Guest Speaker—Yale University

Students at Yale University mulling over the future of environmental education and why it matters.

Yesterday, as a Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative Research Associate, I had the pleasure of stepping in as Guest Speaker to Dr. Susan Clark‘s seminar, Society and Natural Resources, at Yale University’s School of the Environment.

We had a wonderful, thoughtful discussion centered around the purpose of education and how that typically differs between the humanities and sciences (though at its root it shouldn’t! Keep reading to understand why.)

We also spent a while mulling over the need for reflective practices at all stages of education and disciplines and just how to achieve this when self-reflection is often seen as pointless, boujee, and even threatening or scary. No easy answers, but is there anything worthwhile that is? Dr. Clark is an advocate for the policy sciences—a philosophy of sorts often referred to as a “framework”, that helps us navigate complex situations in a variety of ways.

At its root, the policy sciences emphasize the importance of self-reflection in order to recognize our own biases and the premise that rather than siphoning ourselves into strict disciplines, we need to come together to focus on establishing what is in the interests of the common good. It’s a fascinating approach and worth checking out if you’re working towards paradigm shifts.

Currently, I’m finishing up edits on a collection of Dr. Clark’s essays written with the policy sciences in mind about where the field of Environmental Studies and Sciences has been and where it can go. If all goes well, you can pick up a copy next spring!

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