Hi, after 37 years of teaching at College of the Atlantic (COA) in Bar Harbor Maine, I’m moving on to whatever comes next. (I’m thinking somewhere in Colorado…)
By training, I’m a physical chemist, but because COA is so small (~325 students) I got to teach all of the chemistry classes here at the college. If we had departments, I would have been ‘the chemistry department” – but that doesn’t quite fit – since faculty here try to wear ‘human ecologist’ hats as much as possible. Indeed, COA grants only one undergraduate degree, the B.A. in Human Ecology – the study of how humans interact with their worlds .
I came to COA because I was interested in how chemistry can help us understand how our world impacts us and how we impact our world. I was (and am) interested in why we believe this odd notion that every “thing” (?) 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..
I’m going to try to work ore on this blog now that I’m no longer teaching in the classroom. I hope to make materials that I”ve used in my classes available for others to use, and hope to add things like a place where we can ask each other about things that we don’t understand as well as we’d like to. So stay tuned!