Magazine article Alternatives Journal

New Problem Solvers

Magazine article Alternatives Journal

New Problem Solvers

Article excerpt

IT'S THAT TIME of year again when the hurly-burly of coursework emanates from campuses across the country. It is autumn, a time when universities and colleges get back to the business of education, and when hundreds of thousands of impassioned, eager minds seek insight, inspiration and ideas that can be the catalyst for positive change.

AU has never really left the campus setting from our founding at Trent University in 1971 through our subsequent move to the University of Waterloo's Faculty of Environment in 1985. We have watched as apprehensive young first-year students became confident Master's candidates--and then flew off to careers as varied as you can imagine.

The beginning of a new school year is always filled with nervous excitement. Today, as Canada tries to discern the optimal path forward that balances economic opportunity with environmental protection, we all wait with bated breath for the next generation of problem-solvers and solutions-finders to make their voices heard. All that's needed is to connect these students with a meaningful opportunity to put their educations to work helping businesses, governments, agencies and organizations to find new sustainable models of operations.

Since AU's first Education Directory, published in 1999, we have watched with admiration the exponential growth in interest in environmental issues. This has been paralleled by an explosion in the number of postsecondary institutions offering a wide variety of environmental education options. Today in Canada, more than 110 colleges and universities offer some type of environmental education from field training certificates to Masters' of Environmental Business. Many of these postsecondary institutions now have full environmental faculties and are training students in a wide gamut of skills and knowledge-transfer that will allow them to make tangible, and immediate, impacts once they've begun their careers.

And that, after all, is the whole point of the academic exercise. Take idealistic and impassioned young minds, provide grounding in the principles of environmental theory, sprinkle in real-world training and experience in their preferred practice areas, and then provide them with the tools and opportunities to put their ideas into action in workplaces across the country. …

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