About Environmental Studies

What is Environmental Studies?

Field Ecology students with Dr. Ken AdamsThe environmental science degrees offered at Plattsburgh primarily use the tools and methods of science to analyze and diagnose environmental problems and issues. The new degree in environmental studies does this as well, but shifts the emphasis to a more human-centered approach that examines environmental issues from a multi-disciplinary perspective.

You can expect to take a variety of science courses offered at SUNY Plattsburgh, but you will also be able to take advantage of many social science and humanities courses that examine environmental issues through the lenses of: history, literature, journalism, ethics, anthropology, sociology, and more. As such, environmental studies is a flexible program that allows students to chart their own paths through the social and physical landscapes of human-nature interaction.

Sustaining Nature

One of the central organizing themes of environmental studies is that nature is not just that which humans alter or destroy. Nature, indeed wilderness, is the pivotal context providing us resources, sustenance, employment and even recreation. This idea does not come from the world of academia, but rather is one of the most important points raised by the environmental justice movement. Environmental studies at SUNY Plattsburgh attempts to take this idea and turn it into a program that examines the way humanity utilizes nature across both space and time, with the goal of making that use sustainable and equitable into the future.

Programmatic Goals and Objectives

To create a community of scholars and students who have an interest in:

  • fostering an interdisciplinary understanding of environmental issues;
  • examining the human and environmental implications of modern technology and science;
  • providing critical insight and expertise relating to issues of energy and resource sustainability in local, regional, national, and global contexts; and
  • exploring the potentials and possibilities for living in an environmentally just, equitable, and sustainable world.

Learning Outcomes

Students will have a sound foundation in the following areas of inquiry:

  • physical and biological processes in local, regional and global contexts;
  • ecological relationships connecting the physical and biological worlds;
  • cultural and historical relationships between humans and nature with an emphasis on diversity of experience across both space and time;
  • the environmental aspects of power dynamics between people of different race, class and gender in order to encourage policies that emphasize equity; and
  • a knowledge of the historical and contemporary relationships between economics, politics, and land use in such a way as to promote the goals of sustainability.

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?

If you would like more information about environmental studies at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact

Dr. Edwin Romanowicz, Director
Office: Hudson Hall 132
Phone: (518) 564-2028
Toll-Free Phone: (877) 554-1041
Fax: (518) 564-5267
Email: cees@plattsburgh.edu