The idea is to apply what you have been learning in the course to what is really going on in the world-your lifeworld, as the phenomenologists call it. This everyday world is our true environs, or surrounding world. In some sense, this assignment is an attempt to return to the place where, in a certain sense, you already are–as part of the world, as part of nature–you are really investigating a larger part of your own self-identity. Observe carefully what you see, hear, smell, and feel. Use what you have learned in the course to reflect on what you observe and experience, and try to take things in from the perspective of an environmental ethic, as you consider the various concepts introduced in the course of nature, of the land, of our world as an ecologically interdependent system.
The slide show, Environmental Field Trip Reports, features some excerpts from previous field trip reports. Please take a few minutes to see what others have done in response to this assignment. Please note that the assignment is to WRITE A REPORT, not do a PowerPoint slide show. The slide show that serves as an example here was made just for the purposes of sharing what other people have done on their field trips.
For an excellent example of this kind of this kind of thinking and writing, read Karen Warren’s Rock-Climbing Narrative, from her article, “The Power and the Promise of Ecofeminism.” Note the shift in her perspective and in her understanding of her experience of the natural world. Without labeling it as such, Warren has accomplished this shift in perspective and new kind of awareness by adopting the “phenomenological attitude” discussed by the ecophenomenologist philosophers we study in Unit 3.
Write a report that details your experience, and try to be as specific as possible. What were you expecting to encounter? What, exactly, did you observe? How did you decide where to go or what to look for? Did anything you studied cause you to see things differently than you have in the past? Did you make any critical discoveries or notice anything interesting or surprising (or shocking!) about the environment or area you visited? Assess anything you may find in terms of environmental and ecological sustainability issues and, if possible, come up with a recommendation for a possible solution or way to improve the situation, should you find a problem or environmentally sensitive situation. If you find no problems, perhaps you have not traveled far enough; or, perhaps you live in an area that is well attuned to environmental conservation issues and engages in sustainability practices. If that is the case, explain what is being done right.