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Environmental Studies

Breaking News: 

Summer Classes to Look For:

Environmental Studies will be offering ENVS 325: Environmental Issues Through Film, this Summer. Instructor: Gabriel Valle

Geography will also be offering a online, asynchronous version of GEOG: Intro to Physical Geography this summer.  Instructor: Elizabeth Ridder.

Environmental Studies Offering New Course

As you look for classes to take next fall, consider ENVS 390-7: Leisure, Recreation and The Environment.  

The growing social phenomenon of nature-based outdoor recreation and sustainable tourism raises a host of environmental challenges. Working with Professor Gabriel Valle, Students will explore the environmental impact of leisure and recreation and be introduced to the potential and limitations of sustainable tourism as they assess the connections between ecotourism and social justice.

The course will count as a social science elective for the major and minor.

Hike with Professors


The Environmental Studies Program offers students two interdisciplinary options.  The Baccalaurate degree with broad training in the physical and life sciences, social sciences, policy and law, and the arts and humanities and a Minor in Sustainability.  

The B.A. program introduces students to a wide range of research methods and techniques used in environmental careers from field techniques to geographic information systems.  There are extensive opportunities on and off-campus for internships and field experiences providing hands-on learning and real world training.  

If you are a student considering Environmental Studies, you will find  that our majors are able to: 

  • Describe the major physical processes affecting environmental resources. 
  • Explain and analyze the impacts of human activity on the environment
  • Critically analyze environmental problems and solutions from multiple perspectives including environmental justice. 
  • Describe the process of environmental policy development locally, nationally, and globally.
  • Evaluate environmental issues from an ethical and aesthetic standpoint  
  • Collect, organize, interpret, write about and present research and information about historical and contemporary environmental issues. 

ENVS FieldtripMany of our graduates find work in environmental education, parks and recreation, environmental planning, restoration, and management, and sustainability.  They can be found in the private, non-profit, and public sectors.  The degree is also a great way to prepare for graduate school in a wide range of fields.  Check out the Student Video about the ENVS Program and Welcome to the ENVS Family!

Kudos, Props, and Other Program News 

Gabriel Valle was recently promoted to Associate Professor.  Congratulations Prof. Valle!

Congratulations are also due to the Program's Lecturers, Anne Dabb and Christina Simokat, who both received 3 year contracts this Spring.  Well Done!

Professors Valle and Guthey along with Professor Matthew Atherton and Professor Jill Weigt in the Sociology Department received a two-year grant from the CSU Chancellor's Office to promote food literacy and support Student Basic Needs on campus! 

Christina Simokat was named the CSUSM President's Outstanding Lecturer!  AND, she received a Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities Grant for her Pollinator research!!  Congratulations Christina!!!

Professor Valle stepped down as Program Director for now and Professor Guthey is Program Director in Fall 2020.

If you haven't done so already, check out Professor Valle's book:

Gabriel Valle's Book

***Winner of Two Awards!***

2017 Best Edited Volume by the Society for the Study of Food and Society

2018 Essential Reading by the American Library Association

Congratulations Professor Valle!

Black Lives Matter

In the spirit of the countless social movements that have come before us, with all those who have taught us about justice, dignity, and perseverance, we stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and all those (too) many others killed before them are violent reminders of the continuing legacy of racism in the United States, the institutionalization of white supremacy, and the need for structural transformation. Despite centuries of struggle for the basic human dignity of people of color in this country, we are still in a place where once again millions of voices, including ours, must clamor for recognition of what should already be a given, that BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Environmental Studies is a discipline born out of a social movement to improve our quality of life. Our efforts must extend beyond the conservation of open spaces or the preservation of endangered species.  Environmental problems disproportionately impact people of color and will never be satisfactorily addressed while embedded in a racially unjust system. Racism disrupts our efforts to both build an equal and just society and to save the planet. As Naomi Kline so aptly puts it, to “change everything, we need everyone.”