Welcome! This site is where you can find projects by students enrolled in ENVS 295, Environmental Engagement, at Lewis & Clark College. ENVS 295 is a required course in the Environmental Studies major, and can be taken as an elective by students who have completed the ENVS intro course.
You will also find projects here by students participating in our Environmental Symposium 2017-18 on the theme “Environmental Engagement in Tough Times.” (Students interested in submitting proposals: see the form here.)
What is environmental engagement? Read here for one reflection, building on the etymology of engagement. We define environmental engagement as actions that connect environmental scholarship to people. These connections can go both ways—thus the metaphor of a bridge, with scholarship on one side and people on the other.
Students in ENVS 295 think very carefully, then, about three things when doing their environmental engagements projects: what, who, and how.
- (What) Environmental scholarship: Scholarship spans the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, as well as integrative concepts like the situated approach we teach in ENVS. Scholarly perspectives on environmental issues are not necessarily the same as environmentalism, though scholarship can inform activism (thus, for instance, engagement!). Though scholarship can involve facts, environmental scholarship is about process as much as outcome. This process orientation is evidenced in major engagement efforts such as the AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science & Technology.
- (Who) People: Engaging means engaging with particular people, not just vague categories such as “the American public.” One could, for instance, prioritize engaging with key decisionmakers, or with politically marginalized peoples, or with the so-called “unexotic underclass” who have become increasingly central to U.S. cultural politics.
- (How) Connecting actions: A variety of actions may connect scholarship with people, bearing in mind that these connections go both ways—thus the two-way bridge metaphor. One important class of actions is communication, necessitating reflection and careful choice given multiple models of environmental communication.
As you view the student projects on (or linked to) this site, consider how they bridge environmental scholarship to people in creative and effective ways.