Learn about successes in sustainable development. Raise awareness about environmental issues. Celebrate the wonder of the natural world. Study the complex scientific, social, political and ethical dimensions of environmental issues.
Subtitled "Observation, Knowledge and Imagination," this course explores the idea that environmental awareness is rooted in firsthand experience of nature.
We will read widely in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, science, philosophy and mythology derived in various ways from an intimate awareness of nature. Students will be required to do their own observational "field work" on campus and in the Susquehanna watershed and produce a substantial portfolio of writing in journal/blog form, lyric poetry, and several forms of the short essay (nonfiction). Throughout the semester, we will discuss the demands and rewards of moving from an anthropocentric to a biocentric point of view as the key to a sustainable future. Readings include E. O. Wilson, Gary Snyder, Jane Goodall, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, James Dickey, Norman Maclean, Rachel Carson, Charles Darwin, Aldo Leopold, Emerson, Thoreau, Classical and Native American mythology, Zen Buddhism (Dogen) and T'ang Dynasty poetry.
This course will examine environmental sustainability from the standpoint of cultural creativity, with a special focus on spirituality as a motivation for sustainable community life.
It will explore in particular the Christian-inspired ecological fantasy writing of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings in relation to New Agrarian and Urban Agrarian environmental movements. The approaches of other spiritual traditions to sustainability, such as the Amish, and also Buddhism, and Judaism, will also be explored. Readings will include both fiction and classic essays on sustainability by writers such as Wendell Berry and Annie Dillard. The course will encourage students of all faiths or no faith to explore connections between culture, imagination, and ecology.
"Being in a Residential College is a great way to make friends with similar interests early in the semester. The Environmental Res College is great because you get to participate in activities like hiking and kayaking and take fun trips while appreciating and enjoying nature."
Hometown: New Bethlehem, Pa.
Major: environmental engineering
"Being a part of the Environmental Residential College gave me the opportunity to live, study and have fun with students that were interested in exploring nature and sustainability from a lot of different perspectives. The Environmental Res College is a great place to bond with the earth and peers that think like you but will open your mind as well."
Hometown: Dover-Foxcroft, Maine
Major: chemical engineering
"My first year in the Environmental Res College was the perfect introduction to life at Bucknell. The community I formed with my fellow students and professors is something I know will last throughout my four years. My foundation seminar, Discovering Nature, was an amazing way to explore environmental topics that interested me—I even had an essay from the class published in a magazine. From kayaking in the Susquehanna to visiting the city, Environmental Res gives students the chance to explore environmental themes outside the classroom even if their major is unrelated. Come join us!"
Hometown: Berwick, Pa.
Major: environmental studies
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