Environmental Studies

Introduction to the Major

Faculty members talk about what you can learn and what makes this major special.

Mission Statement

Environmental Studies major seeks to cultivate environmental literacy among citizens of the earth in the twenty-first century. The major employs perspectives and methodologies that bridge diverse academic fields, mobilizing the strengths of ICU's liberal arts curriculum. It focuses on environmental issues that straddle the natural, human and social environment, and produces individuals able to think and act positively in confronting problems in the world today.

Learning Goals

Humans are an integral part of the environment. They live within natural, human and social environments. Humans influence and are influenced by the environment; indeed they cannot live or carry out social or productive activities in separation from the environment in which they exist. The issue is what kind of relationship humans should have with their environment. Do we understand how the earth's ecosystem works , and possess an awareness of our place as creatures born into the system, the entirety of which supports all life, possesses the power to grow, but at the same time, to destroy everything? Have we come to the realization of the need to share the earth with other forms of life, and have we built a symbiotic relationship with the natural environment based not on destruction but on co-existence? Or have we simply used the earth's resources and spread pollution? Is this not a time when humans need to reevaluate the fundamental relationship between the environment and their lives, society and economic activities? Is it not time to begin living as responsible global citizens? It is likely that the human species will become extinct before the end of the 21st century if we continue living the same way as we have in the past. Is this not a perilous course?

Environmental issues affect us all regardless of what kind of life or work we pursue. In this sense, Environmental Studies is a field that offers critical literacy for citizens of the earth, raising questions that people everywhere should strive to answer.

For those aspiring to specialized roles in tackling environmental issues, Environmental Studies cultivates strong academic foundations and the ability to resolve key problems.

Students who major in Environmental Studies are expected to acquire the knowledge, information and technical skills necessary in meeting the goals outlined below:

  1. Develop a capacity for interdisciplinary critical thinking and problem solving
  2. Appreciate the intellectual and practical complexities of environmental problems and their solutions
  3. Cultivate responsibility of life-long appreciation of and stewardship for the environment
  4. Develop the ability to analyze environmental issues from interdisciplinary perspectives
  5. Understand current issues relating to the natural environment and ethical questions of environmental decision making, including those derived from the Christian tradition
  6. Assume positions of leadership in helping to solve some of the critical environmental issues confronting the world today
  7. Contribute to the realization of the Environmental Policy for ICU.
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