Chad B Wilsey
B CUSP 110
Examines an important social issue such as ecology, the role of technology in society, bioethics, or global and local health concerns through interdisciplinary investigation, and the disciplined scientific study of the natural world. Offered: A.
Climate change has the potential to increase environmental problems and social inequalities on a global scale, yet few of us understand how our daily choices play a role. This course will survey the science of climate change and the contribution of consumer culture. We will address the causes and consequences of climate change drawing on knowledge from both the physical and social sciences. Understanding our patterns of energy consumption and their underlying motivations are imperative to explaining why political solutions for climate change have been so difficult to achieve. We will examine possibilities for changing patterns of consumption to reduce the impacts of climate change. In addition, we will explore the impacts of recent climate change and consider how best to plan for future climates. Students will practice making decisions through the synthesis of complex and sometimes conflicting information from multiple sources.
Student learning goals
Understand the science of climate change including the causes and potential future impacts.
Understand the theories and concepts describing consumption behavior.
Make connections between consumption practices and climate change
Improve skills in critical thinking, synthesis of complex ideas, and verbal and written communication.
Gain understanding, insight, and vocabulary around the division between scientific and cultural understandings of climate change and consumer culture
General method of instruction
This course will minimize lectures and emphasize experiential learning through hands-on and interactive in-class activities and assignments. We will also include regular peer discussions, large class discussions, films, guest speakers and peer-editing.
Class assignments and grading
1. Reading Responses 2. Consumption journal 3. Assignments including analyses of past and projected future climates, Carbon Footprint Analysis, selecting and analyzing newspaper articles, conducting interviews and surveys 4. Two reflective essays including an Autoethnography (writing about your life) 5. A research project on consumerism and climate change incorporating both qualitative and quantitative methods culminating in a research paper 6. Peer Writing Groups