• Environmental Ethics

We Have Arrived in Holden!


First of all, I apologize that it has taken me so long to write that we have arrived in the Village on Monday afternoon. Internet access in the Village is limited, and it took a while for us to get access for the blog. If you are a friend or family member of a student on this trip, please know that this blog will not be updated as regularly as some of the other J-term blogs, but that is no reason for you to be concerned.

I think I speak for the rest of the class when I say that Holden Village is amazing and we are having a great time here!! The scenery around us is fantastic!

If you are new to this blog and are curious about what, exactly, Holden Village is, please visit the Holden Village website.

To arrive here we took a 40 minute ferry boat ride across Lake Chelan on Monday morning. The boat had two levels, and each seating area had large windows so that we could see the beautiful scenery. Once we arrived at the dock, we helped unload the luggage as well as the mail and 65 containers of food. Since Holden Village is so remote, the ferry boat is the only way that these items can reach the Village. We formed a line of students up the dock to pass the items up to the truck and school busses that were waiting to take us to the Village.

After that, we took a 40 minute ride up some steep, switch back roads to reach Holden Village. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by current members of the Village, cheering and welcoming us.

We have found the people of Holden Village to be incredibly friendly, welcoming, and delightful to talk to.

On Monday afternoon we had our orientation to learn about the Village. As part of our contribution to the life of the community while we are here, we will all assist with volunteer jobs for about five hours each week. Some of us will shovel snow, some will do paperwork/filing, and some will help with housekeeping, among other tasks.

We also learned about how Holden Village obtains its electricity from a hydroelectric plant during orientation. An entertaining song/skit reminded us that conservation and wearing layers (long underwear!) are important to ensure that the Village has enough electricity and heating to function.

I think we all agree that the food here is pretty good! We have some suggestions for the Luther cafeteria.

Tea is also incredibly popular here.  In the dining hall there is a “wall of teas” which contains jars of loose leaf teas which people can put into one of the much-coveted tea tumblers.  Some Luther students are planning to try as many teas as possible during our stay here.

Worship is an important part of life at Holden Village. Each morning at breakfast someone shares a brief poem, prayer, reflection or reading for “matins.” Before each meal, a member of the community leads us in prayer. Additionally, there is a daily vespers service in which we sing liturgy, pray, and hear readings and reflections. On Monday night we had a bonfire of the Christmas tree to celebrate Epiphany.

Our class is going well so far. We have been reading Steven Bouma-Prediger’s For the Beauty of the Earth: A Christian Vision for Creation Care and Christian Environmental Ethics: A Case Method Approach by Robert Stivers and our very own professor, Jim Martin-Schramm. Before arriving at the Village, we all wrote our “Ecological Autobiographies” in which we reflected upon our relationship to the natural world and how it was influenced by our upbringing. We shared our insights from these reflections on Tuesday, and we also discussed the extent to which it is important to know a place to be able to treat it well.

For today, we read a brief overview of some of the environmental problems on Earth, including acid precipitation, deforestation and climate change. We discussed these problems and their causes, and did an activity in which we got up and physically placed ourselves on a spectrum of our opinions on various environmental viewpoints.

In the afternoons, we have been attending avalanche training sessions with “Mr. Em,” an avalanche expert who often leads such classes. Friends and family members—do not worry! Most of the trails around the Village that we will be exploring are safe. However, this training is important for awareness and precaution.

In our spare time, we are finding plenty of ways to entertain ourselves. There is a craft center in the basement of one of the buildings called the “Craft Cave” which has supplies for almost every art activity imaginable, from knitting to weaving to block printing to book making. A few Luther students have already joined the knitting craze!  

Several of us went on a walk around the Village to explore the beautiful scenery. The two Luther students were on the 4 v. 4 basketball team last night that won the tournament! Today the activity is ultimate frisbee.

That’s about all for now. Thank you for reading!

All of our luggage plus food, the mail, and supplies for Holden Village are transported on a boat across Lake Chelan.
A view from the boat ride on Lake Chelan.
Our first view of the Cascade Mountains from the boat on Lake Chelan.
The bus ride up to Holden Village.
Buckskin and Copper Peaks(looking south from Holden Village)
A group photo before we took the ferry across Lake Chelan to Holden Village.