Dr. Stan Taylor teaches environmental politics and a sequence of peace and conflict classes at the Lane Community College Longhouse. “I’m a teacher-activist and I do teaching as a form of activism. My goal with students is to teach things that are relevant to their current lives and to make them aware of who they are in relation to the world around them,” Taylor said.
Taylor has been involved in activism all his life. He graduated high school in 1969 and came of age during the Vietnam era, a time of anti-war protests, environmental activism and struggle for minority rights. He avoided the draft as a conscientious objector due to his involvement with the Quaker church.
Taylor claims not to be an anarchist but an activist who believes in community values. He holds multiple degrees, a bachelor’s, a master’s, a law degree and most recently a Ph.D. in political science. He emphasizes to his students the importance of legal processes through civil rights and liberties.
As chairman of the Lane Peace Center he aims to teach peace in a world beset by war, racism, poverty and environmental destruction. “Fostering peace through education is the objective,” Taylor said. He seeks to eliminate inequality based on race, gender, economics and the marginalization of the ordinary person.
“One of the things that I love and appreciate about Stan is his tenacious work and collaboration with others to bring awareness, dialog and transformative action on the path toward creating world peace,” Susie Cousar, teacher of Global Health and Sustainability at LCC, said.
About a decade ago, Taylor initiated a series of college-wide meetings and founded the Peace Center to promote individual, community, national and world peace. Today, an all-volunteer staff handles the events that lead up to the Spring Symposium. The two themes considered for this year are: Peace through Compassion and Climate Justice.
During a November class he focused on bioengineering and genetically modified organisms. According to Taylor, this is an invasion of genes accomplished either electrically or with gold particles to create a fissure in the gene which allows it to combine with other genes and creates new, man-made foods.
Consequences can vary, noted Taylor, from giant mice to pigs with the hide of a cow. An important thing to remember, he related, is that the contamination of genes is another type of pollution due to cross-pollination. He noted how GMOs are stronger and eventually take over by colonizing with the original species and overwhelming it.
The students’ level of participation was impressive, keeping Taylor on his toes with their queries he said. One student brought up the question of religious connotations and the “God” complex. Taylor replied that the scientific community holds to the bioethics code which allows them to continue their research without guilt.
He gave the “Green Revolution” as an example. After World War II, pesticides and chemical fertilizers were introduced to the farmlands of India, giving crops an initial boost. In the long run, however, the soil was literally killed and could no longer sustain agriculture. Taylor claimed that research shows how an increase in immunodeficiency statistics is attributed to 30 years of genetically modified food consumption by humans.
“Dr. Taylor’s pedagogy is balanced well for engaging students with topics relevant to today and critical for tomorrow’s health and well-being,” Cory Kalcich, 2nd year student and sustainability coordination program major said.