AUNE Environmental Studies: Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability

“Is it enough for a scientist to publish a paper? Isn’t it a responsibility of scientists, if you believe that you have found something that can affect the environment, isn’t it your responsibility to actually do something about it, enough so that action actually takes place? Nobel laureate chemist Mario Molina (as quoted in Blockstein, 2002)

The Future of Advocacy in the 21st Century Abigail Abrash Walton

Abigail Abrash Walton, Director Advocacy

You choose the scale

Choice of venue matters and so do your passions and professional path. Whether you want to effect change at the community, state, national, or international level, we’ll support you at whatever scale you want to make a difference.

Choose the Peace Corps option and substantially reduce your tuitionPeace Corps icon

Advocacy students can combine Peace Corps service with our Master’s International Program and save thousands in tuition.

You choose the means

Create a video documentary on communities affected by contaminated drinking water. Develop carbon-reduction programs for businesses. Challenge gold mining operations on sacred tribal lands. Advocate for pro-environmental corporate shareholder proposals. Or communicate science to inform land and water protection policies. We’ll support you in whatever means you choose to do your advocacy work.

You choose the job

Where do you want to make a difference? Create effective policies in local, state, national, and/or international arenas. Direct community-based organizations, research solutions to critical environmental and social challenges, or lead communications and development projects for a range of organizations. Advance clean energy. Mitigate climate change and help communities adapt to its impacts. Lead conservation and sustainable resource initiatives. Direct organizations committed to economic, environmental, and social justice. You choose the type of job you want and we’ll help you prepare for it and get it!

Advocates Can Change the WorldChoose a Professional Science Masters Option

Advocacy students who want to build a stronger grounding in science can choose to earn a Professional Science Master’s Certificate in addition to their M.S. in Environmental Studies.



Program Delivery

  • 42 credits
  • Fall & Spring Entry
  • Classes 2 days a week plus an internship
  • 5 semesters to complete

Antioch University New England is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Track 1: Students who choose Track 1 register for 4 courses in both their first Fall and first Spring semesters. This track provides students with an opportunity to schedule the entire Summer and/or Spring II semesters off campus. *This is the preferred sequence for those intending to do a Master’s Thesis or Master’s Project. Track 2: Students who choose Track 2 register for a maximum of 3 courses per semester. This Track provides students with a more evenly paced sequence of coursework throughout their program. REQUIREMENTS: 42 CREDITS Select any 3 out of 4 Core courses Core (C), 9 credits; Concentration (T), 6 credits; Methods: courses selected by student, 18 credits; Internship, 6 credits; Capstone Project, 3 credits

Track 1

Track 2

Fall I (12 credits)Earth Systems and Climate Change (C)(3)Community Ecology of the New England Landscape (C)(3)Advocacy: The Essentials (T)(3) Methods(3) Fall I (9 credits)Earth Systems and Climate Change (C)(3)Community Ecology of the New England Landscape (C)(3)Advocacy: The Essentials (T)(3)
Spring I (12 credits)Political Economy of Sustainability (C)(3)Advocacy: Applied Methods (T)(3)Methods (3) Methods (3) Spring I (9 credits)Political Economy of Sustainability (C)(3)Advocacy: Applied Methods (T)(3)Methods (3)
Summer (3 credits)Internship I (3) Summer (6 credits)Internship I (3)Methods (3)
Fall II (9 credits)Leadership for Change (3)Methods (3)Methods (3) Fall II (9 credits)Leadership for Change (3)Methods (3)Methods (3)
Spring II (6 credits)Capstone Project (3)Internship II (3) Spring II (9 credits)Capstone Project (3)Methods (3)Internship II (3)


Sample Method courses include:

  • Building Sustainable Organizations (BSO)
  • Citizen Participation and Sustainable Communities
  • Civic Ecology Practices and Community Resilience
  • Climate Change: Resilience, Adaptation and Mitigation
  • Coastal Geoecology of New England (Fall 2011 field study trip)
  • Community & School-based Sustainable Food Systems
  • Conservation Biology
  • Conservation Psychology Theory & Practice
  • Cuba: Sustainability and the New Food System (Fall 2012 registration; January 2013 field study trip)
  • Ecology and Management of Adirondack Mountains (Fall 2012 field study trip)
  • Diversity, Justice and Inclusion
  • Ecosystems of Mount Desert Island (Spring 2012 field study trip)
  • Energy and Materials Sustainability
  • Environmental Law
  • Environmental Assessment Techniques
  • Financial Administration
  • Foundations of Environmental Education
  • Geographic Information System (GIS)
  • Integrated Conservation of Tropical Ecosystems: Costa Rica (Spring 2012, March field study trip)
  • Land Use and Community Planning
  • Making Sense of Place
  • Natural Resource Inventory
  • New England Flora
  • Non Profit Organizations & Social Entrepreneurship
  • Ornithology
  • Principles of Sustainability
  • Program Evaluation for Environmental and Conservation Educators
  • Proposal Writing and Project Management
  • Qualitative and Quantitative Research Design Techniques
  • Research Seminar
  • Science and Environmental Communications
  • Social Entreprenuership
  • Social Justice and Cultural Competency
  • Soil Ecology
  • Soils Mapping and Interpretation
  • Vertebrate Ecology: Mammalogy
  • Wetlands Ecology
  • Wildlife & Forest Management

Over the last five decades, there has been exponential growth in the number of social movement organizations, a significant growth in memberships and budgets, and a corresponding growth in the number of paid advocacy positions available.

