J500 Media and the Environment

A Whole New World: Jeff Severin by jseverin
February 21, 2008, 9:30 am
Filed under: Society + Media

I do not own an iPod. I do not use my cell phone to do anything but make phone calls. I have never owned a game system more advanced than the original Nintendo. And when I get home at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do sit down in front of a computer. Obviously the blogosphere is a whole new world for me.

This may have something to do with my upbringing. At last check, my hometown was still home to about 216 people. Although we weren’t in the sticks, we didn’t have cable television until I was in middle school (and even then, we didn’t get MTV). Instead we spent a lot of time outdoors – exploring the creek that ran through our backyard, riding our bikes out to our uncle’s farm, walking downtown to buy candy at the general store, and fishing on the Wolf River.

Those experiences certainly influenced my education and career path. Although I had planned on going to medical school from age 6, I learned in my first year at KU that I was more interested in how humans were impacting the planet than what was happening inside the human body. So I got my degree in Environmental Studies, and took my first job with Kansas StreamLink.

It was tough to beat splashing through Kansas creeks, catching critters and teaching kids about water quality, but after a few years I had the opportunity to come work for my alma mater. In my first job at KU I managed the Environmental Stewardship Program, working to increase recycling opportunities on campus and helping develop the ideas behind the Center for Sustainability. I am now Director of that Center, and plan on sticking around as long as they will keep me here. It’s pretty much my dream job.

Despite the lack of technology in my life, I do have a fairly extensive collection of CDs. Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, Guster, Josh Ritter, and The Flaming Lips are among my favorites. When I get home at the end of the day, I prefer spending time with my wife (we met in the scholarship halls at KU), going to KU basketball games, and tromping through the trees behind the house with our dog Willa.

I did enjoy sitting down in front of a monitor recently to see sonogram images of our first baby girl (due in June). Of course, now I have a whole new set of environmental concerns to worry about – BPA in bottles, phthalates in baby lotion, and an ever growing ecological footprint. Who knows, maybe I’ll find time between changing diapers to blog about it.

Mt. Elbert

– Jeff


4 Comments so far
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Just wanted to thank you for your efforts to “green” up the KU campus…as an employee and a student here, I’m especially gratefull for the recycling (and other) services made available to us. Keep up the great work!

Meanwhile, Johnny Cash was THE MAN…but he wasn’t particulary environmentally-friendly. I mean, he wanted to move the Folsom Prison train tracks to another area (which would leave a major carbon footprint), and “Ring of Fire” has to be about excessive pollution, no? 😉

Anyway, congrats on the baby girl! She’s lucky to have parents who are so concerned with protecting her future.


Comment by rarab

The truth is that dinosaurs can make a difference…passion is the new power and technology is just another way to share. The energy, conversation, and emotion we produce every day through our actions is just as powerful as the world of technology…just not as recongnized! Yet….
Keep up the good work and I have three daughter’s … you will be even more inspired, but with less time! Good luck with everything and enjoy each moment.

Comment by karen valentine

Karen –

Thanks so much for sharing your insight and encouragement. I’ve certainly learned a lot in the past several weeks about the power of sharing your passion through forums like this. And in a world of diminishing free time, it’s good to have sites like yours to help us find the socially & environmentally responsible options out there so we can do a better job of living that passion. Even for us green GUYS.

– Jeff

Comment by jseverin

[…] I wrote my first piece for this site, I had little experience with blogs and had certainly never written a blog post. I had a definite aversion to journalists due to way […]

Pingback by Going green is people! « Media & The Environment

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