Green Education Helps Students Make Sustainable Decisions

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COLUMBIA - With concerns like poor water quality, pollution and climate change, everyone from scientists to politicians are trying to find ways to tackle the world's environmental problems. And these days young adults are even receiving the fundamentals to make eco-friendly decisions.

According to to MU Associate Professor of Soil Sciences, Randy Miles, human growth is one of the main reasons for the depletion of the world's natural resources.

"Because of an increasing population of human beings worldwide there is a greater pressure on all the resources, whether it be soil, trees, vegetation, as well as water," Miles said.

However, more and more students at the collegiate level are learning ways to combat these issues. Miles said students who study environmental sciences receive the fundamentals to make educated decisions and management applications when it comes to protecting the environment.

This was true for Carrie Hargrove, who is the farm manager at Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture. She earned a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Sciences, and took classes like soil science, botany and several biology classes that she said prepared her for the decisions she makes on a daily basis.

"Those classes have helped me kind of gave me a foundation of understanding of how I should lay out this farm and how to plants can be grown in a sustainable manner as far as producing a lot of vegetable crops that we can eat but also not totally degrading the natural ecosystems," Hargrove said.

As the manager of an urban farm it is Hargrove's duty to not only maximize fruit and vegetable production in an environmentally sustainable and culturally sustainable way, but also teach these practices to the community.The idea is that an empty lot, or even a garden in a backyard can provide a person's daily food needs.

Environmental Science degree programs are offered across mid-Missouri. These schools include Central Methodist University, University of Central Missouri, Columbia College, East Central College, Lincoln University, Truman State,Westminster College and the University of Missouri.