Founder, President and CEO Rebecca Rubin Addresses UMW Graduates, May 10

Founder, president and CEO of environmental consulting firm Marstel-Day Rebecca Rubin challenged graduates to be good stewards of the environment during the University of Mary Washington’s 2014 commencement address.

Environmentalist Rebecca Rubin address graduates.

Environmentalist Rebecca Rubin speaks to graduates.

“We have a fierce dependence on nature and an equally intense reliance on certain economic forces that crush it and imperil us,” she said. “And whether we humans are here to tell our story later will depend on the decisions we make – or more precisely, you make – now to resolve our place in nature in a way that halts and reverses destruction.”

She called graduates to recognize the severity of the issues currently facing the environment, starting with climate change.

“But, climate change is not the main problem,” she said. “It’s a symptom of a deeper dilemma: a profound and fundamental lack of respect for nature.”

Rubin founded Marstel-Day in 2002 as an expression of her commitment to the conservation of natural resources, especially habitat and open space, energy and water. Her company serves various public and private clients, including the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency. Marstel-Day is one of several Fredericksburg-area organizations collaborating with UMW to develop a Climate, Environment Action Readiness (CLEAR) Plan.

In 2013, the White House named Rubin a Champion of Change for Community Resilience, and Virginia Business Magazine listed her in 2011 among the “Top 25 People to Watch.” Marstel-Day has been named to Inc. Magazine’s 500/5000 and Zweigwhite’s HOTFirm list for the past five consecutive years and was recently recognized as one of the commonwealth’s fastest growing companies by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

Rain failed to dampen spirits at Commencement.

Rain failed to dampen spirits at Commencement.

In her address, Rubin conveyed her passion for environmental issues with the thousands of graduates, family members and friends gathered on Ball Circle.

“I think you deserve to be a little outraged by your environmental inheritance,” she said. “It’s up to you to challenge the premise that environmental destruction is an inevitable consequence of economic growth.”

She encouraged graduates from all disciplines to do their part to ensure the environment remains intact for future generations.

“For all of you graduating today, whether your plan is to be scientists or singers, playwrights or poets, mathematicians or musicians, English professors or engineers, all of you are equally critical from the standpoint of saving nature. At one point or another, every one of you will play a part.”

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.