Environmental Studies Courses

The ES Major or Concentration begins with an introduction to environmental studies, a class focusing on global environmental problems viewed from a natural and physical science perspective but treated within the larger context of political, economic and ethical concerns. Students then select additional courses from the three areas of emphasis. These course choices provide a significant focus on discipline-centered studies of the environment, and include areas such as environmental history and ethics, conservation biology, earth system science, environmental chemistry, literature of the environment, and environmental policy. Choices for the remainder of the requirements include a number of off-campus studies as well as courses from allied departments. Examples of the former include winter ecology, desert ecology, and tropical ecology, or participation in programs in Costa Rica, south India, or Australia. The capstone seminar, required of ES majors, is also an option as one of the elective choices for the Concentration.

2015-16 Offerings (2012-2015 Past Courses)

ES 123: Geophysics/Introduction to Earth Science
ES 137: Introduction to Environmental Studies
ESPS 201: Global Environmental Politics
ES 202: The Culture of Nature
BIES 226: Conservation Biology
ES 232: Environmental Policy and Regulation
ES 235 A&B: Sustainable Development (Binder)
ES 245: Global Climate Change
ES 255: Remote Sensing & Geographic Info. Systems
ES 270: Nature and American Landscape
ASES 277: Environmental Sustainability in Japan (off-campus interim, SocSci elective)
ES 281: Environmental Film Documentary (Cornejo)
ES 281: The Culture of Elephants (Erickson)
ES 350: Biogeochemistry (Schade)
ES 381: Contested Spaces (Rohn)
ES 399: Senior Seminar In Environmental Studies

Note:  SOAN 297 Environmental Anthropology (SocSci) will be offered in Fall 2015.

CAUTION: Majors enrolled in the social science or the natural science areas of emphases may count either REL 278 or PHIL 257 towards their major. Majors may not count both courses. This rule also applies to concentrators: only one of the two courses may count towards the concentration.

FALL 2015
EnvSt 235 Sustainable Development
(SOCSCI) – Seth Binder
The past 200 years have seen unprecedented, exponential improvements in the health and material well-being of humankind. Yet, a substantial portion of the world’s 7 billion people is largely excluded from this progress. Many of the same forces that have created this extraordinary material growth and concomitant inequality have also contributed to the vast and rapid alteration our natural environment. The unintended negative consequences of environmental change threaten to rob current and future populations of the benefits of continued economic development. This has led to a call for “sustainable development”. In this course, we will discuss the ethical and historical underpinnings of the sustainable development concept; explore what exactly is required for development to be sustainable(especially with respect to the environment); investigate the factors that have led development to be particularly unsustainable; and evaluate a variety of steps–both incremental and radical–that can put us on a path to more sustainable development.

INTERIM 2016
EnvSt 281 Environmental Film Documentary
(ARTS/HUMANITIES) – Cecilia Cornejo
Students study topics related to the environment. Topics vary from year to year at the discretion of the instructor. Topics may include Environment and Theology, Environmental Justice, Ecotourism, and Literature of the Poles. Class is largely discussion-based but may include a lab/fieldwork component depending on the topic. May be repeated if topic is different. Offered annually.

SPRING 2016
EnvSt 381 Contested Spaces 
(ARTS/HUMANITIES) – Matt Rohn
An environmental matter. An impasse. One side wants conservation of habitat and sustainable practices. The other side frames the situation through the lens of jobs and autonomy from government regulation. Why do so many sites and practices become environmentally contested spaces? How do we begin to resolve such impasses?  Most work in environmental studies — and nearly all that is natural science and social science based — focuses on exterior or objective perspectives, examining structures such as individual subjects or ecosystems or political and economic systems. This seminar will consider contested spaces and the values that underlie arguments about such spaces by also focusing on interior perspectives, the role of emotion, beauty, ideas about the self, cultural mores, and so forth. We’ll aim to understand an “integral ecology” that might reveal all that is at stake in a contested environmental space.
EnvSt 281 The Culture of Elephants
(ARTS/HUMANITIES) – Jacob Erickson

Students study topics related to the environment. Topics vary from year to year at the discretion of the instructor. Topics may include Environment and Theology, Environmental Justice, Ecotourism, and Literature of the Poles. Class is largely discussion-based but may include a lab/fieldwork component depending on the topic. May be repeated if topic is different. Offered annually.

For Past Course Offerings, follow this link.