Every time a debate about climate change arises around me, I grind my teeth and waver. Should I add my opinion? Will others hear my perspective and denounce me as ignorant? Sometimes they do, but I usually speak my mind anyway. I tell them about an alternative perspective that is constantly weighing on my mind: are humans even obligated to try to mitigate climate change?
As the Ivy League institution that is ranked number one in the country for sustainability according to the Princeton Review, it is no surprise that Cornell goes all out for Earth Day. So much so, in fact, that the entire month of April has been dubbed “Sustainability Month” for the 10th year in a row. Upwards of 80 events have been held in various locations around campus over the past month — from lectures, to film showings to fashion shows — all committed to spreading awareness about environmental issues and future directions for sustainability. One of the most successful events included “ECOuture,” a fashion show hosted by the Cornell Environmental Collective that took place on Saturday. The show displayed clothing made from completely sustainable materials in order to shed light on the social and environmental justice issues embedded in the clothing industry.
Students and faculty from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Arts and Sciences gathered at a forum Tuesday to discuss the introduction of an environmental studies major. The major would span both colleges with concentrations in areas including environmental humanities, ecology and economics, according to Prof. Christine Goodale, ecology and evolutionary biology, the chair of the proposal committee. The College of Arts and Sciences does not currently offer environmental science as a field of study. According to Goodale, the proposed major would give students more opportunities to explore areas in the humanities related to the environment. “The initial vision for this major was that it provided training in environmental science with exposure to both natural science and some social science and a bit of humanities,” Goodale said.