When I signed up for this course, I was pretty much prepared to be bored the whole time. I had heard bits and pieces from my friends who’d taken the class, but their reviews left a lot to be desired. I was told to take the class during the summer because it would be drier – whoever told me that LIED THROUGH THEIR TEETH. I love being in the water and all, but being up to mid thigh in the middle of a swamp in the middle of the summer is not what I would consider being “drier.” I didn’t need someone to tell me why I need to work for sustainability and that the earth is in trouble from the human population – I knew that already.
I’ve realized that, like many things, there are pros and cons to taking this class in the summer. Pro: it’s shorter in time than in the fall or summer; Con: there is two times more work to be done that in a regular semester. Pro: all field trips are taken in the morning before it “gets hot” – even though I got so sweaty that I’m not entirely sure I didn’t take a shower with my clothes on every week; Con: I had to be in class by 8:00am and didn’t get out until nearly 3:00pm. Pro: I get to learn more about the environment in Southwest Florida; Con: I already knew a lot of the information that was shared. I get that this class is for everyone on campus, and I understand why everyone needs to take it, but I was a little bored at times.
So what did I really love about this class? What kept me coming to every class despite the fact that I knew I’d be a hot, sweaty mess all the time? The answer is simple: my professor. Dr. Ndiang’ui is so passionate about this material that you can’t help be excited to learn every day. He made all of the sweating and extra homework and extra rain worth the time. I have always been passionate about the earth and its oceans, saving it and making it better. The problem I have faced is that the people I come in contact with don’t always have the same views as me. They don’t think there’s a problem with the earth, and don’t see a need to “do all this extra stuff” that’s required to make our planet more sustainable. I guess they just think there’s going to be a big reset button once everything is depleted. Dr. Ndiang’ui shares my passion about saving the planet, and he wears it like a badge of honor on his chest. He’s inspiring and funny, his energy is palpable – he makes you want to care. It’s so hard to find people who legitimately understand and care about the condition of our planet – Dr. Ndiang’ui is awesome because he does.
I’ve gained more knowledge about the environment in Southwest Florida (which was my goal), helped a really cool organization with its animals, and made some good friends. Overall this class wasn’t so bad. Would I do it again in the summer? Probably not. Would I do it again at all? Also probably not. Do I think this class is a waste of time? Absolutely not. We need more classes like this – in all schools all over the country. We shouldn’t save this subject for college students – we should have elementary school children learning about our environment. On the very first day of class we learned about biophilia – the love of the environment. In order for a person to experience biophilia, they need to be exposed to nature as soon as possible and as often as possible. Children need to go outside, into the woods and on the beaches, and they need to experience the beauty that is our planet so that they will want to protect our planet.
If anything, this class has made me that much more passionate about our planet. I have much more drive to learn as much as I can and do as much as I can to make our planet more livable. We only get one planet, and we must do everything we can to keep it habitable for future generations. We cannot continue how we’re going – once it’s gone, it’s gone. When will we figure that out?