Environmental Science

Sustainability Environmental 2014-15 Sustainability and Environmental Studies Series 2014-15

Two images dominate culture when it comes to sustainability and environmentalism: protesters and recycling. While there is much that could be said about these two aspects intertwining, somehow these ideas separately have come to encompass what many think of an environmental message. From the (controversial) "Keep America Beautiful" advertisements in the 1970s through anti-Keystone pipeline sit-ins these notions have become integral to how society at large and — to be honest — the environmental movements see what it means to be concerned about the systems of the planet.

This year, we are going to examine more closely these two aspects, both separately and combined.  In the fall we focus on activism. We turn from global concerns over pollution in the Ganges, expansion of harvesting oil from Canadian Tar Sands, and Australian ideas of mechanical means for addressing climate change (Elemental) to U.S.-based activism tied to illegal auctioning of mining rights (Bidder 70). In the middle, we look at how three locals understand what it means to be an activist. 

In the spring we look more fully at the issues of waste. We begin with an examination of the impact of what is termed e-waste, discarded electronics and their impact on the environment (Terra Blight).  We close with a global examination of what it means to be "green" by looking at a community in Cairo, Egypt, which bases its whole society on recycling (Garbage Dreams). In the middle we welcome back an alumna to discuss her work and insights in curbing waste. 

We believe that these two themes will allow us to understand, again, what it means to be committed to sustainability and the environment. And perhaps, by looking at activism and waste we can see that there is both more there to be done, and more to Sustainability and Environmental Studies.