A Master’s Degree in Taking Responsibility

By Meika Jensen

The infamous Heisenberg Uncertainty principle concludes that we cannot observe an event without influencing it. Once primarily true on the quantum level, the latest broad views on science and sociology suspect it holds true for the greater world, too. With our climate-changing habits and environment-altering progress, the “event” of the world has been changed by our very presence. Of late the mark of humankind on the globe has become so extreme that some scientists suggest a new age has begun, the Anthropocene Era, where change is not geological in origin but – from irrigation to forest-stripping – mostly man-made.

Sound like undergraduate philosophy? Maybe something from a top masters degree program? Well, it is, actually. Environmental Science degrees have become a common option for American universities, teaching students about the effect people have on the environment and how to mitigate the damage. Graduate level programs take the concept one step further, encouraging students to create their ecological solutions or employ green tech to save money and energy at the same time.

Making a Difference

This evolution in education shows a promising trend toward environmental awareness. If humans really are creating the next age of the earth, such graduate programs are the forefront of our development. Changing the world for the better means seizing our new opportunities and taking care of the world, not just for our children but also for the world itself. Awareness is a sizable piece of the puzzle, as seen in the rush of government regulation over energy efficiency and carbon footprints. But true inspiration often starts in the classroom.

Master’s degrees in environmental studies are just the beginning. After all, only a small portion of students is aiming for jobs in ecology or scientific research. Of greater influence are the MBA programs in sustainable development. These teach students to use recycling, low environmental impact, and energy efficiency to their benefit when managing businesses. Not only can companies tap into government benefits by becoming more environmentally friendly, they can also save money, increase profits, and sponsor new, lucrative innovations.

Benefits are similar in the tech sphere, where degrees support the development of low-energy technologies and the use of new materials, which result in less waste, fewer toxins, and lower energy use. Specialties focus on energy design, city planning, and even electrical engineering.

Of course, as the degrees become more common the need for talented educators also increases, which creates a new market niche for environmentally skilled teachers. If humanity plays its cards right, this new environmental control could end up benefiting – well, everyone.


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