This field humanizes victims of environmental disaster in a way that scientific reports can’t really do. It bridges the gap really well between science and people… -Meghan Hurley ’20
Major: Environmental Policy
EH courses taken: Introduction to Environmental Humanities: Stories of Crisis and Resilience; Climate Fiction; Landscapes and Meaning
What made you want to pursue EH?
Its always something I’d been interested in, I just didn’t know there was a field called EH. My two main interests have always been the environment and English, writing and story telling. Then this field happened to come along which combines them both so perfectly. As soon as I heard about the classes and the beginning of this initiative I was interested right away.
I want to take as many EH courses here as I can. I am taking a documentary film making course right now, as well as fiction writing and my ecology and environment courses and I think the combination of those is really interesting- getting the science background as well as experience purely in the humanities. I think I would want to do something using different forms of media like documentary and also using environmental knowledge in storytelling.
Have you used EH in any of your projects or summer work?
I have thought about it a lot in documentary filmmaking. The first documentary I made for another documentary filmmaking course was on Allen Island. I focused on different animal species there, comparing domesticated to non-domesticated species. There are a lot of sheep on the island and I used those as a focus. What made me think of that idea was a story called “Goat Man” that we read in the first EH class about this man who tried to live as a goat and gain the perspective of a goat. So I thought what would it be like to gain the perspective of a sheep?
I know I would love to do something in environmental humanities in the future. Depending on how this documentary course goes, I think it would be really interesting to use that form of media because it reaches people really well to spread stories of the environment and make people care about the environment. I also really like writing too, so I was thinking of some kind of environmental journalism or storytelling.
What do you like most about EH?
How it humanizes victims of environmental disaster in a way that scientific reports can’t really do. I think it bridges the gap really well between science and people, and that was a piece of the environmental field that was missing, because you have policy and science and what you really need for env change is to have people on board. The general public really needs to care and change their behavior to make environmental change. I think the way to reach the general public is by using emotion or stories of real people.