Environmental Sustainability

Water-Class-1128122012-11-281Deerfield Academy aims to teach issues of environmental sustainability across the curriculum. We currently have three courses focused on environmental sustainability and many other courses that use themes of sustainability to illustrate classroom concepts. Some highlights include:

  • Advanced Placement (AP) / Cambridge Global H20: This course examines sources of fresh water, global competition for this resource, the mitigation of pollution, and the legal issues associated with the struggle to acquire and use water. Through research and inquiry, students will evaluate the “triple bottom line” by analyzing the economic, social, and environmental impacts of each case. Employing an interdisciplinary approach designed to foster inquiry, global awareness, and independent thinking, this seminar will feature guided discussion, student presentations, guest speakers, chemistry lab work, and field trips to local sites. This course is taken concurrently with the English course American Currents.

  • Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Science: The central theme of global sustainability is developed through lectures and debates while specific topics are explored by means of case studies, laboratory activities and field trips to local sites. The material is multi-disciplinary in nature and students are encouraged to draw upon a wide range of academic resources, including readings in sociology, ethics, economics, law and ecology.

  • Environmental Science Projects: This hands-on course encourages students to apply their knowledge of environmental science to the real world through research, projects, and case studies. Students design experiments to analyze the world around them, seeking to find solutions to real environmental problems. Experiments may look at both ecological and human systems, such as monitoring animal diversity in the forest, analyzing campus greenhouse gas emissions, or monitoring local air and water quality.

  • Modern Times: Students in this history course investigate the political and social ramifications of climate change.

  • Environmental topics and themes are also touched on in many other courses such as Physics, Biology, Chemistry, and Geology from the science departmentEnergy Dashboard and climate data is analyzed in math courses, and the English department offerings of American Currents and American Frontiers explore themes of nature and ethics.

  • In the fall of 2011, the English Department sponsored the Fall 2011 Academy Events speaker W.S. Merwin, then the Poet Laureate of the United States. Merwin is known for both writing and activism concerning the environment. Students studied Merwin’s poetry in their English classes in preparation for this event.

  • Students also engage environmental issues outside the classroom, in the dorms and in the dining hall.