We are in the midst of a global environmental crisis. Scientists and academics from various disciplines have been researching our current environmental problems and coming up with solutions for decades, and yet little progress seems to be made. Why is this? This is a complicated question, but an important part of the answer is that environmental research often doesn’t get effectively “translated” into understandable, moving messages for the wider public. We need better environmental communicators — people capable of turning important research into relatable and, inspirational content that will lead to actual change in the real world.
The UC Merced Environmental Humanities (EH) major and minor lay the foundation for becoming an environmental communicator. The “toolkit” you’ll develop in this program — including storytelling, creativity, critical thinking, and audience sensitivity — are applicable to producing inspiring and engaging content about society's most pressing environmental and social justice issues. After hearing from experts in the field, you’ll complete projects ranging from podcasts to comics to plays. Use skills you’ll hone in this program are not only necessary for creating a better world but are also rare and valuable abilities that employers today are looking for.
The Environmental Humanities major and minor at UC Merced is the first of its kind in the University of California system. This program, centered on the study and analysis of literary, artistic, and creative works about environmental topics drawn from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds, has a strong base in literature — where the term “literature” is taken to mean any cultural production that can be “read.” The program includes reading and understanding environmental research as well as creative environmental works. Special attention is paid to environmental justice, Indigenous ways of knowing, Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), Black ecology, BIPOC perspectives, and postcolonial and decolonizing frameworks.
The Environmental Humanities program responds to an urgent need to create clear and inspiring environmental communications. Graduates of this career-oriented program will be professionals who understand environmental science and environmental injustice and can tell compelling stories about the research and data that urges action.