Institute at Brown for Environment and SocietyIBES

Institute undergraduates probe Environment and Inequality

Undergraduate concentrators now have a new way to delve deeper in Environmental Studies or Environmental Science: the Environment and Inequality track. This new option joins four other tracks currently offered by the Institute—Air, Climate, and Energy; Conservation Science and Policy; Land, Water, and Food Security; and Sustainability in Development—as a focused course of study that provides students with the opportunity to develop expertise in an environmental subject area.

The track, which was requested by students and formally developed by a committee comprising faculty members Timmons Roberts, Dawn King, Dov Sax and Bathsheba Demuth, as well as students Ximena Carranza ‘17 and Lauren Maunus ‘19, will be offered for the first time this Fall.

“The track is significant in that so many environmental problems in the world link to inequalities,” says King. “The poor and Historically Underrepresented Groups often bear the brunt of toxins, pollution, and environmental externalities while others profit from ‘free pollution.’ Globally, women are more negatively affected by environmental toxins and disasters than men, and sometimes even the poor.”

All concentrators who choose the EI track will take a specific course on the subject within IBES, and will also be required to take a course on race, gender, and/or income inequality without an environmental focus. Furthermore, students pursuing their Sc.B. will be required to concentrate more rigorously on a focal area within EI: Globalization and Development, Health and Inequality, or Environmental Inequalities in Food, Water, and Energy.

“The creation of a new track on Environment and Inequality brings a crucial part of understanding the roots of our environmental issues, a window on who suffers and benefits from the distribution of ‘goods’ and ‘bads,’ and why that matters for solving these complex problems,” concludes Roberts. “The new track builds on our existing strengths within IBES and across this very lively university. Concentrators will gain crucial insights and learn to put them into action.”

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