My name is Max Sano and I am a Junior environmental studies and government joint major with an Arabic minor at Franklin & Marshall College. I was born in New York City to a father from Beirut, Lebanon and a mother from East Lyme, Connecticut. My passion for people and the environment truly began with weekly sailing adventures on the Hudson River in an after-school-program. Not only did I learn how to conduct water quality testing and learn about marine science with a multicultural group of students, but I grew an appreciation for the relationships we have as a species to the natural world– it exists all around us, even in a metropolitan area.
The beautiful thing about engaging in environmental issues with your loved ones and communities is that, at least in my own experience, it positively affects everyone that you interact with on a personal level. My legacy of collaboration and coordination continued into college with environmental stewardship, advocacy, research and awareness initiatives. As a first-year I participated in F&M’s Environmental Migration Lab, grounded in ethnographic anthropology (a.k.a. interviews) to create a public database connecting personal narratives on home, community, climate change and immigration. I presented this research to a local chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, eventually to join the chapter and help coordinate a youth-led lobbying meeting with the office of Congressman Lloyd Smucker and his Legislative Correspondent Michael Geiselhart on endorsing the Carbon Fee and Dividend Act (a.k.a. a carbon tax). After removing invasive species to improve biodiversity with Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and engaging in these aforementioned advocacy and research initiatives, I also wanted to create opportunities for other students to work with environmental organizations that needed the manpower. I began working with F&M’s Center for the Sustainable Environment to invite speakers from these groups to campus, volunteer opportunities to plant trees and nature walks with the Lancaster County Conservancy at a county park.
After my numerous experiences in environmental communities near my college campus in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and at the national/international level with environmental reporting for Planet Forward, I wanted to create a platform for intersectional and interdisciplinary environmental storytelling so that students and young people can express their work through multimedia projects. This platform is called The Green Zine.
The Green Zine began as a weekly newsletter to members of the F&M Environmental Action Alliance, a student-led organization and overseer of our campus’s Fair Trade Cafe– a locally-sourced, weekly food service for students, by students. Naturally the COVID-19 pandemic created obstacles for our club’s traditional programming, so I offered to create this initiative to drum up student engagement through a virtual medium. As of this month The Green Zine has published fourteen newsletters by over thirteen Franklin Marshall College students and some of our local partners, including co-founder of Lancaster Changemakers Collective Brian Graves and their poem, “anguilla rostrata”
Our content is organized into several categories: Climate Action, Sustainability, Science, Nature & Arts, Interviews and Opinion-Editorials. There is an analytical and thorough entry from Tony Bocetti in his Environmentalism Now podcast series titled, “Effects of Fracking in PA”. This twenty-minute podcast provides a comprehensive look into the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania and the impacts on community health and the legal system. There is an interesting and accessible breakdown of the chemical hormones that affect our emotions and well-being by Eva Hirsch titled, “Happy Chemicals: The hormones that make us smile.” Additionally, there is a thoughtful article on grey wolf conservation efforts by Olya Khurtenko titled, “ There are also wonderful opinion-editorials by Kevin Egemba who focuses on the political environment, so to say, in his piece, “Journey to the Left” while Darij wrote a reflection of his impact in creating sustainability initiatives as a summer intern in, “On Sustainability at John Hopkins Hospital.”
Some of our contributors have sustainable businesses of their own, including Tenny-Ann Dandy who writes about the pitfall of fast fashion in “Fast-Fashion & Intersectionality: Buying Cheap Comes at a High Cost,” based on her experience as an owner of an online thrift store, Just Dandy Apparel; as well as Jonatahon Izzo who writes on, among various sustainability issues, the significance of growing your own food in,“Grow Your Medicine and Food Through Sprouting,” based on his experience as an owner of Jonny’s Broccoli Sprouts.
Regardless of your interest in journalism, skill sets or educational background, I want to expand The Green Zine to other college campuses and communities across the country to build a community that believes in dynamic storytelling, climate action and intersectionality through interdisciplinary environmentalism. All of this work is done on a volunteer basis so getting feedback and support from other organizations and individuals makes all the difference for full-time college students and workers.
Please subscribe and reach out to the website for updates on new content, events, newsletters and additional ways to get involved! Also be sure to check out our Instagram page @fandm_eaa. Feel free to contact me directly as well at email@example.com
Max Sano is a climate advocate that studies government, environmental studies and Arabic at Franklin & Marshall College. He has been published by Common Dreams, Planet Forward and Novel Hand for reporting on a variety of topics including, Climate Action Planning in a Federal Leadership Vacuum, The Bhutanese approach to carbon neutrality (and negativity), and Regenerative Agriculture Model as an Avenue for Institutional Justice, respectively. Max engages in environmental research with the F&M Earth and Natural Environment Department on Sustainable Food Systems, plans climate activism as President of F&M Environmental Action Alliance and Steering Committee member for Citizens’ Climate Lobby Lancaster, and serves as Editor-in-Chief of The Green Zine.