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Course Descriptions 2012-2013


FALL 2012
WINTER 2013
SPRING 2013
SUMMER 2013


Fall 2012

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 McGill
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 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?
ENVS 355 Environmental Data Analysis and Modeling (4 cr) Bothun
Statistical methods of data modeling and analysis with specific application to environmental data sets.
ENVS 411: Understanding Place: the McKenzie Watershed
(4 cr)
Boulay/Lynch
In this class you will learn about this amazing river and the people who shape its health, management and future, explore a beautiful and fascinating landscape, and discover the source of your drinking water. We will examine the geological, ecological, historical, social, and political influences within the McKenzie watershed. Fieldtrips will take us from the headwaters to confluence. We’ll hike to Great Springs, tour a farm or fish hatchery, visit a restoration project and more — to explore the various
perspectives on water use, dam management, salmon restoration and land use. And you will engage with the community through a hands-on project.
ENVS 411 Environmental Problems in China (4 cr) Syllabus Bonady / Linde
This course is designed to introduce students to some of the greatest environmental concerns in China today. We will investigate air, land, and water issues throughout the five regions of China and examine solutions and activism that are rising to tackle these problems. We will familiarize ourselves with China’s geography and the political, historical, and social context of environmental issues before delving into case studies.
Course topics include soil erosion and deforestation, coal mining, dams, glacial melt, and water pollution. We will draw connections to parallel issues and movements in the U.S. Each student will develop a regional focus for a regional report, case study paper, and final presentation. In-class time will include film clips, some mini-lectures and presentations, and discussions. Active student participation is encouraged.
ENVS 411 Communicating Environmental Issues through Theater and Film (4 cr) Syllabus Sky/Toth
In this course, we will explore how theater and film can help communicate environmental and science issues, promote action, and drive change.
Students will learn about how environmental science and policy are presented on stage and in film while also actively critiquing and engaging with these tools, asking if and how they can inspire positive environmental action.
In addition to viewing some of the most powerful environmental films out today and analyzing different theater styles, students will also be given opportunities to create their own work and collaborate with their peers. The course will culminate in a final project which emphasizes real action and impact.
This course will also be rich in discussion, activity, and opportunities for outside-the-box thinking. We encourage students from all fields with all backgrounds to enroll. (No theater or film experience necessary.)
ENVS 411 Top Law & Environment (4 cr) Syllabus Crider
In depth examination of a particular environmental topic such as global warming, ecosystem restoration, energy alternatives, geothermal development, public lands management, or environmental literature. R twice when topic changes for maximum of 12 credits.
ENVS 455 Sustainability (4 cr) Syllabus 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.
ENVS 477 Soil Science (4 cr) Syllabus Marshall
Chemical and physical characteristics and classification of soils, field soil identification, soil degradation.

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Winter 2013

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 202 Introduction to Environmental Studies: Natural Sciences (4 cr) Syllabus Dickman
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. It is an introductory course, designed for freshmen and sophomores, and satisfies University general education breadth requirements for natural sciences. The only prerequisite is Math 95 or equivalent. Course goals include to promote understanding of the value and limitations of science in understanding environmental issues; to increase familiarity with scientific concepts underlying selected environmental issues and quantitative techniques that scientists use to evaluate them; to promote an understanding of how science is used to manage natural resources to promote a sustainable economy; to enhance ability to think creatively, analytically, and without bias (i.e. to think critically); and to understand how environmental science issues pervade our lives and gain confidence to understand these issues and make decisions based on your understanding and values. Four environmental issues are examined in some depth: human population growth, loss of biodiversity, climate change, and energy use.
ENVS 335 Allocation of Scarce Environmental Resources (4 cr) 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 410 River Stories (4 cr) Syllabus Lynch
Assist in documenting and archiving the rich cultural history of the McKenzie River and develop a public installation to share this history with the public.
ENVS 411 Environmental Action in the Americas (4 cr) Syllabus Veazey
This course will discuss the recent history of environmental concern and action within social movements in North, Central and South America, highlighting the connections between environmental action and social justice, development, democracy and international relations issues. We will critically examine the tensions between environmental narratives and practices and between grassroots movements and institutions.
ENVS 411 Foreign Aid, Development, and the Global South (4 cr) Course Flier Syllabus Grigsby
In this course, we will discuss conventional and alternative theories of development that inspire and direct the agendas of international development assistance (aid) agencies. In particular, we will evaluate the impacts of the dominant development paradigm on the ecological systems and citizens of the Global South. We will use readings from prominent development theorists and Southern activists to debate the merits of collective action in resisting development and the ways in which Northern environmentalists can more effectively assist in combating global environmental degradation. This course will specifically rely on examples of development projects and collective action in sub-Saharan Africa.
ENVS 425 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 of statistics recommended.
ENVS 435 Environmental Justice (4 cr) Syllabus Norgaard
How and why are environmental problems experienced differently according to raced, gender and class? How do different communities experience and respond to environmental problems? Why does it matter that there is unequal exposure to environmental risks and benefits? What do we learn about the meaning of gender, race and class by studying the patterns of exposure and creative resistance of different communities to environmental hazards? In other words, what does the study of environmental risks tell us about racism, classism, sexism in our nations and world today? What is environmental privilege and why does it matter? These are some of the questions we will take up in this course.
ENVS 440 Environmental Aesthetics (4 cr) Course Flier Syllabus Toadvine
Explores aesthetic experience of nature through philosophical perspective; emphasizes nature and art; beauty and the sublime; embodiment, culture, and science; and ethics, conservation, and preservation.

