Hi. If you don’t know me, I have an undergraduate degree in environmental studies. So why am I writing this post? One time in college, my friend said to me, “What do you do at the Environmental Sustainability Lab? Stare at trees for three hours?”
Honestly, he wasn’t being that dramatic. A lot of people simply have no idea what the environmental studies major is all about.
So I’m here to tell you. Throughout this post, I will be explaining an environmental major to you, while at the same telling you why you should major in it.
1. You will truly get a well-rounded education.
Environmental studies is by nature is interdisciplinary. Here is a look at the variety of types of classes I took:
- Environmental sociology (my favorite)
- Environmental literature
- Environmental history
- Environmental geology
- Environmental philosophy
- Recreation policy
- Soil science
- Climate science
- Climate change policy & advocacy
Even just completing this major was interdisciplinary. The environmental studies major teaches you to think in so many different ways. It forms so many connections in your mind.
Most environmental majors have another subject they’re majoring in too. For example, I was also an English major. Others were also biology, ecology, government, policy, sociology, or artistic majors.
In every environmental class I took, almost every single student was majoring or minoring in other interesting subjects as well—much more so than in my English classes. Environmental majors are just wired to think with a variety of perspectives in mind, and that skill is valuable.
2. Your brain will become more analytical.
You’ll have to wade through a lot of misinformation. Especially because environmental studies (climate change in particular) has become so political. But your professors will teach you to cut through the political lies and analyze the data.
You will also become more analytical because we’re talking about huge, complicated problems that no one really knows the solution to. The problems are so complex, but you will find joy in picking your brain for ideas and listening to the perspectives of your classmates. They will always say something you would have never thought of yourself.
You will become a pro at analyzing data and information. You will never be fooled by environmental conspiracy theories again. And then you’ll be able to transfer this skill to your job when you attempt to help your company solve its problems.
3. You will learn to research complex topics.
Again, you’re going to be learning about topics that have a lot of factors to them. It isn’t black and white. It very much is always in the gray area. You’re going to learn to research, read data, and form your own analysis.
Your teacher is there to help you one day not need them to help you understand. After you learn the skills, you will always be able to research environmental topics on your own. You will know the science, not opinions.
You will learn to think of all sides of the topic as you research. You will dig deeper and deeper, because you know a lot of people have reasons to try to misinform the public (we’re looking at you, big oil companies).
4. You will become more compassionate.
Towards other people, but also towards animals. It was through my environmental classes that I really started to pay attention to human treatment towards animals. I started double-thinking my habits. What choices could I make that would help lower humanity’s negative impacts on animals?
It was through my environmental major that I started to see the value of every living creature. I started to believe they have souls. I started to recognize that humans have decided we’re smarter and better, but it’s not a fact of life.
I truly believe my environmental studies degree helped me grow and made me a better person.
5. You will save the world.
The world needs more people like you that cares about the environment. That sees the sadness in environmental destruction. That wants to fight for the future of humankind. I appreciate you, and so does every other environmentalist and conservationist out there. Please keep fighting the good fight!
What can I do with an Environmental Degree?
Here’s a look at what some of my environmental classmates are doing now:
- Studying environmental policy and law
- Sustainability Programs Coordinator
- Environmental educator
As for me, I write creative nonfiction about environmental studies outside of my day job. And one day, I’ll be writing and taking pictures for National Geographic.
If you’re an environmental major, share what your job is. If you’re an aspiring environmental major, share what you want to do after graduating.
Cheers to you for making a difference.