Undergraduates Reflect on Environmental Humanities Courses

Sam Breyfogle, UCSB Environmental Studies major.

As a former chemistry major, “I came with a different perspective than most of my classmates, and it was great to have discussions and learn about their perspectives…and to see that they were so focused on the story and creating a narrative as a means of persuasion”

“We are here not because we own the planet but because of the planet — I think that’s equally important. That’s something that’s not really prevalent in society, this kind of awareness that we owe a lot to the environment.”

Dasha Sadovinikova, UCSB English major.

“I came in not knowing what to expect at all of literature and the environment, they don’t seem compatible. It’s like books and then it’s environmentalism — I was totally proven wrong…It exemplifies the tension between nature and culture…[which]…has been around for a while and these issues have been building and we’ve been ignoring them. I think it’s important to know that it all began with an attitude of neglect, and not one of reference or respect for what sustains us, which is the planet.”

Kiana Fatemi, UCSB English major.

Interested on how naturalism writings “illuminate how people view nature, even if they can’t access it physically they can access it through these books and how that’s affected people now in contemporary settings.”

“I know that one of the largest catalysts for change in terms of how people perceive the environment is through education and through consumption. I think my biggest contribution I can potentially ever make to the environment is creating awareness among other people.”

Rebecca Elster, Dual major: Dance, Literature.

“I’m very much interested in peoples stories and how they express them… I think the environment is just a huge part of what happens to people and when you actually pay attention to what you’re living and what you inhabit, you have to be more conscious of the way you approach life and what you’re doing with your life — almost look at your body as a metaphor for the planet because it’s also where we live and you can kind of take it for granted as just a spot to enact your own life.”

Julia Olson, UCSB English major.

“I grew up in San Diego in a beach town and I surfed, so I was always a part of communities that were very environmentally conscious.”

“The Environmental Humanities Center is a really important space for critical discussions about the environment…I think it is really important to use the humanities to consider how we think about the environment, how we interact with it…and I think most importantly, how our social and political interactions with each other affects how we interact with the environment.”