A Semester Review

To continue the tradition of reviewing my semesters worth of classes here at Middlebury, below you’ll find what I took this semester and some analysis on it:

ENVS240 Science of Climate Change: I am not a “science person,” even though I am an environmental studies minor. I stay away from Middlebury’s gigantic Bicentennial Hall which houses all the science (except environmental). But for the first and last science class I’ll take at Middlebury, this was a phenomenal class. Prof. Wolfson’s mantra was that “it’s not enough to be an activist, you must know the science.” And it’s true, I can tell you all about watts per square meters of power, climate sensitivities, climate balance, sea level rise, and even Bill McKibben’s 350.org. I walked out of this class both accomplished and able to talk intelligently about climate change with most people.

ECON429 Latin American Foreign Trade and Aid: As a senior economics seminar, this small class was like a meeting of cronies since it was a lot of fellow IPEC majors interested in the political economy of Latin American countries. I’ll be the first to tell you that I walked in to the class knowing little to nothing about Latin America (I have yet to step foot on the continent). But I walked out with a better context of how those economies fit in to the world economy (and how it compares to my concentration in East Asia). My final paper in this class is on scaling small local projects.

RELI395 Religion, Ethics, and the Environment: This was the smallest class I’ve ever taken at Middlebury — 5 people. Intimacy, however, made this class really fun. There’s no sitting back and waiting for others to answer the questions. I particularly liked interviewing people about religion and the environmental connection for the midterm. The final had to do with creating sacred geography (and Hindi concept) for the United States. Overall, this course was a great reminder of world religion 101 (think middle school) and deeply probing some big questions.

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One thought on “A Semester Review”

  1. “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” In today’s environment, people tend to use statistics quite a bit. They tend to use persuasive power of numbers, the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments, and the tendency of people to disparage statistics that do not support their positions.

    Be very wary about people who use statistics! Startling statistics shape our thinking about social issues. However, all too often, these numbers are wrong. I see so many people manipulate data to justify decisions and conclusions.

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