Building a sustainable, just, and resilient future.
Interconnected Problems, Interdisciplinary Solutions
The emerging field of ecological design was an inspiration behind the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies and provides one theme for our program. Drawing on natural science, social science, arts and the humanities this field considers how we remake the human presence in the world in ways that are socially just, environmentally sustainable and resilient in the face of a rapidly changing world.
From deep engagement with organizations in the city of Oberlin to community-led projects in Africatown, Alabama, Oberlin students are involved in collaborative environmental justice initiatives.
I love seeing how my ideas or hypotheses change. I love watching a research idea blossom and turn into hours of work and analysis and real results.
This course examines agrarian thinking and food justice movements in the United States through literature, essays, film, and field trips. We learn about the political philosophy of democratic agrarianism and the contributions of Indigenous, enslaved, and immigrant peoples to American agricultural practices and foodways. Throughout the course we pay close attention to the Rust Belt as a location of contemporary work for food justice.
- Taught by
- Jay Fiskio
The ecosystem concept provides a framework for understanding complex interactions between life and the physical environment and the role of humans as dominant agents of biogeochemical change. In this course we apply systems concepts to understand the flows of energy and the cycles of matter and control mechanisms that operate in ecosystems. Through primary sources and group projects, students compare the structure and function of a variety of natural and human-dominated ecosystems.
- Taught by
- John Petersen ’88
This course examines the environmental history and contemporary environmental issues of the Great Lakes region in the context of Indigenous treaty rights, nationhood, and ecological knowledge. Students focus on the legal and political contests over land and resources such as water, fish and game, timber, and rice, along with the implications of environmental degradation and climate crisis.
- Taught by
- Jess Arnett
Humans are now an urban species with more people living in cities than in rural areas. This course examines the economic, social and environmental causes and implications of this transition. We consider the opportunities and design challenges of urban sustainability, concepts and techniques of urban and regional analysis, and contemporary approaches to sustainable urban planning and design.
- Taught by
- Md Rumi Shammin
Part of the team at the Times
At Oberlin, Hyacinth Parker ’17 embraced the liberal arts. Since graduation, she taught in Indonesia and is now a sales planning coordinator at the New York Times.
A Fulbright-MITACS Globalink Fellow
Amelia Lewis ’21, a geology and environmental studies major from New Haven, Connecticut, has been awarded a Fulbright-MITACS Globalink to conduct advanced research in Canada.
Writing Science for Radio
As an environmental studies and creative writing major at Oberlin, Angus Chen ’13 edited Headwaters, a campus environmental magazine, ate in a co-op for four years, and worked for the Oberlin Project. He is now a science reporter at NPR.