As the fall semester comes to a close, and we are in our last two weeks of environmental analysis, I am finding myself reflecting on the various outcomes we have produced throughout the past few months. Throughout the semester, we have been building off of the important foundational framework we gained in introduction to environmental analysis last fall. When starting this class, I had no idea what to expect. “Why does this class have a lab component? Are we going to do experiments?,” I thought. Throughout the course of this semester, we have learned about and discussed various proposed terms that describe our current global epoch, and tried to make sense of them through scholarly research, statistical analysis, ArcGIS mapping, another analytical methods. Not only have we worked hard to decipher these ideas and explore their validity, we have gained the necessary tools to complete bigger and more thorough environmental analysis in the future.
We started this semester by analyzing land use and cover change on a local scale, through the lense of the Anthropocene. “Anthropocene” is a proposed term to define the Earth’s current geological epoch. The Anthropocene defines Earth’s current geologic time period as anthropogenic (being human-influenced). I enjoyed how we started the semester by doing environmental analysis right here on campus, in an area all of us call home. This lab series provided critical insights on the ways that human impacted change take place over time, how quickly such changes take place, and why the changes are made. This lab series was also the first time we used ArcGIS, which has been my favorite skill we have gained through this course.
We then moved onto the Capitalocene, which is a more controversial term in my opinion. The Capitalocene posits that environmental degradation isn’t attributed to humans themselves, rather the capitalist system that we have adopted. The Capitalocene lab series is where we were first introduced to the implementation of inferential and descriptive statistics in environmental analysis. The development of my statistical analysis skills has proved most useful throughout the rest of my academic life, and allowed us to critically analyze the theories that support the Capitalocene, many of which we have since refuted.
In addition to our work done in lab and the development of integral analysis skills, we devoted a chunk of the semester to developing our ENVS concentrations, which will dictate our scope of inquiry for our next two years at Lewis & Clark. I developed my concentration around my potential study abroad program to Australia in Spring of my junior year. In additional to Environmental Studies, I am also a Sociology/Anthropology major. Because of this, I developed my concentration as to marry the interests of both of my majors. The concentration process was difficult, as thinking about my future and what I want to devote my academic life to is not an easy task. However, it was a very rewarding experience, and I am looking forward to further developing my concentration.
Overall, as I reflect on my experience in ENVS 220, I can see how far we have come in developing the necessary tools for environmental analysis. All of my personal course outcomes are linked to and summarized in my ENVS portfolio.