Wednesday, September 5, 2012



Lame joke aside, I've never considered myself very math or science oriented. I definitely peaked in 8th grade; I won the middle school "Math Award" for my achievements in Algebra 1 and successfully dissected a medical-school-size fetal pig for my science final. From then on it was a downward spiral. I never felt any sparks in Chemistry and Calculus and I had a straight hate relationship. It wasn't until I ended up in AP Environmental Science my senior year of high school that I found a niche in the science world that I enjoyed.

I found population demographics fascinating, urban planning exciting and sustainable solutions intriguing. It made perfect sense to pick up an Environmental Studies minor while at Georgetown...until I realized that a slew of "real" science classes were involved. I suffered through Biology 104 my freshman year with all the pre-med students and let me tell you: it's basically impossible to understand a lecture on genetic evolution when you don't know what an allele is. Lucky for me, DIS offers a core program in sustainability and I'm thrilled at how the classes are structured.

Instead of focusing on the chemical composition of air pollution or the process of carbon sequestration, my core class is about Sustainable Development; how can we as humans create better systems--politically, socially, and economically--that don't destroy the world. There's also an emphasis on businesses and their role which for me is an awesome way to tie in another of my areas of interest. The human component is something I'm very keen on and being in a country where being green is an accepted norm and not a partisan issue is refreshing.

This isn't to say that I'm being brainwashed by a group of ecocentric hippies to forgo all modern day conveniences in favor of mud-brick houses and raw food diets. As I work my way through the readings, it's interesting to see the issues from the perspective of a country that is at the cutting edge of green technology instead of one that is being lampooned as the source of the problem. Our textbooks have also mentioned the need for environmental justice, gender equality and higher standards of living as part of sustainable initiatives in developing countries. Even though Denmark is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, I love that our coursework also acknowledges the need for sustainable patterns in less fortunate countries.

After spending two days with my class touring waste fire power pants and admiring offshore wind farms in Copenhagen, we're leaving early tomorrow morning for Thisted and Ã…rhus in Jutland (Western Denmark) to learn more about community initiatives to implement sustainable strategies. So far no one has made me memorize any equations or calculate any conversions. This just might be a "science" I can handle.

No comments:

Post a Comment