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College Develops New Program in Sustainability

Middlesex County College will offer a new program in Sustainability Sciences starting in the Fall of 2018. Parag Muley of the Natural Sciences Department says this field is a critical one for the planet.

“There are two questions of what, and one question of why,” he said. “The ‘What’ questions are ‘What are some of the unique characteristics of planet earth that makes life possible?’ and ‘What impact are humans having on these characteristics?’ The ‘Why question is ‘Why would someone knowingly impact their own life support system?’ It’s analogous to someone on a tree branch cutting that branch off behind him. Each and every aspect of civilization intersects with this idea of sustainability.”

He suggests there’s a way to address this.

“The biggest component to all this is going to be education,” he said.

While the program won’t officially start until the fall, he is already teaching two sections of a new course, Introduction to Sustainability, which will be paired with two existing environmental sciences courses. Dr. Muley is teaching two sections of the intro course this spring, which are both at capacity. And Professor Claire Condie is teaching Climatology this semester. Dr. Condie has been leading students on beach cleanups for years.

The curriculum is designed to seamlessly transfer to New Jersey colleges and universities that offer environmental sciences majors.

MCC is a member of the New Jersey Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability, which promotes education and sustainable practices at the state’s colleges and universities.

Dr. Muley said sustainability has many applications in engineering, business, political science, psychology and education and he expects the program will expand with options in those areas.

“It’s one of the most critical issues for our future,” he said.