at the Beaverton ReStore center and I hope to return again and be a part of Habitat for Humanity whether I choose to help build a home or volunteer at the ReStore.


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Forest Park Fieldtrip

Hiking in Forest Park is by far, the coolest school field trip I have been on. I love to hike in the Portland area and found it refreshing to hear we would be going to Forest Park. During the class before this trip, we watched a video of volunteers and environmental workers spending a day identifying the various animals and plants in the Forest Park area. The goal of our trip was very similar. We would hike along the lower Macleay trail identifying some of the most common plant and wildlife with a few other classmates.  After meeting under the pavilion right before the trailhead, my classmates Hassan, Nicole, and I were given an identification book, and a list to check off. The beginning of the trail was littered with wildflowers such as buttercups and pasqueflowers, but further down the trail, it began to transition into ferns and stalky plants. Along the trail ran a stream, that seemed to extend out to the larger forest park area. In the stream, we found some water skippers and few tiny fish. After continuing for a bit, we then found a small bird. It was a little hard to identify using the app because it flew away too fast, but we believe it may be a kind of sparrow. It seems my group encountered more animals than plants, and while we did find other plants like salmonberry and licorice fern, the number of slugs, snails, and other animals outweighed them.

After an hour of hiking, we met back up at the pavilion where we discussed what we found, and after class adjourned, I decided to stay for several more minutes. I brought one of my wild medicinal plant books, to see if I could find some plants to use in my continuing resilience skill project. Unfortunately, along the hike, I was unable to find any plants, but after looking around the entrance to the park, I found a couple of spots where nettle grew. Along with the buttercups and pasqueflowers, there was a bunch of dandelion, but they were puffs instead of flowers so I would be unable to use them. All in all, it was a beautiful and energizing hike, and I encourage anyone who wishes to hike in the Portland area to consider Forest Park.