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Program Overview

In the early twenty-first century, environmental challenges including deforestation, climate change, pollution, water resources, habitat loss, and the food and energy needs of a growing population are among the most pressing issues facing the world. Many environmental processes operate at a global scale and, as such, may create large-scale natural and human consequences that cannot be addressed solely from within a single nation. At the same time, locality-specific conditions are always at issue in addressing environmental processes, problems, and possibilities. Critical global environmental issues, then, require both specific area studies knowledge, knowledge that crosses traditional academic divisions such as that between the natural and human sciences, as well as global and international perspectives and cooperation. The Program on the Global Environment was created to address these needs.

The Program on the Global Environment is part of the Center for International Studies. Components of the interdisciplinary program include the Environmental Studies BA major and minor, the graduate Workshop on the Global Environment, conferences, lecture series and other events, liaison with student groups and the campus sustainability council, and public education and outreach. The program will also host visitors and post-doctoral fellows and encourage research collaborations across disciplinary divides.

About Our Logo

The Chicago area, despite its urban character, is home to significant biodiversity. Situated at the intersection of the northern boreal forest, prairie, savanna, and dune environments, Chicago is a crossroads for more than just our own species. Here the great eastern tallgrass prairies met oak-hickory woodlands as well as wetlands, savannas, swamps, and other associations, forming a complex mosaic of environments. The long history of human habitation in this region has significantly transformed local environments, but not all pre-contact environments have vanished and local efforts at restoration and conservation have begun to make a significant difference in the extent and health of indigenous plants and animals. Our logo is derived from the Hickory (Carya); local oak-hickory forests are dominated by Shagbark Hickory (C. ovata) and Bitternut Hickory (C. cordiformis).