California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    A need for environmental education

    Ocean acidification, coral reef bleaching and overfishing, are just some of the current environmental issues happening in the world today. Some kind of environmental education should be required in order to graduate college.

    I’m not saying that the school should add another course into our Core-21 requirements. I am simply stating  that  every major, whether it’s business, political science or even communication, should offer some kind of course that educates students on the environment and how they can make a difference without changing their career path.

    Lisa Dahill is an associate professor of religion at Cal ifornia Lutheran University and teaches an environmental ethics class. She said she believes that as a university, Cal Lutheran has an obligation to give students the tools and knowledge necessary to make a difference in the real world.

    “In theory, any department could offer a course in this topic, but everyone should be introduced to these questions,” Dahill said. “How can you make contributions when you aren’t educated on the matter?”

    Prior to my enrollment in Professor Dahill’s course, I had some general knowledge on the topics we discuss in class like the loss of topsoil or the pollution of our oceans but I had no idea how deep the problems went.

    For example, before I took this class I knew that the ocean’s corals were in trouble. What I didn’t know was that the issues affecting the coral are felt much higher in the food web as well. I recently had to do a research project on ocean acidification, and the information that I found was staggering.

    “Cal Lutheran is working on these second nature questions but that is kind of a parallel track to the curriculum,” said Dahill. “If students were being educated on them then they could contribute to the university’s efforts and learning about environmental issues is intrinsically motivating.”

    I can understand why students might not want to think about the many issues our environment is facing, as they are frightening and can become overwhelming when you discover how large the problems are. It is easy to ignore these issues because of all the other aspects of life we face every day, but if something isn’t done now there won’t be any life left to look at.

    “I think it is important for teachers who teach these classes to think about how students can get involved on a larger scale,” Dahill said. “Students can be a part of an organization or faith community, this way students don’t end up learning about something that becomes too overwhelming and then they don’t do anything.”

    Students on campus get involved in clubs or organizations because they have a passion that is important to them, so if students were required to take some form of environmental education course in their major, then they could take action in a creative way.

    In a study done by the Yale Program on Climate Communication, it was found that only 25 percent of Americans had even heard of coral bleaching. If this is the case, then education is something that needs to be heavily emphasized.

    Cal Lutheran is on the right track when it comes to environmental education, as there is a science lab course that students can take to learn about the world’s oceans and the issues they face. Cal Lutheran also has a SEEd Garden on campus.There students can plant flowers, fruits and vegetables; they even have a compost bin where the dining halls on campus can take any food they didn’t use and turn it into usable soil.

    The best thing Cal Lutheran can do as a university to prepare students to contribute to the environment in a positive way is to provide each major with an applicable environmental education course. This way, Cal Lutheran is not only bringing attention to the problem, but also helping students to research and come up with different ways to solve these issues on a larger scale.

    Ashley Fisher