THANK YOU, Marc McGinnes, for 33 years
of dedicated service to the
Environmental Studies Program at UCSB!
|Photos of Marc|
Marc McGinnes came to UCSB in 1972 from his engagement in environmental activism, a commitment that has not waned in over three decades that he has taught in the Environmental Studies Program. Like the genesis of the Environmental Studies Program itself, the roots of his activism trace to the 1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill.
The course he teaches in environmental law, the longest-running such course in the country, is based not just on generic cases but also on many that he has litigated-cases that have established and defined California’s environmental policies. He has helped to prepare a generation of UCSB students for law school by training them in the case method of instruction. But his own commitment to win-win scenarios also leads him to teach mediation and other non-litigious methods of dispute resolution. In this, too, he brings to the classroom practical experience from his ongoing work as an arbitrator and mediator. He inspires his students to achieve excellence. Like all great teachers, he does so with the attitude that he remains a student himself.
behalf of all current and former UCSB students, faculty and staff, whose
heart and soul you have touched over the last 33 years, the Environmental
Studies Program THANKS YOU, Marc McGinnes. All the best in the next
chapter of your life......
The following are some thoughts and memories about Marc McGinnes as submitted by current and former students:
I wanted to send you a note to let Marc know what an inspiration I found
you to be during my time at UCSB. Not only were your classes wonderful,
but you inspired your students to get involved politically in their
community and be out proactively working to protect the environment.
All of us who were involved in Environmental Affairs Board really admired
and respected you for that.
2) My favorite all-time Marc quote is "Understanding
does not require agreement." It is so true, particularly in land
use planning, and I fall back on it often when I find myself having
a hard time seeing someone's point of view...
Marc has been a real inspiration to me and I have really fond
memories of him...... Stuck in my head over the years was a time he
walked into his law class, drew a circle with a dot in the middle, wrote
“Be Here Now!,” stared at it for about five minutes, and
then walked out of the class!
I just wanted to tell you that Marc has had a huge influence
on the path I have taken. I took his Environmental Law class and his
International Environmental Law class in 2001 and 2002. These interesting
and fun classes inspired me to go to law school because I saw the law
as a way to combine my environmental values with a career that will
enable me to make a difference. I am finishing my second year at the
University of Maryland Law School where I am concentrating in Environmental
Law. I will graduate next year and hope to work in California at a public
interest environmental law firm. I just want to thank Marc for being
so energetic and committed to the ES Program!
I was fortunate enough to take Marc's Environmental Dispute Resolution
as a summer institute/course, in the summer of '87 or '88 (iirc) and
to this day a few of his sayings have stuck with me and proved to be
very valuable life teachings.
I started off in the Environmental Studies program with an
emphasis in natural science as I had an eye towards going to medical
school. My dad was an attorney and, while I had considered the law as
a possibility, I really didn't know whether I would like it. As a junior
and senior, I took Professor McGinnes's classes and he was amazing.
Like no other teacher I ever had. I wasn't being lectured at, I was
being engaged by. He wasn't following a script; McGinnes was improvising.
The man was a master of the Socratic method. I was hooked. I can honestly
tell you that none of my distinguished teachers over three years of
law school were able to recreate exactly the same kind of inspiration
that Professor McGinnes infused in that bright-eyed 21 year old kid.
My first encounter with Marc was similar to what I think I lot of people
experienced. Stilts. Those ones hidden by big floppy white pants, making
that scruffy muffin seem like an ent (from lord of the rings). The smile.
The one that makes you think "what am I living for again? I guess
its happiness. This guy seems pretty happy, maybe he can teach me something
about how to love my life." And the ever so soothing hhhmmmmm....
His hum of understanding. A sound letting your heart know that someone
is listening. A sound that breaks down all barriers; opening everyone
else up, trying to feel that same understanding, that some compassion
for the world. I met him by chance in a randomly selected class, he
became the first reason why I chose environmental studies as my major.
He helped open my eyes to the love of the world inside myself. The best
damn hug I've ever gotten was from Marc. Warmth that will last my lifetime.
