I took Keith Peterson’s Philosophy of Nature which introduced me to a conceptual framework of analyzing science through a more critical lens.-
Jared Fong ’20
Major: Environmental Science
EH Courses taken: PL216: Philosophy of Nature; EN/ES 283: Environmental Humanities: Stories of Crisis and Resilience
How did you become interested in Environmental Humanities?
Coming in to Colby I was very much a strict science person and I spent most of two years doing just science. Spring semester last year I took Keith Peterson’s Philosophy of Nature course and that introduced me to a conceptual framework of analyzing science in general through a more critical lens. The works that we’ve read in his class piqued my interest into diving a little bit further into it. I’m also planning on taking Environmental Ethics with Keith Peterson and Life in times of Extinction with Chris Walker next semester.
What aspect of environmental studies have you been focusing on?
Mostly the movement of energies and materials through ecosystems and global systems.
Have you done any projects related to that?
We did. I worked with Denise Bruesewitz. I took a global change ecology class with her last fall. I did a project on methane emissions using different frameworks and different ways of communicating science. I did a reconstruction of a sedimentary column – one from a more naturalized area and one from a landfill – to show the difference in a physical way instead of trying to describe it through data.
Do you plan to use EH in the future?
I am actually going to do my thesis probably with Chris Walker on analyzing climate change solutions and environmentalism for biases towards neoliberalism and capitalist ideologies. That’s the direction I’m going in right now. I’ve become a little disillusioned with the sciences- kind of disenchanted- so I’m interested in taking a critical perspective on it.
Can you elaborate on what you’re questioning about it?
So a lot of times when I read scientific journals in a lot of the classes I’m in – I’m in a geochemistry class right now – I’m reading these papers and I’m like, OK, to what end are these papers? What is the point of producing this knowledge? Is it for the sake of production of knowledge or is it knowledge for some end to help someone or to make some type of change? What is the point of doing all this? What are we really doing this for, for our own personal glory or are we doing it to help someone in the long term? I’ve been looking at papers and science overall with a more critical-thinking perspective. How will this paper or how will this knowledge be used and what could possibly be the implications of it?
Can you describe a little about your thesis?
I’m thinking of going more toward audio-visual project. I’m planning on using a few pieces: I’m using Donna Haraway as a jumping off point in her criticism of the anthropocene concept versus capitalocene. And so I will delve into those and use those as a conceptual framework to go through some more prominent climate change solutions and environmental sentiments as a whole to analyze those and critique them.
Do you have an idea what you want to do after Colby?
I’m thinking about climate change communications, whether that’s in the form of education or community engagement, so using both my science background and my interest in EH to connect the two in communicating and being that bridge between some real hard core science and communities, and being able to show and teach people about what’s actually happening and what’s the science that’s going on behind it and communicating it in ways that are understandable.