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Cornerstone Classes Learn on Hudson River Trip

Iona College Biology Professor Joseph Stabile led a field trip on the Hudson River on Veteran’s Day to teach about the Hudson River environment and history. The trip stretched from Midtown Manhattan to just north of the Tappan Zee Bridge. About 100 freshmen and several faculty members went on the trip as part of the Columba Cornerstone Earth section of Iona’s new core curriculum. 

The trip to the Hudson River highlighted a class featuring a study of issues of earth sustainability in the classroom and issues of the local environment. Having secured a grant from Consolidated Edison, Dr. Stabile arranged for a study cruise of the Hudson River. Dr. Stabile said the classes discuss "Hudson River history, culture and environmental issues. The new core integrates concepts from the different disciplines. The Hudson River is a perfect living classroom to accomplish this goal. This is "America's River" and has played a pivotal role in the development of a new nation. It has been central to our history, economic development and important in the environmental movement.” 

The Columba Cornerstone Earth-themed seminar explores critical environmental issues through a variety of lenses, including scientific, economic and spiritual. Students grapple with fundamental questions of peace, justice, and service within a diverse, global context. Students and professors explore questions such as: Is the earth crisis linked to a spiritual crisis? Are there elements of free market capitalism that affect how people approach questions of ecological sustainability? Do human beings have ethical responsibility toward the natural world and its components? What is the place of the individual within the cosmos? What political factors within the United States cause distinct and opposite reactions to discussions of climate change? These are just a few of the questions that have been discussed during the Fall 2016 semester. All sections of the “Earth” Cornerstone read the novel Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver as one way to illustrate the difficult climate change questions confronting us.