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The mission of the Center for Environmental Studies is to:

Prepare Brown students for lives and careers that demand a thorough understanding of human interactions with the natural and built environment by

  • providing high quality education
  • competing for the opportunity to train the best students who are going to be the leaders of the next generation
  • competing for the best faculty

Contribute in major ways to the solution of significant environmental problems, understanding that

  • solving environmental problems requires high quality interconnected basic and applied resear
  • the nature of environmental problems requires a broad interdisciplinary approach encompassing from physical and social sciences to policy analysis
  • urgent environmental problems occur at all scales from local to global
  • contributions to solving environmental problems require not only generation of new knowledge but also effective communication to different stake holders ranging from society at large to policy makers

Provide services to governmental and non-governmental organizations operating at all levels from local to global

Foster relations and encourage collaborative efforts

  • among members of the CES community
  • between CES and other departments at Brown
  • between CES and other Universities, nationally and internationally
  • between CES and environmental agencies and organizations, nationally and internationally.


Human society is beginning to recognize the pressing need to solve the multitude of environmental problems which have arisen over time and which continue to grow today. These environmental problems stem from patterns of human interaction with the earth and its ecosystems and from various societies' unsustainable use of natural resources. The Center for Environmental Studies (CES) at Brown University was established with the primary aim of educating individuals to solve challenging environmental problems, both at the local and global levels. CES also works directly to improve human well-being and environmental quality through community, city, and state partnerships in service and research.

A guiding principle of CES's activities is the integration of teaching, research, and service. Educational, research, and community service aims are simultaneously met through CES activities and programs and positively reinforce each other. A second principle is CES's applied approach to environmental education and problem-solving.

CES students and faculty address local environmental problems, working towards their practical resolution. In response to Brown University's location in the midst of a major U.S. city, CES focuses primarily on urban environmental problems. Within this focus, CES has emphasized issues of solid and hazardous waste, environmental health, and environmental justice. At the national level, CES has interest and expertise in environmental accounting and insurance arrangements and in pollution prevention and toxics policies.