The Crucial Generation
In October 2000, Earth's human population reached and quickly passed six billion people. Since then, we have increased by 10 percent, to more than 6.6 billion. In other words, we added twice the total population of the United States in only seven years. Our numbers may stabilize at about 10 billion around the year 2050--or they may not. Experts suggest our planet may not be able to support that many people. Some claim this will lead to global ecosystem collapse, and the near or perhaps complete annihilation of the human race and many other species. Others dismiss such predictions as groundless doomsday hysteria. In this course students will ask and be asked difficult questions. Will our numbers continue to increase? What responsibility do we have as individuals for the future state of the planet? Can science, technology, and the marketplace solve the problem? Or are there other necessary factors and influences? Perhaps most importantly, can we build (or have we already built) a society that will remain in a sustainable equilibrium with the earth's ecosystems for the very long term? To begin our search for answers, we'll turn to some of the most exciting thinkers of our time, read their thoughts, critique them in open discussion and respond with our own perspectives in writing. These fascinating explanations of our past and present and predictions for our future challenge our common assumptions and force us to carefully rethink our place in the world. Finally, each student will study an aspect of sustainable culture and share his/her findings with the class in as creative a manner as possible.
First year seminars are small, discussion-based classes taken by all incoming students at Albion College. You are free to enroll in any seminar, and the range of topics is wide. Many of the seminars deal with environmental themes, from population growth to natural disasters to art and the environment. For a complete list of First Year Experience Seminars, visit the First-Year Experience Web site.
Students in the Environmental Sciences, Environmental Studies, and Sustainability Studies programs complete internships. These provide opportunities for students to gain work experience as part of their academic programs. Internships have been as varied as the career opportunities in environmental fields. Some recent internships include:
Spotted Owl Population Surveys
Deanna, Biology Major
Location: U.S. National Park Service, Crater Lake, Oregon
Deanna was part of a team of field biologists who hiked the back country of the park to monitor the population of this endangered species.
European Union Parliament
Eric, Political Science Major
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Eric was an intern in the office of a M.E.P. from Spain. His work included researching chemical regulations, mitigation banking for wildlife reserves, groundwater issues and water transfer issues.
Shark Behavior Research
Derik and Amy, Biology Majors
Location: Florida Keys
Amy and Derik assisted Albion College Biology Professor Jeff Carrier in his studies of shark mating behavior.
LEED Certification Interns
Sam and Ryan, Political Science and Biology Majors
Location: Albion, Michigan
Sam and Ryan worked for the Christman Company, general contractors for the College's new science complex. Their job consisted of documenting the project's compliance with environmentally sound practices.
Nature Center Intern
Nancy, Biology Major
Educational Programs Abroad (EPA) in London: an internship program where students take a couple of classes at the NYU campus and do an internship. Environmental agencies are a possibility: EPA in Brussels where students take a couple of classes at Vesalius College and have an internship with a Member of Parliament at the European Union.
The State Department Comes to Campus
3/15/2010 - Each year Tim Sears of the U.S. Department of State visits campus and speaks with Ford students. This year the students came to the Ford Office and had a casual conversation over pizza about his career and about opportunities for policy students at the Department of State. Tim currently serves as the Deputy Director, of the Office of International Security Operations, in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. Tim is a City of Albion native, and is visiting as part of the State Department's Hometown Diplomats program.