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University of Rhode Island — Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
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Ashley Charleson
URI Student Profile

Being such a small part of such a large plan, it’s hard to imagine what just one person can contribute in order to change the world for the better. With so much activity, it can be tough to decide where your efforts will best be utilized. Doctors study medicine in order to save lives, lawyers study law so that they can promote justice, and teachers study education in order to guide young minds. I want to save the environment, so what should I study?

As a marine affairs/environmental sciences major, my main focus is ocean management, a job far more tasking than a simple beach clean up or a “Save the Whales” rally. From studying environmental resource economics, I’ve learned that any chance of making a difference begins with understanding the role of natural resources to the economy. It teaches that in order to ensure the availability of these resources to future generations, we must develop more sustainable methods of managing them. I plan on pursuing environmental economics as a second major as I believe it satisfies both my passion for the environment and curiosity as to how dependent our economy is on the environment and vice versa.

The future of our nation is dependent upon the educated public to be aware of the environment that supports us. It is certain that the environment is quickly becoming one of the most dominant issues and challenges of the 21st century. As our needs grow to match the growth of global population, we continue to push the limits of the earth’s ecosystems and resources. It comes as no surprise that, in the decades to follow, the public will often be called upon understand and evaluate complicated environmental issues and proposed environmental plans, as well as understand the repercussions their own actions have (on the environment) at local, national, and global scales. I want to save the earth by creating a more sustainable future, and that future begins with understanding resource economics.