Hi, I’m on the faculty here at College of the Atlantic (COA) in Bar Harbor Maine.
By training, I’m a physical chemist, but because we’re so small (~325 students) I get to teach all of the chemistry classes here at the college. If we had departments, I’d be ‘the chemistry department” – but that doesn’t quite fit since all of us here try to wear ‘human ecologist’ hats as much as possible. Indeed, COA grants only one undergraduate degree, the B.A. in Human Ecology.
I’m at such a place because I’m interested in how chemistry can help us understand how our world impacts us and how we impact our world. I’m interested in why we believe this odd notion that everything (?) is made up of these little atoms bouncing to and fro. (And in what this perspective DOESN’T explain and how it may evolve into something more useful.) I’m interested in how this perspective can explain why you can see through windows and not walls. I’m interested how this perspective explains where the atmosphere and the oceans have come from – and where they go to. And I’m interested in how this somewhat odd perspective can make us more responsible citizens.
To me, the latter includes becoming more aware:
* of the materials that we use,
* of the sources of those materials,
* of the impacts that the production, use and disposal of such materials has on our world, and
* of the impacts that such impacts, in turn, have on us.
Some of my current guiding principles include:
* nobody can do nothing
* the non-human world isn’t any kinder or more thoughtful than the human
* if you give them a chance, most people will try to do good things
* screw-ups are inevitable.
* so diversity is good in that it limits the impacts of any screw-ups..