This course introduces Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a powerful mapping and analytical tool. Topics include GIS data structure, map projections, and fundamental GIS techniques for spatial analysis. Laboratory exercises concentrate on applying concepts presented in lectures and will focus on developing practical skills. These exercises include examples of GIS applications in environmental modeling, socio-demographic change and site suitability analyses. Although the course is computer-intensive, no programming background is required.
In this course, we will examine some of the important moral, legal, and public policy concerns which are raised by the interaction of human beings with the natural environment. How are policy frameworks, the beliefs and actions of environmental activists, and your views guided by deep seated notions of who has standing in the moral community? The course considers a range of moral perspectives including: anthropocentrism, biocentrism, ecocentrism, animal rights theory, and ecofeminism and examines them in the context of various contemporary public policy case studies. Recommended background: Introduction to Environmental Studies (ENV1100) or equivalent.
This course examines how public policy models have the capacity to shape technological change and social innovation in a time of ecological crisis. With global attention dominated by environmental catastrophe and despair, we will spotlight new work that has brought together scientists, environmentalists, engineers, and artists to tackle the most serious problems facing communities. We will explore the political ecology implications of control over essential resources and the positive consequences of rethinking and democratizing basic social needs for a more sustainable future. Recent exciting case studies will feature examples of simple solutions that inspire elegant, transferrable, and inexpensive applications of technological design. We will examine the role and obligation that scientists have to collaborate with interdisciplinary and public policy efforts that benefit people with sustainable approaches to architecture, food, energy, transportation, and infrastructure. Recommended background: Introduction to Environmental Studies (ENV1100) or equivalent.
China has undergone extraordinary social, economic, and pol itical change over the past 30 years. Since entering the `take-off? phase of economic growth in the late 1970?s, China has exhibited some of the world?s strongest economic growth rates. Part of this trend has been that millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. The relationship between growth, poverty and development, however, is not simple, and is often mediated by environmental impacts that have been unevenly experienced by different regions, rural/urban populations, and socioeconomic and demographic groups. Put differently, Chinese economic development has brought with it environmental problems and policy responses that are not evenly distributed among citizens. Through the perspectives of environmental justice, this course looks at the impacts of: economic development in China (pollution, migration, energy requirements and foreign investment); policy responses to environmental problems such as urban planning and alternative energy solutions; and the growing number of environmental movements in China that are focused on issues such as pollution and human displacement. We will take into account internal and external praise and criticism, of China?s particularly rapid economic growth and its impacts in terms of environment and development.
The purpose of this course is to introduce theories and practices of environmental and risk communication; develop an ability to describe, analyze, and evaluate environmental and risk communication activities; and to increase understanding of how government agencies, scientists, corporations, and others attempt to persuade the public about environmental and risk issues. Students will become critically engaged citizens and develop skills that will support future careers that put them in the position of being the sources and recipients of environmental and risk communication efforts. Topics covered in the course include the reason so much emphasis is placed on communication strategies, in contrast to regulations or technical design, to promote environmental and healthy behaviors and reduce environmental and health risks. Using a variety of examples, students will also learn how information about risks and the environment is processed, framed, and evaluated and how communication influences attitudes and behaviors about risks and the environment. Finally, the class will explore what are best practices for the design of communication programs to inform and persuade about environmental and health risks.
Cat. I The study of environmental problems and their solutions requires an interdisciplinary approach. This course will examine current environmental issues from the intersection of several key disciplines including: environmental philosophy and history, environmental policy, and science. The course will develop these different approaches for analyzing environmental problems, explore the tensions between them, and present a framework for integrating them. Topics such as environmental justice, developing nations, globalization, and climate change policy will be explored.
Many disciplines contribute to the study of the environment. This course presents an overview of the approach taken by some of these disciplines, which may include biology, chemistry, engineering, geography, public policy, philosophy, history, and economics, and how they interact to help us understand environmental problems and solutions. Through an examination of the assumptions made and lenses used by different disciplines students will gain insight into how different actors and institutions frame environmental issues and how to overcome barriers to communication between disciplines. To ground the exploration of these disciplines contemporary environmental issues and policy programs will be explored. Recommended background: ENV 1100.
This course examines how people think about and behave toward the environment. Environmental problems can ultimately be attributed to the environmental decisions and actions of human beings. These behaviors can in turn be understood as resulting from the nature and limitations of the human mind and the social context in which behavior takes place. Knowledge of the root causes of environmentally harmful behavior is essential for designing effective solutions to environmental problems. The goals of the course are (1) to provide students with the basic social science knowledge needed to understand and evaluate the behavioral aspects of such important environmental problems as air and water pollution, global warming, ozone depletion, preserving biological diversity, and hazardous waste and (2) to help students identify and improve shortcomings in their knowledge and decisions related to the environment. Topics will include, but not be limited to: environmental problems as ?tragedies of the commons?; public understanding of global warming and global climate modeling; folk biology; risk perception; intelligent criticism of environmental claims; making effective environmental choices; strategies for promoting pro-environmental behavior; and human ability to model and manage the global environmental future. Recommended background: ENV 1100. Suggested background: PSY 1400, PSY 1401, or PSY 1402. Students may not receive credit for both PSY 2405 and ENV 2400.
Environment and development are often seen as incompatible, in part because many poor people in the developing world depend directly on natural resources for their livelihoods. At the same time, poor people are often seen as responsible for causing environmental degradation because they lack the knowledge, skills and resources to manage the environment effectively. The vicious circle is completed as environmental degradation exacerbates poverty. However, optimists argue that poor people can and do contribute positively to environmental o utcomes, that states and organizations can facilitate their efforts and that environmental interventions can coincide with development. This course will examine these different perspectives on environmental problems in the developing world through the insights and critiques of social science. Subjects covered include sustainable development, population, environmental risks, gender, urbanization, environmental decision making, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The goals of this course are to think critically about the various links between environment and development and the role of governmental and non-governmental organizations in promoting sustainable development in the developing world. Recommended Background: ENV 1100 .
Cat. I This course is intended for Environmental Studies majors. The course is designed to integrate each student?s educational experience (e.g., core environmental courses, environmental electives, and environmental projects) in a capstone seminar in Environmental Studies. Through seminar discussions and writing assignments students will critically reflect on what they learned in their previous courses and project experiences. In teams, students will prepare a final capstone paper and presentation that critically engages their educational experience in environmental studies and anticipates how their courses and experiences will translate into their future personal and professional environmental experiences. Recommended background: ENV 1100, ENV 2200 or ENV 2400, completion or concurrent enrollment in IQP and MQP.