American Journal of Environmental Sciences

The Case for Interdisciplinary Environmental Education and Research

Will Focht and Charles I. Abramson

DOI : 10.3844/ajessp.2009.124.129

American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Volume 5, Issue 2

Pages 124-129

Abstract

Problem statement: Interdisciplinary environmental education and research at American colleges and universities have been criticized for ambiguous focus, insufficient integration and lack of rigor. Part of the reason for a clearly articulated conceptualization of the field is the failure to reach a consensus among those in the environmental profession and academic community on an overarching paradigm of environmental education and research. Approach: This essay argued for situating interdisciplinary environmental education and research on the principles of sustainability. Results: We believe that sustainable solutions to the complex problems facing us at the interface of society and nature cannot be found using unidisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches. Instead, what is needed is an interdisciplinary synthesis across a wide range of natural sciences, social sciences, applied sciences and the humanities. The appropriate mix of these depends on the particular problem being addressed. Conclusion: By focusing on human quality of life, the health of systems that supply the resources needed for quality of life improvements and the regulation of capital flows between and among these systems, we can devised an educational and research agenda that more efficiently meets the needs of today’s generations and those that follow.

Copyright

© 2009 Will Focht and Charles I. Abramson. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.