Why We Need English Majors To Help Ensure a Sustainable Future

Carson R at desk w typewriter

Rachel Carson: biologist, conservationist, and former English major

Here in the Sustainability Studies Program at Roosevelt, faculty requite a lot of writing from students in all the classes throughout the curriculum. That’s not just because our profs love reading and grading papers (though of course they do); rather, it stems from their conviction that critical thinking and clear writing go hand-in-hand, as well as the fact that the creation, advocacy, and marketing of progressive environmental policy depends upon excellent communication.

And that’s why we need English majors to join the sustainability movement, as well. Students who care about and study literature, and who dedicate themselves to honing the craft of writing, can make major contributions on behalf of water conservation, waste reduction, and climate change mitigation.

RU SustPlan Cover

The RU Strategic Sustainability Plan, adopted in 2015

A great example of that is a story from last June 1st (2015) on NPR’s Morning Edition program, “Editing the Climate Talkers: Punctuation’s Effect on Earth’s Fate,” by Nell Greenfieldboyce. Give it a listen and get out your pencil!

Meanwhile, consider this: SUST majors here at Roosevelt — some of whom minor in humanities disciplines such as English, communications, history, etc. — have made major contributions to the authorship of such key Roosevelt documents as our Strategic Sustainability Plan (written in 2014, adopted in 2015) and our STARS Report (submitted to AASHE in 2015, which resulted in RU earning a Bronze-level sustainability rating for the university). Get writing . . . and get things done!

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