I deeply regret not being able to spend adequate time to share how much
Marc means to me. (I am in the middle of final exams right now -- my
last semester of law school; and am helping to care for my mother and
newborn nephew (less than 2 weeks old) and have committed to weekly
mentoring sessions with disadvantaged youth).
I am a high school AP Environmental Science teacher, and something I
always think about and bring up in class is Marc's ideas of "just
us" rather than "justice." Marc taught me to look into
the environmental justice aspect of all the science and policy. I really
appreciate that he exposed me to his lense of the world we live in.
Its been too long for me (around 25 years) to remember any quotes from
Marc. But he introduced me to the book Should Trees Have Standing that
still forms a core philosophy of my thinking as an environmental professional.
Here’s the best event I recall about Marc: We were out
at San Miguel Island, in about 1972, having sailed out on Barry’s
Cassandra. Marc and I hiked up to Simonton Cove, having engaged in a
ritual typical to that era. We bounded down a sand dune and came upon
a lot of driftwood, including, fortuitously, a beat up wooden sign from
a “San Miguel” beer case. We enthusiastically set about
constructing something. It gradually grew into an elaborate structure
of a Gas Station (including the “San Miguel” sign at the
top) and a car.
I am a Geog alumni from 99 and had the pleasure to learn from Marc's
Future Environments class. Although there were many (and I
do mean MANY) memorable moments during that class, there is one quote
or gesture that will stay with me forever. At the beginning of each
lecture Marc would start with a simple statement. It was very concise,
meaningful , and powerful. He would say, "I am you.....You are
me.....We are we...." He would then repeat that phrase 2 more times
at the start of every lecture. (say it to yourself 3 times and you'll
see what I mean). He had a simple, but extremely effective manner in
delivering messages that would ultimately unite the class. Luckily,
I have never forgotten the message. Give him a gargantuan thank you!
Marc McGinnes was the best professor I had at UCSB. His energy, enthusiasm,
and dedication truly made Environmental Studies a wonderful major. I
will never forget sitting in the courtyard of Girvetz looking at the
coral tree as a class assignments, or backpacking at Cathedral Lake
for the California Water Policy course. Thank you Professor McGinnes
for never being afraid to be yourself and for touching so many students.
My experiences with you were a major factor in my decision to pursue
a career in Environmental Law.
My most vivid memory of Marc was the 1st day of our International Environmental
Law class, when he commenced his quarter long "visit" from
an extra-terrestrial - essentially Marc giving us the extreme outsider's
perspective on our planet and how we act as humans. But my most touching
moment was during that same quarter, when I was going through a period
of crisis at the same time he was, and I spoke to him after class, saying
"I understand what you are going through, and it will pass"
and he thanked me just by the look in his eyes. Marc - you're a unique
and passionate person, and I know the next chapter of your life will
be at least as successful as the one you are leaving behind. Thank you!
15) The influence and teaching of Marc McGinnes affected the rest of my life. At the Environmental Defense Center, Marc provided me with my first opportunity to be a team leader, and I later went on to manage many environmental studies at consulting firms. After a consulting career and service in California government, I went to law school and public policy school. Marc's inspiration and fond memories of his environmental law class led me to practice environmental law. I thank him more than words can say.
Marc taught me that one person can make a difference and that
I could really make an impact with an environmental career. I am so
grateful that I had such a positive mentor during my college years and
am thankful every day for the meaning and satisfaction I receive from
Marc had a huge impact on me. My first class in college was ES 1 and
Marc came out on stilts. I thought: this guy is an environmental lawyer?
I want do that! And now I'm in law school. My freshman year, Marc had
the honors section over to his house and we had dinner with his family.
Later in a land dispute resolution class, he had us over again. It was
amazing to have a professor be so open and giving of himself. Marc made
us feel like colleagues of his and made environmental law exciting.
He was my complete inspiration for my career path and I owe him so much.
His various teaching methods and approaches: role playing, class discussion
and participation and free thinking curriculum is completely refreshing
and highly effective. I have a passion for environmental law, for the
UCSB ES program, and a drive to achieve social change: it is largely
due to Marc McGinnes and his guidance as a teacher.
