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Course Descriptions 2011-2012

FALL 2011
WINTER 2012
SPRING 2012
SUMMER 2012


Fall 2011

ENVS 201 Introduction to Environmental Studies: Social Sciences (4 cr) Syllabus Martin
This course introduces some of the major contributions of the social sciences to understanding how and why environmental problems happen—the social ‘root causes’ of these problems. Environmentally harmful human behavior is not simply a fact of life: it is a product of specific social conditions, which can be studied, understood, and changed. This course also examines social approaches to resolving environmental problems, including ideas such as ‘sustainability’, ‘market-based’ environmental policies, reforms of property systems, and social movements that promote concepts such as environmental justice, ecofeminism, and deep ecology. In this course, students practice applying these conceptual approaches by using them to analyze the root causes, consequences, and possible solutions to specific environmental topics. In previous years, the course has focused on topics such as global warming, energy, and the Pacific Northwest salmon crisis.
ENVS 203 Introduction to Environmental Studies: Humanities (4 cr) Syllabus Mason
This course is a survey of the contribution of humanities disciplines (e.g., literature, intellectual history, religious studies, and philosophy) to understanding the relationship between human beings and the natural environment. Theoretical perspectives covered in the course include the intellectual history of Western cultural attitudes and perceptions of nature, the role of religion in shaping environmental values, Native American perspectives on the environment, and the suggestions of contemporary radical ecology movements – deep ecology, social ecology, and ecofeminism – for revitalizing human relationships with the environment. The last segment of the course examines humanities perspectives on several current environmental issues: wilderness preservation, the Pacific Northwest salmon crisis, population and resource use, and global climate collapse. The course emphasizes the skills of textual and cultural interpretation, value reasoning, and critical inquiry as these are demonstrated in the engagement of the humanities with environmental concerns. This course fulfills the Arts and Letters Group Requirement and is a core course requirement for Environmental Studies and Environmental Science majors.
ENVS 345 Environmental Ethics (4 cr) Syllabus Morar
Imagine yourself in the following situation: you are in a room where you can press a button that says “if you press it, the Grand Canyon will be blown away”. What philosophical/ethical reasons would you have to refrain from pressing that button? Are there any such reasons? Is it morally wrong to destroy something we (humans) deem beautiful? Some philosophers believe that there is no moral value without a valuator. So, what if you were the last person on Earth and you would not care about the Grand Canyon, would it still be wrong to press the button? And even if you were not the last person, would it suffice to appeal to the idea that you might deprive future generations from experiencing such ineffable scenery? Imagine the button says, “it you press it, the Grand Canyon will be blown away, but in doing so, you save x human lives.” How many lives would justify blowing away the Grand Canyon? What if those lives are the lives of some people you will never know/meet with? Does it have to be a human life? What about a non-human animal life? What about an ecosystem? This course will attempt to answer some of the questions above and to conceptualize central notions in environmental ethics. We will focus on defining what it means to have moral standing or to be a (moral) person. Is this concept coextensive with the set of human beings? How far can/should we extend the borders of our moral community? And ultimately, why should I really care about the environment? What does make environmental issues genuine moral issues? (See course flyer for more details)
ENVS 410/510 Soil Science (4 cr) Syllabus Bridgham
Chemical and physical characteristics and classification of soils, field soil identification, soil degradation.
ENVS 411 Topic: Environmental Action in the Americas (4 cr) Syllabus Veazey/Rivera
This course will discuss the recent history of environmental concern and action within social movements in North and South America, highlighting the historic connections between environmental conflicts with social justice, development, democracy and international relations issues. (See course flyer for more details)
ENVS 411 Topic: Northwest Ethnobotany (4 cr) Syllabus Bonady/Lynch
This class will examine people/plant relationships in the Pacific Northwest. We will explore how biodiversity of forest and other ecosystems is being tapped to promote both conservation and rural economic development. We will investigate the complex economics, multi-faceted politics, and diverse cultural traditions associated with non-timber forest products. We will look at the ancient gathering practices of Native Americans, the introduced plants and traditions of immigrants, and the emerging practices of people seeking to reconnect with the natural world. (See course flyer for more details)
ENVS 429 Environmental Leadership: (Project) (1-4R cr) Syllabus Boulay
This is a one term service learning course in which a community-based project will be implemented and leadership, collaboration and communications skills will be developed.
ENVS 411/511 Topic: Law and the Environment (4 cr) Syllabus Crider
This course provides students with an understanding of laws that regulate the environment as well as the skills to analyze and apply these laws to current issues. By the end of this course, students will be able to communicate with agencies, lawyers, businesses and individuals about environmental laws and determine how and whether to use legal tools to resolve environmental issues. Topics include the structure and operation of the legal system, the development of environmental laws, policy issues and risk assessment, federal and state laws applicable to habitat and species protection, air quality, water quality, toxic substances, solid and hazardous waste, energy production, government agency regulation and enforcement, citizen and public enforcement, and international environmental law. (See course flyer for more details)
ENVS 455/555 Sustainability What is it? (4 cr) Walker
After 20 years in the public spotlight, the concept of “sustainability” has arguably become the dominant framework for understanding environmental challenges today. Yet, this term is so widely used to describe such greatly differing ideas and practices (with only loose – or even contradictory – definitions) that some have questioned whether this term means anything at all. Is sustainability just a fuzzy (if appealing) buzzword? Those who have attempted to define sustainability have in some cases come to wholly incompatible conclusions about its meaning– such as vigorous and ongoing debates between certain economists and ecologists over whether economic growth is compatible with sustaining ecological systems. A careful examination of the competing definitions of sustainability reveals disagreements about core social, cultural, and ecological assumptions, such as: what is to be sustained (economic growth? ecosystems ‘services’? ecosystems and species independent of their economic value?); who is to benefit (humans alive today? which humans? future generations? what about other species?); whose values (or ‘needs’) are to be sustained? (Is American consumer culture a ‘need’? can materially wealthy societies deny similar aspirations to others in a rapidly globalizing culture and economy?); and what time frame is appropriate? (A short time frame may make ‘sustainability’ too easy, whereas in the face of today’s rapid ecological and technological change a long time frame may make sustaining current conditions impossible, or even undesirable). In short, an examination of ‘sustainability’ is nothing less than of an examination of what we desire to be as a society, what values and cultures we prioritize, how we understand our biophysical interactions with the planet, and what ethical obligations we have. The course then ‘unpacks’ the competing social, cultural, economic, and ecological assumptions and priorities that are often quietly but powerfully promoted in the push for ‘sustainability’. A concept that means all things to all people can too easily come to mean little or nothing. The purpose of this course is to enable students to move beyond fuzzy buzzwords by critically examining these multiple meanings and encouraging more explicit definitions and efforts to understand and reconcile the ambiguities, tensions, and contradictions in the concept of sustainability. This is a ‘tough love’ course for sustainability: by examining this important concept with a highly critical eye, students will be better positioned to move sustainability forward with more rigorous definitions and goals that are ecologically sound, socially effective, ethically and culturally defensible, and technologically achievable.

