Ongoing changes in the Earth’s environment, whether at local, regional or global scales, are compromising the integrity and functioning of our planet’s ecosystems, and these ecological changes threaten to impact human economic well-being, political stability and national security. An understanding of the underlying causes of these environmental changes together with the development of solutions to these problems requires an interdisciplinary approach that transcends traditional academic departments and programs.
Loyola’s Interdisciplinary Program in the Environment provides students the opportunity to engage in a broad and integrated study of the environment from several academic viewpoints. This program focuses on understanding the relationships between humans and the natural world from biological, physical, chemical, sociological, economic, cultural, philosophical, and religious perspectives. The curriculum attempts to develop in students the kinds of knowledge, wisdom, and problem-solving skills that can enable them to pay an active role in protecting the future survival and integrity of our planet’s ecosystems.
The Program in the Environment currently offers Majors in Environmental Science and Environmental Studies and a Minor in Environmental Studies. Students majoring in Environmental Science acquire basic knowledge of the physical and biological aspects of ecological systems and apply this knowledge to solving problems arising from human activities. Environmental Studies majors take an integrated approach to study human interactions with the environment and generally emphasize studies in policy, law, economics, literature, sociology, communications and other disciplines in the humanities or social sciences.
The culmination of the major and minor is the Senior Capstone, which consists of an internship, research project, independent study or thesis. Internships have included work with a variety of public agencies, private companies, and nonprofit organizations, including the Student Conservation Association, the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, the Audubon Nature Institute, the Crescent City Farmer’s Market, Hollygrove Market and Farm, and the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice. (Interested students need to request the current complete listings of available internship locations and descriptions.) Research and independent study projects have included work on such topics as public lands issues, global climate change impacts, international environmental agreements, solid waste issues, deforestation, interstate water use agreements, corporate ethics, wetland loss, and alternative transportation.