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 tracks. These track 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.

2014-15 Offerings

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 245: Global Climate Change
ES 255: Remote Sensing & Geographic Info. Systems
ESPS 276: Environmental Politics
ASES 277: Environmental Sustainability in Japan (off-campus interim, SocSci elective)
ES 281 A&B: Sustainable Development (Binder)
ES 381 Contested Spaces (Allister)
ES 381  Hydrology (Whittinghill)
ES 399: Senior Seminar In Environmental Studies

Note:  REL 278 Christian Environmental Ethics (Arts/Hum) and SOAN 297 Environmental Anthropology (SocSci) will be offered in Fall 2014.
ENG 276  Environmental Literature (Arts/Hum) will be offered in Spring 2015.
CAUTION:  With the newly approved REL 278 course, ES has limited how this course and Phil 257 count toward the major and concentration.  Unless you are an Arts/Humanities track major, you may only count one ethics course as an Arts/Humanities elective in the SocScience and NatScience tracks or toward the concentration.

FALL 2014
EnvSt 381 Contested Spaces 

(ARTS/HUMANITIES)- Mark Allister
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 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.

EnvSt 381 Hydrology
(NATSCI) – Kyle Whittinghill

Summer Session I 2014
EnvSt 281 Sustainability in Higher Education
(     ) – Paul Jackson
Your student government committee recently proposed placing greater emphasis on sustainability at your university.  A surprising response comes from a fellow student, “Just what do you mean by sustainability and how do you measure it?”  In this class we will study the diverse approaches to sustainability across baccalaureate liberal arts institutions, and their understanding of sustainability as an expression of institutional identity, institutional and environmental based values, operating principles, metrics, and reported outcomes.  We will explore the parallels, opportunities, and constraints present in the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), and in the Minnesota Green Step Cities Program.  The context of Northfield, Minnesota, home to two baccalaureate liberal arts institutions and a Green Step City participant, provides an opportunity to explore local practice and decision-making.

Summer Session II 2014
EnvSt 281 Soil to Plate

(ARTHUM) – Mark Allister
In this course we’ll study food and the local foods movement from soil to plate. Our study will take place in and out of the classroom: we’ll read the agricultural bill and Michael Pollan; we’ll watch documentaries about our national food issues and visit local farms; we’ll work with and on local farms to see how they do their business; and, as often as possible, we’ll cook and eat. Fine chefs welcome. Those who aren’t will get some cooking lessons.

Courses from prior years:

ES 281 Sustainable Development SOCSCI
ES 381 Contested Spaces ARTS/HUM
ES 381 Hydrology NATSCI

Summer 2014
SS1  ES 281 Sustainabilty in Higher Education
SS2  ES 281 Local Food: Soil to Plate ARTS/HUM

ES 381 Green Building/Green Remodeling NATSCI
ES 381 A  Nature Poetry/Eco-criticism ARTS/HUM
ES 381 B Environmental Modeling  NATSCI
ES 281 A&B Sustainable Development SOCSCI
ES 281 C Agroecology NATSCI
ES 281 D Varieties of Ecological Experience  ARTS/HUM
BIO 391 Ecosystem Ecology NATSCI

ES 381 Gardens’ Healing Powers:  ARTS/HUM
ES 281A What is Nature Worth? Economic and ethical perspectives…SOC SCI

ES 281 Env Justice, Food & Climate: SOC SCI
ES 381A Imagining Environment: ARTS/HUM
ES 381B Landscape and Regional Change in the Arctic: NAT SCI

ES 281A Cultural Ecology – A look at 1st Nations’… SOC SCI or ARTS/HUM
ES 281B Issues of Food and Community Agriculture: SOC SCI
ES 381 Topics in Ecosystem Research: NAT SCI
ES 381 Eco-criticism and American Nature Poetry: ARTS/HUM

ES 281 Life Cycle Analysis – Food & Ag: SOC SCI
ES 281 Water – Global Crisis: NAT SCI