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Winter 2012

ENVS 201 Introductions to Environmental Studies: Social Sciences (4 cr) Syllabus Ingalsbee
This course introduces some of the major contributions of the social sciences to understanding how and why environmental problems happen—the social ‘root causes’ of these problems. Environmentally harmful human behavior is not simply a fact of life: it is a product of specific social conditions, which can be studied, understood, and changed. This course also examines social approaches to resolving environmental problems, including ideas such as ‘sustainability’, ‘market-based’ environmental policies, reforms of property systems, and social movements that promote concepts such as environmental justice, ecofeminism, and deep ecology. In this course, students practice applying these conceptual approaches by using them to analyze the root causes, consequences, and possible solutions to specific environmental topics. In previous years, the course has focused on topics such as global warming, energy, and the Pacific Northwest salmon crisis.
ENVS 202 Introduction to Environmental Studies: Natural Sciences
(4 cr) Syllabus
Sutherland
This is an introductory course in environmental natural sciences. It is part of the core sequence in Environmental Studies and is required for the Environmental Studies majors.
ENVS 335 Allocation of Scarce Environmental Resources (4 cr) Syllabus Cameron
Considerations for the design of environmental and natural resources policies and regulations: balancing society’s preferences and the cost of environmental protection and resources conservations.
ENVS 345 Environmental Ethics (4 cr) Syllabus Christion – Myers
Key concepts and various moral views surveyed; includes anthropocentrism, individualism, ecocentrism, deep ecology, and ecofeminism. Exploration includes case studies and theory.
ENVS 350 Energy Footprint (4 cr) Bothun
Detailed study of the ecological consequences of all forms of energy generation, including fossil fuels and alternative energy sources.
ENVS 407 Environmental Studies Theory and Practice (2 cr) Syllabus Dickman
See Syllabus.
ENVS 411 Topic: Communicating Environmental Issues with Theatre
(4 cr) Syllabus
Toth/Roddy
See Syllabus.
ENVS 411 Topic: Pollution and Health (4 cr) Syllabus Nienaber
What are major sources of pollution?  Where are they concentrated?  How bad are they, really? This course is an investigation of the relationship between pollution and human health.  We will examine: various forms of pollution, common health problems associated with them, the history of pollution, policy and technological methods to try to reduce negative health consequences, as well as environmental justice concerns related to pollution.  This will be accomplished through lecture, discussion of scientific studies, independent research, and in-class activities.
ENVS 425/525 Environmental Education: Theory & Practice (4 cr) Syllabus Lynch
In-depth examination of environmental education in theory and practice. Topics include learning theories, environmental literacy, and how to successfully plan, implement and evaluate educational programs. We will also examine how EE is practiced in Oregon, nationally and around the globe. A major focus is the group project, in which you will work in collaboration with a community partner to help develop EE materials.
ENVS 427 Environmental and Ecological Monitoring (4 cr) Syllabus Boulay
An introduction to the theory, techniques, and practice of environmental and ecological monitoring designed to ground students in the data collection, analysis, and presentation methods; local case studies. Lectures, laboratories, field trips. Calculus or statistics recommended.
ENVS 435/535 Environmental Justice (4 cr) Syllabus Norgaard
Environmental justice and its impact on current decisions. Focus on civil rights law, perception of risk, and relation of sustainability and equity. Prereq: ENVS 201.
ENVS 465/565 Wetland Ecology and Management (4 cr) Syllabus Bridgham
Examines management, law, and policies related to wetlands in an ecological framework; includes wetland type definitions, classification, distribution, formation and development, and restoration.

