Retracing Darwin’s footsteps
BY MATTHEW ZABEL
Cape Horn, on Chile’s southern tip, features some of the most diverse and plentiful biological systems in the world. Its pristine landscape invites the same type of exploration, discovery, thought and innovation that inspired naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin.
Since 2006, students from UNT and various other U.S. and South American universities have participated in Tracing Darwin’s Path, a study abroad program in the UNESCO Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve that blends environmental philosophy and biology with the study of art and culture. The Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program at UNT in collaboration with the Universidad de Magallanes and the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity in Chile, coordinates this interdisciplinary program.
“In conducting ecological research to address the effects of global climate change, it’s critical to involve ethics issues,” says Ricardo Rozzi, UNT philosophy professor and the director of the Scientific Committee of the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve. “This cannot be done by philosophers in their offices. It must be done by people in the field.”
“We believe, like Pascal and others believed, that the meaning of life cannot be understood with only scientific reasoning. It needs the presence of feelings and affection.”
This is just one more innovative experience that can be found at UNT.
Above, Snow caps the mountains near Cape Horn, Chile, where UNT students study environmental philosophy through the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program. Photo by Ricardo Rozzi