COVID-19: Virtual Reunions, Ovid, and Other Musings
Amy L. Edwards, immediate past chair, ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER)
I just attended my first virtual college reunion, and despite my initial misgivings, it was amazing. But why might you, our SEER members, care? It relates to our mutual interest in creating and sustaining community, connections, traditions, and leadership.
Over the three-day reunion weekend, my college recreated many of the traditions we would have experienced “in person,” ranging from the recorded commencement address (Nancy Pelosi), illumination night (a long-standing tradition where Japanese lanterns are hung all around campus at night), the alumni parade (photos from past parades by class), to several Zoom socials (Zocials). There were even Zoom talks by two of my well-known classmates. One was given by a Democratic pollster who shared what her polling shows about the upcoming 2020 elections. The other was by an author who won the Indie Excellence Award for Historical Fiction for her first novel, published in 2016. She spoke about why she resumed creative writing after 30 years of private practice as a psychotherapist.
Again, how does this relate to SEER? Quoting from Ovid, my author classmate explained when speaking about resuming creative writing, “sing your song now, you cannot take it with you when you go.” The onset of sheltering in place has forced me to think about my song – to slow down, step back, and take a look at the bigger picture. In my musings, I realized that many of the lessons that we are currently learning from the COVID-19 crisis can be applied to the global climate crisis.
Translating this thought into our mission within SEER, if we want to have an impact on the world—whether it be on climate change or any other environmental issue—now is the time to have our voices heard. Many of us now have more time to focus on these important issues and the opportunity to take a leadership position. SEER offers us many ways to do so. It’s easy. Just ask anyone who is currently in leadership. SEER’s leadership is always looking for more volunteers (especially at the committee level) to spearhead efforts focusing on the issues most important to SEER and the greater community.
Finally, I want to reiterate the importance of community and connection. Since we cannot meet in person, at least for the foreseeable future, it is more important than ever to form our own communities and to create opportunities to connect. We were able to do so at my virtual college reunion through our Zocials. Sure, it wasn’t the same thing as a local happy hour or a “SEER Dine Around” dinner at our Fall Conference. But SEER is very focused on maintaining community during these trying times and is working on several events—watch for details coming soon.