OPINION: Interdisciplinary Earth Week at DePauw a step forward


The DePauw Environmental Club broke the biological mold for Earth Week 2014.
To move people away from thinking of environmental issues as purely biological, the club also hosted several lunch talks lead by a different department. Other activities ranged from watching documentaries to a solar panel workshop to a plant giveaway.
While each activity has a specific, specialized topic, the overarching goal was to raise awareness about Earth and its environment, specifically issues that impact every living being.
Each lunch talk focused on an important environmental issue but framed the issue in the light of that discipline.
Often when people think of climate change and environmentalism, they imagine scientific jargon that is far removed from the language of their everyday lives. This picture of the environmental discussion is false.
Environmentalism is a topic, and an issue, that ranges across disciplines and interests. The problem many people face is the inability to find these commonalities because they lack the scientific knowledge or interest that would give them access to information about these issues. The lunch discussions revealed facets of environmentalism that is normally hidden by the scientific, tree-hugging, hippy stereotype most people associate it with.
When the DePauw Environmental Club decided to incorporate various disciplines into their Earth Week celebration, they committed to making environmental issues more accessible. The implications of the science behind environmentalism have far ranging effects and consequences that require the attention and action of people from all walks of life.
Environmentalism is concerned with the world we live in. Everyone lives in the world, so everyone in some way can relate to the problems and issues that surface when topics such as pollution, deforestation, extinction, overfishing and many more are considered.
Incorporating the English, physics, philosophy, and geology departments helped create a more comprehensive environmental movement at DePauw.
The fight that needs to be fought in the name of the environment cannot be lead only by biologists. We need writers, poets, physicists, geologists and economists. We need lawyers, bankers, and graphic designers. To make an environmental movement successful, people from all interests groups need to be involved.
Creating an interdisciplinary Earth Week is an essential step in shifting the environmental movement from a stereotypically specialized faction into a largely acknowledged and recognized reality. It is only through a multifaceted, interdisciplinary approach that environmentalism can be successful as a movement not only at DePauw, but also across the world.

-Junger is a sophomore English literature and biology major from St. Louis.