Posted by: ecodestination | February 23, 2009

Learning economics by scuba diving in Mexico

Learning economics by diving

Learning economics by diving

My Google Alerts caught something that made me smile: the story of DePauw economics professor Gary Lemon, who takes his winter term students on diving trips to Cozumel, Tulum, and Chichen Itza every year.

The article mentions that trips to such destinations comprise economics lessons in and of themselves for the students (I don’t buy it). But, whatever the reason, it’s nice to read that his most frequently uttered words during those trips are always the caveat, “If I see you grabbing on to the coral, you better have one heck of a reason.”

Professor Lemon goes out of his way-as he should-to instruct his students on how to be ecologically responsible and make their activities eco-friendly. (No information is given as to where they stay, whether they wear biodegradable sunscreen to keep corals safe, or whether they offset the carbon footprint from their flights and so on in any way, however. And I am curious.)

If these ridiculously lucky students don’t fly home to DePauw in Indiana with an acute understanding of the region’s economic underpinnings, they do return with a (likely newfound) appreciation for the beauty and frailty of the underwater world. After their experiences going scuba diving, some students have even switched academic specialties, e.g. from physics to marine biology, and as a second semester junior! That’s gotta be considerable work. But hey, the harder the work, the more we know these future marine biologists are working for the good guys and gals. Good job, Prof. Lemon!

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