Issues in the Environment

Course ID: 
ESPM 1011

(3.0 cr; fall, spring, every year)

We live in a crowded, complex world. The demands of the growing human population are putting dangerous pressure on our environment. How can we meet the needs of seven billion people without depleting the earth?s resources and destroying its ecosystems? How can our own actions help or harm our planet? What are the social, political, and economic factors involved in environmental decision-making? We will explore topics including human population and consumption; the link between energy use, pollution, and climate change; the effect of land use decisions on the environment; the importance of biodiversity to ecosystem stability and human survival. The instructors and a variety of guest speakers will introduce topics on Mondays and Wednesdays. Fridays will be your turn to discuss your own ideas and to engage in a variety of small group activities. The course is intended for first-year students majoring in Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management and for all students who are interested in the subject and wish to satisfy the University's liberal education requirements for the Environment Theme. The course has no prerequisites and is suitable for students with little or no scientific background.

Class Time: 40% Lecture, 5% Film/Video, 30% Discussion, 5% Small Group Activities, 5% Student Presentation, 5% Field Trips, 10% Guest Speakers.
Work Load: 20 pages reading per week, 10-15 pages writing per term, 4 exams, 1 papers, 1 presentations, 6 homework assignments.
Grade: 50% mid exam, 14% special projects, 30% written homework, 1% in-class presentation, 5% class participation.
Exam Format: Mix of true/false, matching, fill-in-the-blank, and short answer.

Syllabus (.pdf)