Eight Areas Where You Can Do Good Work

  1. Professional public interest advocacy organizations usually work on a single issue or set of issues through research and education, lobbying, litigation, inter-group coalition building, and high-level negotiations with decision-makers.
  2. Grassroots organizations mobilize specific communities and constituencies to take collective action through community organizing, popular education, community development, alternative institutions, and direct action campaigns.
  3. Labor unions and professional associations represent and mobilize their members on political, economic, and social issues of interest to members and the public.
  4. Progressive electoral public policy groups such as third parties, major party caucuses, non-partisan groups, and Political Action Committees.
  5. Social action training and political education groups work with other advocacy organizations and activists to build up their personal and organizational capacities as advocates and organizers.
  6. Research and data management organizations help meet the information needs of social movement organizations, often in direct collaboration and sometimes even with the full participation of community and public interest groups.
  7. Progressive media and cultural groups produce documentaries, radio shows, books and periodicals, web-pages for activists and the public; offer public relations assistance to activist groups seeking to influence the mass media; and create art, music, and theater that inspire activists and the public.
  8. Progressive, social change philanthropy groups including individual foundations and coordinating groups like National Network of Grantmakers and the Donor Organizers Network.

Crisis, Faith, and Action: A Talk By Steve Chase to the Massachusetts Bible Society

At the February 2012 luncheon of the Massachusetts Bible Society, Quaker Transition activist and Antioch professor Steve Chase addressed the topic of transitioning to a Beloved Community in an era of peak oil, climate change, and a dysfunctional global economy. Among the questions addressed are: some key questions: How can we draw on our faith traditions to resist the pulls of empire and consumerism, and unleash our creativity and love of our neighbors and God’s good earth? How can we respond to the challenges of our time with an inspiring vision of Beloved Community in the 21st Century that moves us beyond either denial or despair and helps us cultivate an inward state of blessed unrest and an outward engagement in creative faith-based activism? What can we start doing now to foster a transition to a more livable, just, relocalized, and neighborly post-oil world?

Steve Chase presents at the Psychology-Ecology-Sustainability Conference

Presentation by Steve Chase, PhD at the Psychology-Ecology-Sustainability Conference on the campus of Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon on June 9, 2007. The talk is entitled “Creative Maladjustment: Activism as a Way to Heal Self, Society, and Planet.” The first few minutes has technical problems, but the talk really gets rolling soon after.

Steve Chase Speaks at Quaker Conference

Click here for this hour-long interview conducted at a Quaker conference at the University of Pittsburgh, Johnstown campus. It aired on a program called Spirit In Action. Steve’s episode, “Activating the Activists,” is focused on his own activist history and the spiritual roots of his work, and includes lots of information about the EAOP program (now the Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability concentration) and the Department of Environmental Studies Antioch University New England.

The Activist Legacy of Martin Luther King: An Interview with EAOP Director Steve Chase

This 50 minute conversation between Steve Chase and Joseph Gainza, the host of the radio program “Gathering Peace,” was originally broadcast on April 1, 2008 by WGDR in Plainfield, VT, just a few days before the 40th Anniversary of MLK’s assignation. In it, Steve tells the story of how Martin Luther King became a reluctant activist during the Montgomery Bus Boycott and then discusses King’s political evolution over the years, his opposition to the US invasion and occupation of Vietnam, and how contemporary coalitions like Green For All are keeping the legacy of Martin Luther King alive and kicking.

ACT Radio Interviews Steve Chase on Activist Training and the EAOP

ACT Radio, or Animal Concerns of Texas, is broadcast by co-hosts Greg Lawson, Steve Best, and Elizabeth Walsh on KTEP–the NPR station in El Paso. Every other Sunday evening at 7:30, these radio activists offer a unique half-hour radio program in Texas that focuses on animals rights, human health, and related issues such as vegetarianism and environmental activism. In this 2007 Earth Day segment they interview Steve Chase on activist training in general and the Environmental Advocacy and Organizing Program in particular. Steve’s 23 minute interview starts about 7 minutes into the program, after some news and commentary. (Downloadable MP3 file)

Career Guidance in Environmental Advocacy: An Environmental Careers Organization Interview with EAOP Director Steve Chase

Click here to read this interview focused on such questions as: What is environmental organizing? What do organizers actually do? What are some of the key skills needed? What kind of jobs are available in the field of advocacy and organizing? What kind of starting salaries can beginning organizers expect in the coming years? What are the long-range goals that organizers ought to aspire to?

Perspectives On The Future: Environmental Studies Panel Explores Possibilities

Tom Wessels, Steve Chase, and Joy Ackerman, core faculty members from the Department of Environmental Studies came together at the end of 2008 to form a panel to imagine the state of things twenty years and more into the future at the regional, national, and global levels. Click here to listen or download podcast

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On this page, you can order books about activism (and anything else) through Powell’s Books, a progressive, family-owned, and unionized book seller. To sweeten the deal, we’ve arranged that 7.5% of the purchase price will be donated to the Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability Scholarship Fundat no extra cost to you. Please check out the categories below or use the search feature in the Powell’s icon below. Students are free to use this site, but may not use this link to Powell’s to buy course textbooks.

Environmental Issues and Politics

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