January 12, 2010
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I am back at my college after a semester studying conservation in Ecuador. In a way I feel as though I am taking a step back by returning to college. I am surrounded by biology and chemistry students, each perusing their own individual interests in their respective hard science fields.
“Plants are boring,” says one student. “I don’t like the outdoors,” says another. More and more students are turning to genetic and hard-science based programs, and most are headed for medical school or to a laboratory after their college studies.
I chose my major because there are increasingly fewer naturalists left to try and understand the earth and society. My major is environmental studies, and I intend to continue studying natural history, ecology, and environmental sociology. While I realize the laboratory has much to offer to the scientific community, it does not offer anything in terms of where conservation efforts need to be directed. It can hardly be overstated how much we need to move science out of the realms of wordy journals and the elite, and to move this knowledge into the general political and social paradigms of our increasingly developed world. To not do so makes that sexy biology or chemistry degree worthless…
I will have more to say about conservation and science being in the hands of the elite in a later post.