Through the advanced seminar “Environmental Literature, Ethics, and Action,” students combine their academic studies with a strong dose of real-world application. The interdisciplinary seminar, offered as part of Barnard’s Science and Public Policy Program, is taught by environmental science Senior Associate Diane Dittrick, religion Professor Randall Balmer, and Laura Wright, senior editor of OnEarth, the digital magazine of the Natural Resources Defense Council. In addition to traditional coursework like class readings and discussion, the course requires students to participate as citizen journalists by blogging regularly and completing a semester-long Green Action advocacy project.

Blogging for OnEarth encourages the students to hone their communication and leadership skills as environmental stewards and through their research and advocacy. Each student tracks how personal experience, values, cultural and economic differences, age, gender, religion, and a variety of other factors shape a person’s environmental ethics.

Kamini Doobay ’10 is working with her local Hindu community in New York City to ameliorate the environmental repercussions of religious ceremonies that involve making material offerings in bodies of water; Doobay is interested in stimulating grass roots cooperation, while promoting cultural and religious preservation.

Shannon Weiner ’10 is using her role as a Riverkeeper intern and Hudson River Ambassador to blog about the New York City waterway cleanup effort. Weiner's interest in the Hudson River grew after a summer spent volunteering with a river clean-up group, canoeing along various rivers collecting trash.

As an intern at the New York City parks department, Heather Greaves GS ’10 monitors complaints about city trees: a seemingly mundane task that has helped her develop a richer understanding of New Yorkers’ complex relationships to urban nature.

Kate Gagnon ’10 is working to expand the availability of local produce in markets throughout NYC as an intern with a greenmarket wholesaler.

The class will discussing their work at “Awareness into Action: Students Speak with Passion and Reason on the Environment.” This is the first-of-its-kind student-produced environmental leadership panel, which covers a broad range of topics such as water scarcity in Pakistan, brownfields and their revitalization, urban farming, deer management, climate change adaptation, local food and more.

Event information:
Awareness Into Action: Students Speak with Passion and Reason on the Environment
Wednesday, December 9, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Held Auditorium, 304 Barnard Hall

For more information contact Diane Dittrick at 212.854.5783 or through email