I love teaching environmental studies courses at Chaminade. Part of the reason is that I find that at Chaminade -- which is one of THE most diverse schools in the country -- there about three kinds of students who major in Environmental Studies.
(1) Students from Micronesia, American Samoa and other less developed Pacific Islands who really live IN nature still and come from ecocentric cultures in which nature features prominently in their worldview. These students simply KNOW the value and joy of nature. Many are concerned. They are seeing firsthand reef fish dwindle, trash becoming a problem and development creating urban "slums."
(2) Students from Hawaii who know nature, play in nature, perhaps collect flowers for lei or fish frequently who know that the amount of forested areas, the health of reefs, etc. are on the decline. These students want to protect that which they used traditionally and that on which they know our tourism-based economy depends. The Hawaiians have a tradition of "malama aina" -- taking care of the land. They believe that if you take care of it, it will take care of you. Many students feel that we really need to develop carefully (if at all) and bring back or protect old values.
(3) Mainland students who are aware of all the "classic" enviro issues: resource depletion, endangered species, air and water pollution, global warming, the ozone hole. These students come with a global perspective and a lot of passion to fix what is obviously broken or at risk of becoming broken.
I admire and enjoy teaching all of these students. Together they make it a joy to teach at Chaminade and they learn so much from each others' diverse experiences and concerns. By the time they graduate, they are ready to help problem solve environmental issues spanning the most-global of concerns, like global warming and international fisheries issues, down to the most local pressing issues faced by small island populations, like the impact of the cruise ship industry.
~ Dr. Gail