Transformations and Growth
As a part of the Environmental Studies Program at Lewis and Clark College, I have been developing a focus of independent research through my studies in order to apply knowledge and skills gained thus far to current, real world situations. Each student, able to pick a topic of interest that also ascertains certain guidelines regarding social-environmental participation, is able to spend their undergraduate studies working on the research, planning, and implementation of this through guidance in various core courses. Through the last few years of studies, I have continued my interests in environmental studies, specifically trying to carve it in a way that interweaves political/policy making aspects with such. Through taking courses in ethical philosophy, basic law, and economics at large, I began to spur interest in the topics of global policy and equitability across all borders and regions.
There is a strong imbalance in wealth that has created humanitarian crises worldwide, and exploitation of developing countries by developed countries is a long-standing problem. After taking an international relations and an environmental analysis course in the same year, I began to find overlaps in which I wanted to understand how countries are and are not integrating diplomacy via environmental influence, a specific externality of economic globalization that developing countries most often suffer the most from, and yet a topic that’s only recently received global attention/acknowledgement. Specific courses, such as Environmental Economics, Environmental Philosophy, the Political Economy of Food, and the Environmental Studies core courses I’ve taken thus far, all have helped inform me of the practicalities and considerations that need be understood in weighing the magnitude and validity of externalities caused by economic globalization. Thus, in the last two years I have been able to shape, reshape, and reshape again, an idea for pursuing further research with which I felt passionate about, while also working towards advancements of positive change.
Over the last four to five months, I have tracked the progress of my capstone work through a ‘MadLibs’ form, a form in which I could record the establishing factors of my research at various points in time so that I can track my shift, or lack of, in wording and/or purpose. In reflecting on the reshaping of my research, my framing and focus questions, thus the driving factors for this work, did not shift as much as I had anticipated. As of November 14, 2019, my framing question was ‘How can international organizations contribute to equitable improvements in sustainable development?’ and I ended my work sticking with the question, ‘How can international organizations contribute to ‘equitable growth’ in sustainable development?’ My focus question, similarly didn’t change much aside from specifics as I narrowed down my situated context (focusing on C40 Cities as an example of an international organization tackling climate change. As of November 14, my focus question was ‘What role do international organizations play in sustainable development?’ As of February 29, it was ‘In what ways do international organizations contribute to the pursuit of ending adverse global inequalities?,’ and I ended sticking with ‘In what ways do international organizations contribute to the pursuit of ending adverse global inequalities?’ Watching my work grow has proven fruitful, and I’m excited to see where this journey takes me in the future, and even as I wrap this up.