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Spring 2012

ENVS 201 Introduction to Environmental Studies: Social Sciences (4 cr) Syllabus Mason
This course introduces some of the major contributions of the social sciences to understanding how and why environmental problems happen—the social ‘root causes’ of these problems. Environmentally harmful human behavior is not simply a fact of life: it is a product of specific social conditions, which can be studied, understood, and changed. This course also examines social approaches to resolving environmental problems, including ideas such as ‘sustainability’, ‘market-based’ environmental policies, reforms of property systems, and social movements that promote concepts such as environmental justice, ecofeminism, and deep ecology. In this course, students practice applying these conceptual approaches by using them to analyze the root causes, consequences, and possible solutions to specific environmental topics. In previous years, the course has focused on topics such as global warming, energy, and the Pacific Northwest salmon crisis.
ENVS 203 Introduction to Environmental Studies: Humanities (4 cr) Syllabus Toadvine
This course is a survey of the contribution of humanities disciplines (e.g., literature, intellectual history, religious studies, and philosophy) to understanding the relationship between human beings and the natural environment. Theoretical perspectives covered in the course include the intellectual history of Western cultural attitudes and perceptions of nature, the role of religion in shaping environmental values, Native American perspectives on the environment, and the suggestions of contemporary radical ecology movements – deep ecology, social ecology, and ecofeminism – for revitalizing human relationships with the environment. The last segment of the course examines humanities perspectives on several current environmental issues: wilderness preservation, the Pacific Northwest salmon crisis, population and resource use, and global climate collapse. The course emphasizes the skills of textual and cultural interpretation, value reasoning, and critical inquiry as these are demonstrated in the engagement of the humanities with environmental concerns. This course fulfills the Arts and Letters Group Requirement and is a core course requirement for Environmental Studies and Environmental Science majors. 
ENVS 411 Envrionmental Action in the Americas Syllabus Veazey
This course will discuss the recent history of environmental concern and action within social movements in North and South America, highlighting the historic connections between environmental conflicts with social justice, development, democracy and international relations issues.
ENVS 411 Topic: Envir. Conservation and Restoration in the Pacific Northwest (4 cr) Syllabus Knapp
This course will explore restoration and conservation in the Pacific Northwest, focusing on four themes – why, where, and how restoration and conservation take place, and who does restoration and conservation.  We will examine reasons why people conserve and restore – ranging from ethics to aesthetics and from human health to economic and biological reasons. We will also examine where conservation and restoration take place. How do we decide what areas should be priorities for conservation and restoration? We will explore issues of scale on conservation and restoration and explore how people engage in conservation and restoration at multiple scales – from the regional conservation planning perspective to the determination of what should be conserved and restored on a single property.
ENVS 429 Environmental Leadership: (Project) (1-4 cr)
Syllabus CSA Teams
Syllabus EE Teams
Lynch/Boulay
Second segment in the 2-term commitment. Students develop service-learning projects partnering with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, public schools, and local businesses. Prereq: instructor’s approval. Repeat (R) when topic changes.