I decided to declare Environmental Studies as my major and career path
after Professor McGinnes taught his opening lecture of my very first
class as a freshman at UCSB (Environmental Studies 1) on stilts! To
this day, I vividly remember every concept brought to the table by Marc
McGinnes, in the many courses I intentionally took with him, because
of his undeniable charisma and sincere dedication to teaching and to
our environment. I congratulate and thank him for successfully influencing
generations of students to conduct their lives with concern for a sustainable
Greetings. I am in my 21st year as a planner with the Maryland-National
Park and Planning Commission in a county that borders Washington DC.
When I became an E.S. major in the 1970's there were no courses in urban
planning. Marc McGinnes introduced me to Environmental Law. I decided
then that this was HOW I was going to make a difference. Being able
to navigate your way through law and politics is so critical to implementing
land use policy. Marc McGinnes' Environmental Law course was relevant
at the time and pivotal to my future career in planning. Of course,
he was memorable too because he was so darn good looking. But, in all
seriousness, it was his enthusiasm, sincerity and knowledge of the subject
that I truly appreciate. Thank you Marc, for attending the ES Undergraduates
Association picnics at Goleta Beach and for making a difference in my
Here are a few words about Marc...
Marc was one of the first people I met when I came to Santa
Barbara. I remember vividly the first time I saw this long-haired bearded
man wearing jeans, his quintessential Guatemalan tie, and a gleam in
his eyes (a bit shocking for a 17 year old from the east coast). I instantly
knew that Marc was not your average college professor. After a bit of
pleading to allow a freshman into one of his upper division course,
Marc took me under his wing and shared his amazing passion, vision and
knowledge with me. Over the years I made sure to go out of my way to
take every course Marc offered and had the luck to aid him with work
at the Environmental Defense Center and in student teaching his courses
in my later years. Marc also introduced me to the annual environmental
law conference at the University of Oregon, where I eventually decided
to got to law school. His teaching techniques involving experiential
learning and role-playing were some of the most memorable and informative
of my education as UCSB, but even more it was his philosophy of life
that has stuck with me the most over the years.
Marc was very special to me as an E. S. Student. I remember
feeling out of my intellectual league all the time, but wanting to soak
in everything he had to say. He conducted our marriage back in 1986.
His words of wisdom and kindness bring back great memories. Marc-a hug
to you from Geordie and I....
Thank you, Marc, for being an innovative and inspiring environmental
educator for so many years. Your honest, passionate and peaceful way
of teaching, leading and being has helped so many ES students to not
only develop a deeper understanding of the environment academically,
but spiritually as well. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
you would like to contribute your own thoughts about Marc, please email
them to email@example.com
Here are some students' favorite "Marc-isms"
“Understanding does not require agreement”
“Feelings are facts”
“Conflict is not a contest”
“Justice is not merely what suits just-us”
“Conflict is a unique and glorious opportunity for change”
“Response-ability as a responsibility” and "With response-ability comes responsibility."
"Relationship really matters. After all, matter really is relationship."
"To be right and self-righteous is wrong."
"The way to do is to be. (Lao Tzu) Or was that me? Or was it you?"
Marc said that "you should treat a conflict situation like you would a judo/jujitsu match, meaning as the issue pulls or pushes you, instead of being thrown by the problem, you use its energy to throw it (if that makes sense) Use the energy of the conflict to change the direction of the solution to something entirely new."
I am I, you are you, and we are we.
The UCSB Environmental Studies Program and the Environmental Studies Associates (ESA) is proud to announce the creation of a new student scholarship:
The Marc McGinnes Environmental Law and Advocacy Scholarship
May 2005 to honor J. Marc McGinnes upon his retirement after 33 years
of service to the UCSB Environmental Studies Program, this award of
at least $500 will be given annually to a deserving ES senior in recognition
of: outstanding academic achievement in the Environmental Studies major
in general and in environmental law courses in particular,
first award was presented to Kirstyn Werner at the ES 35th Anniversary
Celebration in conjunction with the announcement of Marc's retirement.
Hereafter it will be made at the ES commencement/awards reception.
For more information about the Marc McGinnes Environmental Law and Advocacy Scholarship, call 805/893-7547.