A Profound Realization Results in Career Redirection

Christopher Covel, MS ’02 was a field scientist working in the water exploration and consulting industry for more than a dozen years. “I realized that the water I was finding, in the places that I was finding it, was actually facilitating the destruction of the planet. We were going in, finding water for our clients so they could build these huge, high-end, gated communities. They’d call us back later and say, ‘We need more water.’ I was working for consulting companies that didn’t care about the environment at all. I realized that if I wanted to change things, I would have to begin with myself. I would have to expand my base of understanding of the planet and ecosystems.”

Chris’s personal goal was to fight the good fight, to clean up the planet. “I had to speak a different language. I needed to practice a holistic approach to earth science and geology I needed to learn ecology, biology, natural resources, natural systems theory the sciences interact so delicately with each other. That’s what Antioch University New England was offering.”

Chris felt that other universities didn’t have strong environmental programs. They were pumping out mining geologists and that wasn’t what I wanted. “After talking to Antioch grads and professors, I knew that the people here cared. They saw it as their mission to educate students in a wide spectrum of science that would allow us to go out into the world and accomplish what we wanted whether it be teaching, or actually getting our hands dirty in the field.”

Now Chris works to bring people together to clean up the earth. He was instrumental in exposing high levels of toxic contamination in far northern Canada. Heavy Metal, a film by Montreal’s Rezolution Pictures, documents Chris’s involvement with an environmental officer from the Cree settlement, their journey to expose the unacknowledged environmental and public health crisis, and their efforts to get the Canadian government to begin a massive cleanup.

Chris’s involvement was also critical in bringing key players together to reopen the Crotched Mountain Ski Area and to preserve the ecological integrity of its land. Using a natural resource inventory he negotiated with the local landowners; Crotched Mountain landowners; out-of-state Crotched Mountain Ski Area operators; NGOs; and local, state, and federal government agencies to place a large tract of land into conservation easement. “Thanks to Antioch, I now understand the intricacies to sustaining ecological health in the area. I was able to get all the different parties to compromise and to work together.”

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Since our founding 1852, Antioch University has remained on the forefront of social justice, inclusion, and equality – regardless of ethnicity, gender, creed, orientation, focus of study, or ability.

Antiochians actively reflect these shared values to inspire positive change in the world. Common Thread is where we document the stories that showcase our communities actions, so the change we work for can be shared widely.  

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