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Environmental Studies

A History of Environmental Studies
Independent Study Project by Erica Berry & Walt Wuthmann, ES/Englsih majors

Posted March 06, 2013

waltandericaTo mark the 40th year of Bowdoin’s Environmental Studies program, juniors Erica Berry and Walter Wuthmann teamed up last semester to research the College’s history of environmentalism.

They found that this history correlates with a national trend over the past four decades of Americans assuming a greater sense of environmental responsibility, as well as engaging in more urgent questioning of what makes education relevant and effective.

Berry and Wuthmann, who are both English and E.S. majors, describe environmentalism at Bowdoin as “a story of how influential students, professors, and administrators responded to national trends with the constant intent to create a program that could effectively prepare students to face the most pressing question of the modern era: how can humanity inhabit this world without completely degrading and destroying the very resources we depend upon for life?”

While they originally started out just trying to establish a chronological history of the College’s environmental studies program in advance of a departmental review, both students said they quickly became curious about the program’s origins. “Forty years ago, you couldn’t find a program like this is academia,” Wuthmann said. “Why did this happen at Bowdoin in the ’70s?” Berry asked.

Read more about their work at the Bowdoin Daily Sun!

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