Heidi Hough Wins Mellon Environmental Research Grant
Heidi Hough, a junior diplomacy and world affairs major at Occidental College, has been awarded a Mellon Environmental Research Grant to spend the summer in Alaska researching sustainable development, a practice that tries to prevent environmental problems associated with economic growth.
Nowhere in America, and in few other places in the world, is this currently more valid and of immediate importance than in the resource-rich, virtually untouched environment of Alaska,” Hough said. “I want to explore these questions and research the possibilities of not only compromise, but the reconciliation of economic development and environmental preservation.”
The $4,092 grant will allow Hough, of Watertown, Conn., to work for a Homer, Alaska, law firm that is working in support of environmental causes. She will also interview members of an Athabascan tribe and spend three weeks on a fishing boat to better understand the economic needs of the state’s residents.
Alaska is home to the 23 ½-million-acre National Petroleum Reserve, the largest expanse of undeveloped public land left in the United States. There has been debate over not only pursuing oil development there, but also at the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge, one of the world’s last homes for caribou and polar bears.
“For Alaska to become a model for sustainable development, I believe that changes will be required in behavior, public policy, and attitudes,” Hough said. “Non-governmental organizations, politicians, businesses, and citizens must accept and commit to the fact that this is doable only if everyone understands and believes in the necessary integration of both the environment and the economy.”
Hough plans to pursue a career in international environmental law. She will study at the United Nations next year, concentrating on environmental topics.
Through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Occidental’s International Programs Office and Urban and Environmental Policy Institute provides opportunities for students to learn from direct participation in cross-cultural approaches to environmental problems.