My last post discussed how the ENVS department has prepared me for a better future simply by giving me the ability to ask informed questions and engage in constructive dialogue. This is reflected in my capstone through its general structure, the questions asked, and an overall emphasis on the ability of social movements to enact positive change in this way. As I said in the last post, these are definitely some of my key takeaways from the program as a whole but my capstone benefited from them as well.
I spent a lot of time over the course of ENVS 220, Theory, and 400 working on forming questions to guide my capstone interests. Coming into 400, I wanted to build on this base even if a lot of the work itself was not exactly usable.
The above CMap captures the essence of what I wanted to communicate through my original capstone framework. I was really happy with the way that the program had set me up for success almost unannounced to me. We all began working on our capstone topics so early that, by the time ENVS 400 came around, I had already been thinking about this particular topic for years.
The main question evolved into my framing and focus questions nicely as I began to develop my ideas a bit more and apply my framework to my situated context. I was ultimately able to arrive at the following questions…
- Framing Question: With which methods, and under which constraints, should finite resources be managed?
- Focus Question: How are current legislative initiatives and communities in Eastern Pacific Cordillera Real Montane Forests responding to the degradation of finite resources in the region?
I have also had the pleasure of learning a lot of possible applications for many methodological approaches in the interdisciplinary field of ENVS. For example, ArcGIS is an incredibly powerful tool that I was able to learn through a few breadth courses and one that I was able to apply to my capstone work as well.
See this map created using ArcGIS Online of the Eastern Pacific Cordillera Real Montane Forest Ecoregion: http://www.arcgis.com/apps/Embed/index.html?webmap=e938ffa0b5ae48f29d787eeba58a3f0c&extent=-89.0222,-8.3691,-67.489,4.2971&home=true&zoom=true&previewImage=false&scale=true&legendlayers=true&disable_scroll=true&theme=light
In addition, I have had a lot of practice conducting qualitative analyses of texts and policy during my time in the ENVS program and I got more of a real-world chance to so through the methods in my capstone. I struggled a bit at first with my policy review section but, once I was able to access a better policy archive database, things began to flow a bit easier and this portion of my methods became less daunting. After this, asking the right questions was important again because it was necessary to expand on some of these more general findings.
My comparison and generalization sections were a bit more difficult to write than I had originally anticipated. I was finding it difficult to really make big overarching generalizations based on my findings. This being said––through lots of research and rewriting––I concluded that, throughout this Ecoregion, and hopefully on a larger scale, social movements have incredible power to shape sustainable development for all stakeholders in mutually-beneficial ways and are imperative in furthering global resource management efforts in the Anthropocene.