Discovery Courses Spring 2017

L&S C30V Environmental Issues

This course is also listed as Environmental Science, Policy, and Management C10

Ron Amundson (Home Department: Environmental Science, Policy and Management)

In this century, society faces environmental problems that are global in their scale and that will have long-term effects on the habitability of our planet. These problems also touch us as individuals, causing us to make choices and responses based on ethical and economic factors. The nature of our collective choices will in turn shape how each environmental problem ultimately plays out in this century. In this course, we will examine three problems that are currently of concern, and that are subjects of on-going debate (and jest) in the media: food production and eating choices, urbanization and consumer choices, energy consumption and climate change. To understand these issues, we will examine the physical constraints of our planet, and then place our present human situation into a historical context. We will discuss how science provides information relevant to these problems. We will look at alternative views of the importance and severity of these problems, especially benefiting from guest lectures by professors and professionals in diverse fields. We will examine our own views on these topics, and assess our own footprint on the environment. Course objectives include an enhanced understanding of our planetary constraints, an enhanced understanding of how and why we all make our individual choices that affect the environment, and an enhancement of critical thinking skills for evaluating environmental issues and for becoming environmentally aware citizens.

This course may be used to satisfy the Biological Science or Social and Behavioral Sciences breadth requirement in Letters and Science.

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