California State University, Sacramento

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Environmental Studies Welcome new Department Chair, Dr. Wayne Linklater!

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About the Environmental Studies Program

The Environmental Studies Program at California State University, Sacramento, arose at a time when concern was peaking with the deterioration of the natural environment. Rachel Carson had released her book Silent Spring, which highlighted the hazards of the pesticide DDT and questioned humanity's faith in technological progress. Carson's book influenced social change and served as the foundation for the contemporary environmental movement. Americans began to recognize problems with air pollution, water pollution, soil erosion, deforestation, and resource limitations. Concurrently, many academicians found that their programs were too specialized to study and understand complex environmental problems. As a result, faculty and students began to explore approaches to curricula that could address the interdisciplinary nature of environmental problems.

A group of faculty members at California State University, Sacramento, took on the task of creating a curriculum to study environmental problems. Professors in Bioscience, Engineering, Physics, Sociology, and other programs created an interdisciplinary major by drawing on existing courses throughout the university.

The Director of the new Environmental Studies Program was Dr. Wes Jackson, a young geneticist who had published the first text widely used in courses on environmental problems. In 1971-72, Dr. Jackson was joined by Professor Charles Washburn (Mechanical Engineering), Dr. Angus Wright, a Latin American Historian, and Dr. Valerie Anderson, a biologist and human ecologist, to round out the program. A formal Environmental Studies Department, located in the College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies, was created in 1990 and today houses 10 full- and part-time faculty and over 180 undergraduate majors.

Degree Tracks

  • Bachelor of Science Degree: Environmental Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree: Environmental Studies
  • Minor: Environmental Studies