Sunday, August 05, 2001

Winton Woods grad fights for environment

By John Johnston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        In the past 12 months Margaret Kaiser of Greenhills completed her first year of law school at Columbia University and helped build a dam in the Netherlands.

        OK, so it wasn't a real dam. But as a political statement, it was impressive. Sandbags piled 5 feet high surrounded a conference center in The Hague, where a major United Nations conference was held last November to draft rules on slowing global warming.

[photo] Margaret Kaiser of Greenhills
(Dick Swaim photo)
| ZOOM |
        “The visual image was supposed to be that if global warming continues, the sea level is going to rise,” says Ms. Kaiser, who traveled to the conference with the environmental group Greenpeace. “And since the Netherlands is already basically a dike society, you'd have to build (a dam of) sandbags around the city.

        In 10 days in the Netherlands, “I got a chance to talk to people who work for congressional committees, representatives of various congressmen, representatives of foreign governments. We had a lot of informal meetings, getting to know them, seeing where they stood on an issue. They listened to how we felt about it.”

        Protecting the environment continues to be a priority for Ms. Kaiser, 23. A year ago, the 1996 Winton Woods High School valedictorian was the subject of a Tempo “Dart” feature in which a person is chosen randomly from the phone book and featured in the paper.

        At the time, she had recently graduated from Claremont McKenna College in California with a degree in environment, economics and politics, and was about to head to New York City for her first year of law school at Columbia.

        It went “surprisingly better than I expected,” she says. “I figured it would be really cutthroat competitive. The people were much more easygoing than I expected.”

        She has yet to take courses in her area of interest — international environmental law, but is active in Columbia's Environmental Law Society.

        And speaking of environments, the Big Apple offers one that is very different from Cincinnati.

        “I'm having a great time,” she says. “I like New York.”


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