UM goes green with enviromental studies

Published 3:46 pm Wednesday, April 28, 2010

With our culture painting cities and towns “green,” it is a pleasure to spread the good news about the University of Montevallo’s newest minor, environmental studies, which will begin in the 2010 fall semester.

Environmental studies at UM is an interdisciplinary minor grounded in the natural sciences that incorporates perspectives from the social sciences, the arts and humanities and business.

The purpose of the program is to provide students with the skills, knowledge and attitudes they will need to make informed decisions with respect to ecological issues.

The overarching objective is to help students learn to balance present needs with those of future generations, while promoting environmental justice and biological sustainability.

Environmentally-oriented careers now exist in a wide variety of fields in the public and private sectors, both in the United States and abroad. Career paths for environmental studies minors include employment in public schools and private educational facilities; in city and regional planning agencies; in agencies and firms dealing with environmental impact analysis, law and natural resource management; in energy management and design consulting firms, utilities and renewable businesses; in federal, state, county and city parks; in public art projects; in environmental writing; and in activist organizations.

Some of the goals the program promotes include synthesis of knowledge from the biological, physical and social sciences to formulate public responses to environmental problems; fieldwork, research, internships, service and independent study; stewardship of the earth’s natural resources; application of basic economic and management principles to environmental problems; communication skills needed to advocate for the environmental sciences; and reverence for the natural work at risk.

Whether a student plans to economize by growing his or her own organic garden, or to promote sustainability, the environmental studies minor fosters leadership in building a sustainable society.

Laura Wise is a student worker in the public relations department of the University of Montebello.