School of Ecology and Environment Studies
The School of Ecology and Environment Studies (SEES) is one of the first schools at the Nalanda University, which commenced its academic programme in August 2014. The School traverses a broad range of academic pursuits across natural sciences and social sciences, to promote education and research on the interactions between the natural environment and human activities. Rooted in the tradition of the ancient Nalanda University, the School aspires to generate critical understanding that will benefit the globe. The School also seeks to bridge the current gap in the study of environmental issues between the Western and the Eastern perspectives. It addresses pressing local, regional and global environmental problems of our times through education, research, collaborations, and policy recommendations.
Our broad idea is to view studies on ecology and the environment as not just an activity to be conducted in the so-called ‘natural’ or ‘pristine’ ecosystems, but recognise that ecological and environmental concerns in the human-dominated landscapes and waterscapes in Asia and the global South present to us a distinct, exciting, and socially pertinent teaching and research agenda to pursue. In such a scenario, terms such as biodiversity conservation or adaptive management take on a distinctly different connotation.
Our research and pedagogical approach attempts to incorporate two cross-cutting themes: interdisciplinarity and sustainability. Interdisciplinary investigation is essential to transcend disciplinary barriers that have so far impeded holistic understanding of complex socio-ecological problems. Meaningful interaction across disciplines is only possible by dissolving silos that have rendered many disciplines within ecology and the environment impervious to each other. The lack of holistic understanding has thus far created piecemeal solutions to complex socio-ecological problems. Our second theme uses sustainability thinking and practice as a placeholder to situate ecological and environmental issues within a larger ethos of enabling and progressing towards development with equity and social justice.