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.
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 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 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."
Lauren Young ('18)
"Participating in the Sustainability Minor was by far one of my favorite experiences at Pepperdine. I am truly honored to attend a Christian university where the importance of God's creation is emphasized, and where faculty members are passionate about educating future generations on these meaningful topics. Taking courses that encourage students to openly discuss climate-related issues, the responsibility we have to the earth as humans and as Christians, and ways we can create meaningful change in our daily lives has inspired me to use my voice to share these issues with the public. I hope to use the knowledge I have gained as a Sustainability Minor in combination with my Media Production Major to create informative and inspiring documentaries on the various environmental issues that our planet currently faces to educate the public and create a positive difference in this world."
Elise Doan ('18)
"The Sustainability Minor Program was an important aspect of my Pepperdine experience because of my interest in various environmental issues impacting local and global communities around the world. The interdisciplinary approach allowed me the opportunity to understand complex issues from multiple perspectives and world views. Additionally, Pepperdine's annual Climate Calling event allowed me to learn from highly credited and renowned sustainability thinkers such as Dr. Katherine Hayhoe, Dr. Sylvia Earle, and Paul Hawkin. Furthermore, my involvement with the on-campus environmental club, Green Team, has allowed me to share my sustainability knowledge and organize activities for change. Participating in the Sustainability Minor as a Business Administration Major has benefitted me greatly and has prepared me for my future endeavors as I look to incorporate Sustainability into my career."
Emily Tanaka ('18)
The Sustainability minor is a versatile degree that is increasingly relevant to contemporary issues around the world. Sustainability is a global topic that continues to show promising opportunity for our generation. The sustainability minor at Pepperdine honed many of my reading, writing, and analytical skills through the challenging interdisciplinary classes ranging from communications to natural science. I feel confident in my knowledge of the environment, contemporary sustainability, and my own academic abilities. However, the greatest attribute of the sustainability minor is the moral perspective it provides to all of its students. Pepperdine's sustainability minor holds students to a high moral standard. It is the passion of Dr. Doran and all of the professors involved in the minor that is truly inspiring and makes this degree so special.
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.
Contact Our Division
Religion and Philosophy Division
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263-4352
Division Office Location:
Daniel A. Rodriguez
Chair & Professor of Religion