David L. Stokes
Introduction to the major environmental challenges confronting society, and the science of understanding and addressing those challenges. Provides an overview of major issues such as global climate change, biodiversity loss, and sustainability; as well as in-depth understanding of specific issues.
In this course we will explore some of the most critical and compelling environmental issues confronting the world today, including global climate change, loss of biodiversity, natural resource depletion, and the connections between human health and environmental quality. We will focus on the major concepts and approaches of various fields of environmental science that are involved in understanding and attempting to solve these problems. Questions we will address include: What are the reasons for these problems? What is known and how do we know it? What remains to be learned and how can we learn it? And what may be some promising solutions? All of these issues will be considered in the context of the social, political, and cultural climate in which they occur. In addition to an overview of environmental science and issues, students will also gain an in-depth understanding of particular topics being investigated by UWB environmental science faculty who will present some of their current research to the class.
Student learning goals
1. An appreciation of the nature and diversity of the natural environment, and the diversity of environmental issues that confront the world today.
2. A sound understanding of several major environmental issues, the scientific explanations for those problems, the nature of scientific investigation of those problems, and the prospects for solutions.
3. An understanding of the nature of human interaction with natural systems and the reasons for resulting environmental problems, and the linkages between environmental and social problems.
4. Knowledge of the scope and diversity of environmental science: the diversity of fields, methods, and approaches, and the range of expertise among faculty here at UWB.
5. An ability to critically evaluate conflicting claims regarding environmental issues.
General method of instruction
Class format will generally be a combination of lecture, class discussion, small group discussion, and presentations by guest speakers.
No prerequisites. Course is designed for freshmen and sophomores, but students at all levels are welcome. Although the course is intended for non-science majors, it will have plenty of interest for those with a science orientation.
Class assignments and grading
Class readings and brief written assignments will be required.
Grades will be assigned based on performance on assignments, quizzes, final exam, and class participation.