Be an Advocate for Our Environment

An overview of the new Environmental Justice academic minor and Introduction to Environmental Ethics course

Campus News > Be an Advocate for Our Environment
Be an Advocate for Our Environment
The Center of Interdisciplinary Studies offers academic minor programs in Africana studies, Asian studies, Chinese studies, environmental justice, Jewish studies and world affairs, Latin American studies and women's and gender studies.
Brandon Gervais, Editor

New to the Center of Interdisciplinary Studies is the Environmental Justice academic minor. This 18 to 19 credit minor educates and addresses issues and challenges of environmental and social justice. Students in this minor can expect to participate in a variety of classes in multiple disciplines such as communications, environmental science, global business, public administration, health education, philosophy, psychology, sociology and sustainability. The topics of this minor emphasize the importance and severity of global issues such as diminishing toxic waste disposal, ecological resource protection, water and air quality control and climate change.

The new minor also resulted in a new class, ID 1350, Introduction to Environmental Ethics. This course outlines the moral issues surrounding humanity and its interactions with the environment. It tackles issues of sustainability, the distribution of environmental burdens and benefits and the treatment of animals.

"This course was the result of conversations and collaborations with Dr. Sara Compion, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, and Dr. Daniela Shebitz, executive director of the School of Environmental and Sustainability Sciences," said Jonathan Parker, Ph.D., professor for the new Introduction to Environmental Ethics course and assistant director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

"The purpose of the class is to introduce students to the ethical and philosophical issues surrounding environmental challenges, like climate change and sustainability. Problems like these generally cannot be solved through the lens of one discipline alone. This course analyzes environmental problems and solutions through the lens of ethics," said Professor Parker.

By way of the new course, students will be able to learn a foundation for being environmentally ethical. Students may then choose to pursue a full minor in Environmental Justice.

"Environmental Justice as a minor came about through the realization that to holistically examine environmental issues, and the way they impact human health and well-being, for example, you need to integrate multiple perspectives. Environmental Justice has a foundation in environmental science, but also draws on ethics, philosophy, and is itself also a social movement. The Environmental Ethics class is intended to serve as an introduction to range of issues students will study towards completion of an Environmental Justice minor," said Professor Parker.

A minor in Environmental Justice requires that students take three required courses:

  • ID 1350 Introduction to Environmental Ethics
  • SOC 2000 Introduction to Social Justice
  • ENV 1000/1100 Foundations of Environmental Science or SUST 1000 Introduction to Sustainability Science

Students must also take nine credits out of the specified list of elective courses approved for the minor. For more detailed information on the options for electives and on the Environmental Justice minor, students can check the minor's guidesheet.

The Center of Interdisciplinary Studies works to educate the Kean community on a multitude of world issues. It offers a degree program in global studies as well as minors in Africana Studies, Asian Studies, Chinese Studies, Environmental Justice, Jewish Studies and World Affairs, Latin American Studies and Women's and Gender Studies. Students can benefit from many of the academic minors offered through the Center of Interdisciplinary Studies as they each offer a unique contextual knowledge of different regions or world issues.

For students interested in taking the course, you can register for it online on KeanWise. For information on the course and the Environmental Justice Minor, students can visit the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies' page on the Kean website.

about the author

Brandon Gervais, Editor

Brandon Gervais is a junior English education double major. Brandon works as an Editor for The Cougar’s Byte and originally joined the staff as a Staff Writer in November 2017. He is a part of the Leadership Institute as a Gold leader and has worked as a New Student Orientation Leader. In his free time, he is a performer for a world class independent competitive color guard team and coaches the Union High School Color Guard.