York College offers a minor in Sustainability and Environmental Studies. Every environmental issue has a tangible link to a multitude of academic disciplines; e.g. the natural sciences, the social sciences, the humanities, business, and economics. To deal with environmental issues effectively, individuals must be able to recognize and understand the technical (scientific) issues, obtain a historical perspective of the circumstances creating the issue (history), understand the dynamic cultural and environmental issues affecting different parts of the world (geography), examine the value judgments at stake in any proposed solution (literature and philosophy), understand the workings of the policy process to achieve a solution (political science), posses the savvy to develop economically sound (business), or technical (engineering, chemical or biological) solutions, have an awareness of the social ramifications of the solutions (sociology), an appreciation of the difficulty of communicating a selected policy (writing), and have the ability and motivation to engage in the necessary behavior changes (psychology).
The objectives of the minor are:
- To develop in our students an understanding of basic biological, chemical, and physical processes that govern the natural world.
- To show students how humans can impact these natural processes and demonstrate how humans can prevent or mitigate negative impacts on the environment.
- To provide a basis for students to understand the many and difficult choices which society and individuals must make in dealing with environmental issues, including an understanding of the values we bring to our examinations in order to determine if our impacts are negative, positive, or neutral.
- To provide settings in which environmental issues are treated in their political, social, economic, psychological, religious, ethical, geographical, and historical contexts.
- To develop the skills which are necessary for identifying, analyzing, and resolving environmental problems.
- To provide a basis for students to understand the many and difficult choices which society and individuals must make in dealing with all aspects of the environment.
The minor consists of a total of 18 credits. Students should take one course from each of the two areas listed below, and then an additional four courses from either area or an independent study/internship.
The courses do not build upon one another, and may be taken in any order.