Environmental Studies: A Global Perspective

June 17, 2022

The environmental studies senior seminar can be seen as the capstone of the Environmental Studies concentration. It is the exciting culmination of your higher education in environmental studies, weaving together a variety of topics into one rich, interdisciplinary course.

In the environmental studies senior seminar, you will join in discussions that cultivate a multifaceted understanding of the environment that encompasses marine geography, land geography, biodiversity, and culture, with an emphasis on the tropics, says David Campbell, Grinnell’s Henry R. Luce Professor of Nations and the Global Environment. “Global warming, ocean acidification, sea level rise, hunger, and extinction will inordinately affect people in the poorest nations on Earth. Most of these people live in the tropics,” he says.

Campbell gives the example of sea level rise to illustrate those effects on the global environment. In our beautiful town of Grinnell, Iowa, the rise in sea levels due to global warming do not directly affect us. However, he says, it is “an existential threat to hundreds of millions of people around the world.” As citizens of the world, we must understand what is happening so that we can learn how to fix it.

Grinnell College promises to equip students to navigate the world’s complexities and effectively contribute to the common good. The environmental studies senior seminar offers students an eclectic global perspective that is a quintessential component of the Grinnell liberal arts education, Campbell says.

The environmental studies senior seminar can be a stepping stone in your future career development. It is integral to the concentration and ties together all that you will learn from its components: biology, chemistry, Earth systems, economics, and other social sciences.

Grinnell’s liberal arts education and the Environmental Studies concentration are well-respected throughout academia, and students often find that their participation in the program opens up many opportunities beyond the classroom. Students who have taken the environmental studies senior seminar have a myriad of opportunities. Environmental studies students have moved on to careers in the sciences, tropical forest ecology, public health, water quality, urban planning, Native American justice, and more.

Learn more about environmental studies at Grinnell.

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