Introduction by Kayli Peterson

Hello, my name is Kayli Paterson. I’m in my final year as a graduate student in the concurrent Environmental Studies and Sustainability and Public Administration master’s program. This summer, I will be visiting Ecuador for two weeks to study the diverse cultures and how they utilize sustainability in their everyday lives. We will explore different techniques of sustainability and how it, along with outside factors, impacts the local water quality and affects the environmental integrity of the Amazon. Over the past two years, I have diligently studied Spanish and recently focused on Ecuadoran Spanish. Spanish is a beautiful language, and I feel privileged to be given a chance to learn it. I hope my improved Spanish language skill will allow me to interact more naturally with the people and culture of Ecuador. My research focus has been on emerging contaminants in stormwater and issues related to this type of pollution. However, I am also deeply concerned about how we think about and go about being sustainable in our daily lives. As an avid traveler, I have seen how other countries and cultures go about their lives and live far more sustainably than I’ve seen in the USA. I hope my travels through Ecuador can offer a new perspective on how other cultures think about the environment, how to be sustainable, and how we might adopt that thinking in the USA. In 2022 this is the first year we have been able to do school-sanctioned study abroad trips since the pandemic began. COVID-19 is still a big issue, and I will take every precaution to protect my fellow travelers and locals from it. Mask on, wings up, hand sanitizer at the ready. It’s time to take off!

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