Justin Bogda, ENST '14
The unique thing about the Environmental Studies major is that it does not draw from just one subject; it is an interdisciplinary study of all the science, policy, economics, and humanities that shape the environment in which we live. After two completed years of study, it has become strikingly clear that while the environment is the one thing that unites the entire world, it is our greatest divider when exploited as a resource rather than protected as our life source. As a junior double majoring in Environmental Studies and International Relations, I hope to work on shaping policies and enacting change that will ensure environmental protection on an international level.
In my second semester at USC, I had the incredible opportunity to receive my AAUS scientific diver certification and travel with a group of students and professors to Guam and Palau to conduct research in Palau’s Ngederrak Conservation Park marine protected area. We also looked at different policies and means of environmental protection, comparing Palau’s pristine marine ecosystems with many of Guam’s degraded marine and terrestrial environments, a result of American foreign security needs in the Pacific.
The environment is delicate, and with a growing age of international mobility, humans can quickly and easily destroy it. This summer, I am interning with the Catalina Island Conservancy, and one of our jobs is to help with the removal of invasive plant species on the island. With foreign plants from all over the world degrading the delicate ecosystem of Catalina, it is some of my first real life experience with how closely international development affects the global environment.
I am also currently working with the USC Office of Sustainability as the Communications and Marketing Lead, working to promote awareness of our campus’ sustainability efforts, and am currently working on establishing an “eco-tour” on our campus, the first of its kind. After my undergraduate work, I hope to pursue a law degree, and take the steps necessary to work in environmental law. My ultimate goal is to work in environmental international policy and law, and merge the two fields that I believe will be increasingly relevant to our ever-expanding society’s threatened environment.