Education - Community

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Adirondack Semester

The Goal: To provide students with the foundation to understand and embrace environmental sustainability so that they personally and professionally may meet the needs of their own families, communities and career responsibilities without compromising the ability of the environment to provide for future generations. 1

The Problem:

All ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts. His instincts prompt him to compete for his place in the community, but his ethics prompt him also to co-operate...the land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.

-Aldo Leopold. The Land Ethic

This statement by Aldo Leopold calls attention to the idea that we are members of an ecological community. As such, our existence and success depend on living in ways that recognize responsibilities to the rest of this ecological community. Education at St. Lawrence must acquaint students with this dependency on the ecological community and the responsibilities it entails.

Opportunities for St. Lawrence University:

As members of the St. Lawrence community and the surrounding environment, students should graduate with a certain level of ecological literacy and a sense of the environmental community.

  • Basis in Ecology- St. Lawrence University graduates should understand basic ecology, including common organisms and basic processes that allow life to exist. Examples: energy flow and species interactions.
  • Dependency Awareness- Students should graduate with a firm understanding of the environmental impacts of satisfying their wants and needs. Examples: where their food, water, and energy come from.
  • Ability to make ecological connections- Students should leave St. Lawrence University with the ability to consider a common object and understand how it affects the environment in terms of manufacturing, disposal and use as well as possible ways to reduce this impact.
  • Ecological Footprint- Students should graduate understanding their ecological footprint, why it is important to reduce it, and how to do so.