10 Days in Iceland: Bowdoin and the Environment


I was kind of nervous coming to this
trip because a lot of the time when I am looking at a piece of nature, whether
it’s like a rock or maybe it’s a body of water. I don’t immediately jump to, oh like where did this come from? Or what is this? Sometimes you’re just looking at like, that’s beautiful. And I’m like, why do I need to think quantitatively when this is like beautiful to begin with, but then you get past this threshold where you’re
actually excited to know where things come from. Now that’s not taking away
from my appreciation of the landscape it’s like vastly improving it. We’re in a glacial lagoon where there’s like a glacier over their calving and making
all these icebergs that are floating around. But glaciers, I’ve learned about in class
but had never it wasn’t a lab class because there’s no glaciers hanging around Maine. So this is my first time like being able to like apply that
knowledge to the field. So it’s really cool to be finally able to experience it. We could go out there and say, oh look at this inflation feature and isn’t this cool?
And now we’re going to go see this and this is what this is, and this is what
this is and more of a show-and-tell approach. But I don’t think that empowers us all to be able to go forward and make our own interpretations. Because we’re at Bowdoin we’re able to have those resources to go out and do field
research and really learn and study a topic more than I’ve ever experienced. Reading a textbook is one thing and I remember seeing the picture of a glacier
like this but actually looking at it and being there and being in the moment and
taking so many classes on climate change and actually standing in a place where
climate change is actually happening, it just meant so much. There’s definitely so many environmental issues that need to be solved and I think collaboration is
huge. I know that I’ve learned so much from all of the other students on this
trip and it just shows you that when you’re trying to approach a problem it’s
really important, especially in the sciences, to have many different
perspectives and many different backgrounds. You need to kind of have an
open mind when you kind of approach these issues because not only are they
complex to understand but they’re continually like changing. So I think
having this kind of like adaptive mindset and just open-mind willingness
to learn and kind of glean bits of information from different fields,
whether it’s like within the sciences or things you learn from our liberal arts
education — I think that’s really valuable. I think the connection to place
that we’re gaining through this experience is really important because
we’re now like more connected to the earth and that’s gonna make us more
likely to try and save the earth.

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