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Spring 2013

ENVS 203 Introduction to Environmental Studies: Humanities (4 cr) Syllabus Westling
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 350 Ecological Footprint of Energy Generation (4 cr) Syllabus Bothun
The current ecological footpring of our energy and electricity generation takes the primary form of dumping waste heat into the surface layers of the ocean. In turn that leads to climate changes if that excess heat can’t be mixed rapidly. The oceans are currently near there satuation point which means that the rate of climate change is accelerating If we want to decarbonize the grid and move to sustainable energy sources then we must acknowledge that the biggest evil is CLIMATE CHANGE. All forms of alternative energy genreation will have an ecological footprint – we must choose against the lesser of all evils. There is no other choice for us. The silver bullet solution does not exit. It especially doesn’t exist if we can’t curb global Consumption.
ENVS 411 Topic: Hanford: Environmental Issues in West (4 cr) Syllabus Elliott
In the early 1940’s, the Mid-Columbia Basin was already the site of historical and environmental change brought about by white settlement. In 1943, the Hanford nuclear site was established as part of the Manhattan Project, and it produced the plutonium used to drop a bomb on Nagasaki. Today, Hanford is the site of the largest environmental cleanup project in history—it is now a Superfund site that receives $2 billion in government funding each year.
In this class, we will explore the environmental and social impacts associated with the Hanford site, as well as other environmental issues affecting the area and the American West as a whole. By taking an in-depth look at a specific place, we will learn how environmental issues are intertwined, as well as how they are replicated in other places.
ENVS 429 Environmental Leadership: (Project) (1-4 cr)
EE Sylabus
, CSA Syllabus, CE Syllabus
Lynch/Boulay
This class is the first quarter of the Environmental Leadership Program’s two-quarter Environmental Education Initiative. During this winter we will explore various progressive educational theories and see how environmental education is practiced in Oregon, nationally and around the globe. You will work in teams to apply your skills, strengths and creativity towards developing educational materials that will make a difference in our community and wider world.This year the teams and community partners are:
Canopy Connection (Lynch)
X-Stream (Lynch)
River Stories (Lynch)
Stream Stewardship (Boulay)
Wetland Wildlife (Boulay)
Oregon Oaks (Boulay)

ENVS 467 Sustainable Agriculture (4 cr) Martin
Examines traditional non-industrialized, modern industrialized, modern organic, and genetically modified crop-based systems through the lens of sustainability.
ENVS 450 Political Ecology (4 cr) Walker
Political ecology examines the politics (in the broadest sense of the word) of the environment. Whereas environmental politics courses often focus on the role of government and interest groups in shaping specific environmental policies, political ecology expands our understanding of ‘politics’ to examine the roles of: 1) environmental rhetoric (‘discourse’), ideology, and knowledge; 2) politics and environmental change; 3) economic systems (including ‘globalization’); 4) gender-based dimensions of resource ownership and use; 5) and everyday struggles within communities and households (including ‘community’-based resource management) as they shape human relationships with nature. Although much of the political ecology literature comes from studies of the less-developed ‘third world,’ this course also examines the political ecology of the ‘first world.’

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Summer 2013

ENVS 201 Introduction to Environmental Studies: Social Sciences
(4 cr) June 24 – July 21 Syllabus
Grigsby
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) June 24 – July 21 Syllabus Course Flier Hall
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 202 Introduction to Environmental Studies: Natural Sciences (4 cr) Online Course Syllabus Bothun
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) July 22 – Aug 14 Syllabus Christion Myers
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) June 24 – July 21Syllabus Guernsey
Key concepts and various moral views surveyed; includes anthropocentrism, individualism, ecocentrism, deep ecology, and ecofeminism. Exploration includes case studies and theory.
ENVS 411/511 Topic: Law and the Environment (4 cr) July 22 – Aug 14 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.
ENVS 435 Environmental Justice (4 cr) July 22 – Aug 14 Syllabus Bacon
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 455 Sustainability (4 cr) June 24 – July 21 Walker
Examines the evolution of the concept of sustainability and its complex and sometimes problematic uses among scholars, policymakers, environmentalists, and businesses.
Pre- or coreq: ENVS 201