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.”-Communicating and Reiterating Through Life’s Way
Every step is a step for a reason. The scientific method, for example, can have many added steps, but never any lost. As can stairs. And walkways. And my puppy’s steps to get in bed. Sometimes, a step feels useless, but it never is. And over the last two years, being an ENVS major has prepared me in numerous ways to approach succeed in presenting a capstone I can be proud of. At the beginning of the major, broader courses covering more general information, and at a wider scope, were the majority of my focus. As the years progressed, however, the scope seemed to narrow. As mentioned above, specific courses, such as Environmental Economics, 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. Environmental Philosophy was very eye opening, in that being someone who makes decisions based on facts and unbiased ruling, a course focused on the non-quantifiable points of the environment and climate issues was hard, disheartening, and then enlightening. I have gained the awareness to see issues from more perspectives, and learned how to better support my own stance. Even Spanish, a class I felt had no relation, helped to keep my mental balance in a place where I was open to new ideas and ways of learning. That creativity I could not have gained elsewhere.
Overall, I am most appreciative of the diversity. While I wish I could have taken nothing but courses directly related to what I’m interested in, life is about a lot more than interests. Additionally, interests grow, fade, and multiply over time. Without the opportunity to take courses in diverse subjects and from a wider range of perspectives, I would have had less opportunity to gain more interests, and perhaps become more finite in my own path.