This week’s prompt, “How has my capstone benefited from my general preparation as an Environmental Studies major?” is something I’ve been thinking quite a lot about as we round this final month of our undergraduate degrees. So much has happened since beginning Lewis & Clark as a freshman, grounded back in education after my gap year. I feel as if this past year is where I learned the most as I link the interests that have guided me throughout so many years towards my capstone. I was lucky enough to find the words to capture something that as personally so inspiring as eco-spirituality.
I settled on Environmental Studies as my major because it allowed me to stretch my learning the most into different fields. Although the Sociology department doesn’t have a minor, I am so grateful that I was allowed to take so many SOAN courses for my major as it deepened my understanding of the world we live in. This final semester I am taking Environmental Sociology and Myth, Ritual and Symbol that contributes so much to my capstone preparation. In the past, I’ve taken numerous courses to count that have guided me towards this final project– primarily within the humanities. I have developed my writing through working with the PioLog and English courses that were included in my concentration. In each Environmental Studies course I have taken, I have benefited from the self-directed research projects that are helping me in this moment. Environmental Philosophy have also given me the preparation for the complex issues that revolve around understanding the climate crisis: particularly the paradoxes we all live with attempting to be environmentally conscious in a society that does not place the natural world above economic growth and consumption.
My capstone is also teaching me about how I can contribute to the collective work of living in an intentionally, environmentally conscious way. It has shown me how to be flexible, and I feel more excited than stressed about the pile of research in front of me. I have been working my way through a library of eco-spirituality research, and my final thesis is currently looking like hundreds of pages of notes. I am gaining incredible insight from how multiple religious and spiritual communities integrate their personal beliefs into collective environmental activism, showing me a path that I can take forward. I am currently writing this post in a cabin near the Grand Tetons, right on the Idaho border with Wyoming. There are mountains outside and two horses grazing in the backyard as my boyfriend and our dog nap after a ten-hour driving day yesterday. The reading on eco-spirituality has furthered my perspective of the land, deepening my embodied sense of belonging in this space. I never thought that thesis work would change me so dramatically, but it certainly has.