I need some information. I would like to be informed as to what is going wrong with the environmental studies major. I am a transfer student and have been an ES major since the 2001 Winter Quarter. So far, I have been very disappointed with the structure, content and professor performance of nearly every ES class I have taken, especially among the upper division classes.
First off, much of the information from class to class is repeated. Of course I realize that there are some large common themes that overlap in environmental categories, but it seems I am experiencing dŽjˆ vu on a regular basis. Furthermore, the content of most classes leaves much to be desired. I do not feel like I am learning any valuable or useful information at all, as much of the content of my classes is theoretical environmental posturing and impractical pointless ranting.
There is an annoying and unfortunate focus on ideology – not problem solving – and an unbalanced viewpoint on the world. There is a disproportionate amount of attention paid to the local Santa Barbara environment, as if it were the center of the fuckin’ world, and a constant bashing of my hometown, the Las Angeles/Orange County area. I have learned very little about global, national and state issues. The education I am receiving is not preparing me with the knowledge and tools that would allow me to become active in making environmental change on a higher level.
As a result of this discontent, I am becoming increasingly apathetic to the local environment. I am tired of sitting in class having nothing valuable to write down, sitting next to smelly flea-ridden dogs (and students). Overall, there is too much advocacy and not enough education. I obviously chose to become an environmental studies major for a reason, but I can’t quite remember what it was (not because of smoking too much weed like my ES peers).
I might actually be able to get a college degree without having acquired any new knowledge whatsoever. Heck, maybe I can even get into the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management to expand my knowledge of nothing. Or, perhaps I would actually get to learn a new thing or two about the environment – that would be a change. I still have another year to go, and hopefully my future ES classes will be improvements from the previous.
Hopefully my apathy will not decline into bitterness, or it might be an ES alum that paves over your precious Gaviota Coast, just to spite the UCSB Environmental Studies Dept. So roll that up and smoke it, fuckin’ hippies.
Chase Whalen is a senior environmental studies major.