For the sustainability dual major (SDM), five electives are required. Of the five, three I believe were the most beneficial to my education in sustainability. They were NR435 Contemporary Conservation Issues, SOC565 Environment and Society, and RMP511 Issues with Wilderness and Nature in American society.
Contemporary Conservation Issues taught by Professor Purrenhage was by far my favorite elective. In her class we talked of how our population and communities effect and are affected by ecosystem ecology, species distribution, consumption and population growth, land use and habitat loss, environmental toxicology and responding to climate change. The most important knowledge that I took away from this course was understanding social issues and differences between people when it came to the resources we require on a daily basis and how difficult it is to meet in the middle with something such as water rights. In this class I feel that I got a great introduction into underlying problems in sustainability. In this way, I had heard of some of the issues before even declaring the SDM and felt more knowledgable when it came time to discuss the main topics in sustainability.
Environment and Society was a course that I took online. We talked of theoretical approaches to environmental issues, food and agriculture, environmental degradation, and environmental ideology. The most important knowledge that I walked away with is localizing climate change and being aware of how my community is affected. We held discussions often that created a group understanding of the differences between the students in the class. This contributed to SDM because sustainability is always a localized problem. You won’t have the same environmental issues in the North East as you would in South West so ‘sustainability’ can not be black and white. This class helped me to see the small scale changes just among the students in my class.
Issues with Wilderness and Nature in American Society was different than previous courses I have taken. It’s focus was on the historical connections between humans and nature. I don’t usually love history classes because I don’t believe they teach very honest historical events. This course was history based, but with an environmental focus. The greatest piece of knowledge I walked away with was about Hetch-Hetchy Valley River in regards to water rights. This course contributed to SDM because it heavily covered environmental rights though out history and how we got to where we are now as far as being environmentally and sustainably aware.