The 2011-2012 teams and community partners are:

  • Canopy Connection/ H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest & the Pacific Tree Climbing Institute (Lynch)
  • Native Naturalists/ Mt. Pisgah Arboretum (Lynch)
  • Exploring Ethnobotany/ Adams Elementary School (Lynch)
  • Restoration Research/ West Eugene Wetlands (Boulay)
  • Sustainable Farms/ Eugene Water & Electric Board, Cascade Pacific Resource Conservation & Development, and McKenzie River Trust (Boulay)
  • Stream Stewardship/ McKenzie and/or Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Councils (Boulay)
ENVS 411/511 Topic: Sustainable Agriculture (4 cr) Syllabus Martin
Examines traditional non-industrialized, modern industrialized, modern organic, and genetically modified crop-based systems through the lens of sustainability.

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Summer 2012

ENVS 201 Introduction to Environmental Studies: Social Sciences (4 cr) Elliott
Contributions of social sciences to analysis of environmental problems. Topics include human population; relations between social institutions and environmental problems; and associated historical, political, legal, policy and economic processes.
ENVS 202 Introduction to Environmental Studies: Natural Sciences (4 cr) WEB Bothun
Online course. Contributions of the natural sciences to analysis of environmental problems. Topics include biological processes, ecological principles, chemical cycling, ecosystem characteristics, and natural system vulnerability and recovery.
ENVS 203 Introduction to Environmental Studies: Humanities (4 cr) Hall
Contributions of the humanities and arts to understandings of the environment. Emphasis on diverse ways of thinking, writing, creating, and engaging in environmental discourse.
ENVS 345 Environmental Ethics (4 cr) Christion Myers
Key concepts and various moral views surveyed; includes anthropocentrism, individualism, ecocentrism, deep ecology, and ecofeminism. Exploration includes case studies and theory.
ENVS 345 411/511 Topic: Sustainable Agriculture (4 cr) Syllabus Martin
Examines traditional non-industrialized, modern industrialized, modern organic, and genetically modified crop-based systems through the lens of sustainability.
ENVS 455/555 Sustainability (4 cr) Walker
After 20 years in the public spotlight, the concept of “sustainability” has arguably become the dominant framework for understanding environmental challenges today. Yet, this term is so widely used to describe such greatly differing ideas and practices (with only loose – or even contradictory – definitions) that some have questioned whether this term means anything at all. Is sustainability just a fuzzy (if appealing) buzzword? Those who have attempted to define sustainability have in some cases come to wholly incompatible conclusions about its meaning– such as vigorous and ongoing debates between certain economists and ecologists over whether economic growth is compatible with sustaining ecological systems. A careful examination of the competing definitions of sustainability reveals disagreements about core social, cultural, and ecological assumptions, such as: what is to be sustained (economic growth? ecosystems ‘services’? ecosystems and species independent of their economic value?); who is to benefit (humans alive today? which humans? future generations? what about other species?); whose values (or ‘needs’) are to be sustained? (Is American consumer culture a ‘need’? can materially wealthy societies deny similar aspirations to others in a rapidly globalizing culture and economy?); and what time frame is appropriate? (A short time frame may make ‘sustainability’ too easy, whereas in the face of today’s rapid ecological and technological change a long time frame may make sustaining current conditions impossible, or even undesirable). In short, an examination of ‘sustainability’ is nothing less than of an examination of what we desire to be as a society, what values and cultures we prioritize, how we understand our biophysical interactions with the planet, and what ethical obligations we have. The course then ‘unpacks’ the competing social, cultural, economic, and ecological assumptions and priorities that are often quietly but powerfully promoted in the push for ‘sustainability’. A concept that means all things to all people can too easily come to mean little or nothing. The purpose of this course is to enable students to move beyond fuzzy buzzwords by critically examining these multiple meanings and encouraging more explicit definitions and efforts to understand and reconcile the ambiguities, tensions, and contradictions in the concept of sustainability. This is a ‘tough love’ course for sustainability: by examining this important concept with a highly critical eye, students will be better positioned to move sustainability forward with more rigorous definitions and goals that are ecologically sound, socially effective, ethically and culturally defensible, and technologically achievable.

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