As a share of national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), postsecondary degree-granting institutions totaled to 3.2%, or $460 million of total GDP (National Center for Education Statistics, 2011). These institutions have the vital resources such as human capital and purchasing power used to influence students who will participate in all sectors of the economy including the private, public, and non-profit sectors.
With this immense capacity for impact comes the responsibility of providing students with the foundation to meet the complex issues of the day. Because climate change and social justice in the face of climate change has risen to the consciousness of many American minds, our universities must prepare our communities for the calamity that could result if we stay on this course of inaction. In the case of students, we must ask for and expect a wholesome education, which includes an interdisciplinary study of sustainability in the environment.
Divergent thinking allows us to interpret complex social and environmental issues in a way that invites solutions from all realms of life. No matter what field of knowledge, solutions to issues of climate change, overpopulation, environmental degradation, etc. will come from well-informed citizens.