Environmentally Interdisciplinary

Yesterday was the fateful day on which I received my first – and so far only – exam grade of the semester. It was naturally nerve-wrecking to me, as it was for my environmental science class. Science has always been a subject that I have struggled in, although I have a surprising amount of interest in many of its concepts, especially when it comes to sustainability and conservation. While I was satisfied with my grade, it reminded me of the countless hours I had spent preparing myself for that exam and I can remember, amidst the haze of caffeine-defiant exhaustion, one particular reading.

In the introductory chapter of my textbook for that class, written by William P. and Mary Ann Cunningham, there is a figure that dissects the issue of a depleted fishery. The course is attempting to relay to the student that “many types of knowledge are needed in environmental science” (3). Six text boxes are placed strategically around illustrated fish, each titled with a different discipline. These disciplines work together in order to solve the one problem of a depleted fishery. All of the subjects mentioned are essential in order to rescue the degraded habitat in the most effective manner. From chemistry to anthropology/religion, there are various angles that must be taken into account in order to properly handle environmental situations (3).

In Joe Moran’s 5th chapter of Interdisciplinarity, he primarily discusses science. In one section of this chapter, he discusses ecocriticism, which is the study of literature and the environment through an interdisciplinary lens, and that it depicts that “science’s understanding of nature is always culturally produced” (157). Moran discusses that ecocriticism raises the awareness of environmental issues through intermingling literature, culture, and aspects of the “natural world” (154). I, personally, find this intriguing because of my aforementioned interest in the awareness of environmental issues and sustainability of the earth. This interdisciplinarity of environmental science is exactly why I feel myself so drawn to it, even as an English major. The fact that environmental science insists on calling on knowledge from virtually all corners in order to work as a functioning instrument of change is what, I believe, will make its goal achievable.

I would like to leave this post with a favorite quote of mine: “The poetry of the earth is never dead.” -John Keats

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