Sustainability Minor | Sustainability Courses | Pepperdine University | Seaver College

Sustainability Minor

The sun shines through the hefty branches of a massive tree

The Curriculum

Our interdisciplinary sustainability minor exposes students to environmental issues, allowing them a critical understanding of theological, philosophical, scientific, political, communicative, literary, business, and economic dimensions of contemporary global sustainability challenges. The sustainability minor is ideal for students who may pursue careers in law, ministry, government, journalism, or business, and for those interested in graduate school.

Our Students

Avery Davis

Avery Davis ('16)

"The Sustainability Minor was a program unlike anything else at Pepperdine. The dialogue-centered classes and seminars provided an interdisciplinary portrait of the social and environmental problems facing our world, and a holistic discussion about the ethics and future prospects for issues like climate change. These experiences were particularly enriched by the faith perspective of the classes, which allowed us to engage the subjects through a Christian ethical lens.This amazing program prepared me for the working world, where knowledge of sustainability is increasingly important, as well as the public world, where I can serve my community with skill and awareness about social, environmental, and economic issues."

 

Elizabeth TeklitsElizabeth Teklits ('17)

"Participating in the Sustainability Minor has been an integral part of my Pepperdine experience. Engaging with students and faculty outside of my major provided me with a network of individuals with differing skills and backgrounds who are similarly interested in positive interaction with our planet. Additionally, the program expanded my knowledge and understanding of environmental issues, introducing me to various perspectives while developing my own. I appreciate the opportunity to dialogue openly about the ethical implications of our choices, and to apply the Christian faith to planetary responsibility and will take this foundation of knowledge with me far beyond graduation."

 

Amberly GillAmberly Gil ('17)

"The Sustainability Minor broadened my understanding of sustainability, providing me with the opportunity to consider the issues involved from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. As a result, I am more educated and passionate about a topic that is quickly becoming more urgent for businesses, governments, and both local and global communities. As the effects of climate change increase and the amount of non-renewable resources decrease, there is a need for more sustainable businesses and business practices. Adding this minor to my business-oriented major, helped me identify that need and enabled me to pursue, participate in, and advocate for sustainable business and a sustainable future."

Our Program

An Interdisciplinary Program

The worldwide human population is estimated to reach a predicted 8.2 billion by 2025, and 9.6 billion by 2050. This population expansion places high demands on both nonrenewable and renewable natural resources, thus creating concern over the sustainability of these resources for future generations.

The concept of sustainability, as described by the United Nations World Commission on the Environment and Development and the National Research Council, emphasizes the long-term use of ecosystem services required for future generations of humans and the environment.

Sustainability starts at the community level, and as such, any efforts at maintaining a balance between human needs and depletion of natural resources must involve a consideration of basic ecological principles, socio-economic needs, and a proper ethical foundation.

Pepperdine University's vision statement emphasizes the training of students for "purposeful lives as servant-minded leaders throughout the world." Sustaining the earth's natural resources is an issue that all future generations of world leaders will need to address, and educating those leaders requires cross-disciplinary exposure from several areas of the liberal arts curriculum including natural science, political science, literature, history, religion, business, economics, and communication.

 

 

Christian Context at Pepperdine

Pepperdine's sustainability minor practices the university's commitment to "truth, having nothing to fear from investigation, should be pursued relentlessly in every discipline." This minor seeks to instantiate the "purpose, service, and leadership" commitments of the Pepperdine mission, as we seek to develop the next generation of sustainability leaders who can examine problems from a service-minded, ethical perspective informed by the rich reservoir of knowledge within the Christian faith. For instance, the Christian affirmation of God as both Creator and Redeemer compels us to seek ecological health and integrity for nonhuman creatures as well as environmental justice for those Jesus calls "the least of these" (Matt 25:40).

This course correlates the Seaver College affirmation that "there are sources of truth deeper than those of secular culture: Moses, purveyor of divine laws; Amos, crying out for social justice and unfeigned piety; Paul, overwhelmed with both the reality of sin and the joy of forgiveness; and ultimately, Jesus of Nazareth, in whom God is uniquely revealed, and by whose death and resurrection all humankind can receive reconciliation with God."

The sustainability minor's interdisciplinary nature also fundamentally affirms the importance of a liberal arts education, as a foundation in the liberal arts and a creative avenue to show how they work together is needed to solve the world's sustainability-related problems. This commitment will further the University's goal of developing students who can apply knowledge ethically to real-world situations and impact the culture around them in the way that George Pepperdine envisioned decades ago.

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