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Course Descriptions 2010-2011

FALL 2010
WINTER 2011
SPRING 2011
SUMMER 2011


FALL 2010

ENVS 201 Introduction to Environmental Studies: Social Sciences (4 credits)

Instructor: Walker

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 credits)

Instructor: Elliott/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 355 Environmental Data Analysis and Modeling (4 credits)

Instructor: Bothun

Statistical methods of data modeling and analysis with specific application to environmental data sets.

ENVS 411 Topic: Communication (4 credits)

Instructor: Roddy/Peacher

Pending description

ENVS 411 Law and the Environment (4 credits)

Instructor: 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 410/510 Soils (4 credits)

Instructor: Bridgham

Chemical and physical characteristics and classification of soils, field soil identification, soil degradation.

ENVS 429 Ecotourism

Instructor: Boulay

Pending description

ENVS 455/555 Sustainability What is it? (4 credits)

Instructor: 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.

This course is about the evolution of the concept of sustainability and its complex and sometimes problematic uses among scholars, policy makers, environmentalist and businesses. 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.

Prereq: ENVS 201 and junior or senior standing.

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WINTER 2011

ENVS 202 Introduction to Environmental: Natural Sciences (4 credits)

Instructor: 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 and Environmental Science 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 Scarce Environmental Resources (4 credits)

Instructor: 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 411 Ecology & the Economy (4 credits)

Instructor: Horan

(Pending course description)

ENVS 411 Pollution & Health (4 credits)

Instructor: 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 411/511 Sustainable Agriculture (4 credits)

Instructor: Martin

Examines traditional non-industrialized, modern industrialized, modern organic, and genetically modified crop-based systems through the lens of sustainability. (Winter)

ENVS 425/525 Environmental Education: Theory & Practice (4 credits)

Instructor: 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 427/527 Environmental and Ecological Monitoring (4 credits)

Instructor: Boulay

Environmental and ecological monitoring is done for a variety of reasons, and the monitoring objectives will shape the project design and methods. In this course, you will examine the entire process of designing and implementing a monitoring program. Using local monitoring projects as case studies, you will use common techniques to collect, manage, analyze, summarize and present data. You will gain practical hands-on experience using a variety of equipment and software resources. Course topics focus on plant and animal population monitoring but will also address monitoring for habitat restoration, water quality, and other topics. Because monitoring relies on models for predicting outcomes and statistics for analyzing data, some background in mathematics and statistics is recommended for this course.

ENVS 450/550 Political Ecology (4 credits)

Instructor: 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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SPRING 2011

ENVS 201 Introduction to Environmental Studies: Social Sciences (4 credits)

Instructor: Schreiner

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. (Spring)

ENVS 202 Introduction to Environmental: Natural Sciences (4 credits)

Instructor: 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 and Environmental Science 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. (Winter)

ENVS 203 Introduction to Environmental Studies: Humanities (4 credits)

Instructor: Carruth

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. (Spring)

ENVS 350 Energy Footprint (4 cr)

Instructor: Bothun

Detailed study of the ecological consequences of all forms of energy generation, including fossil fuels and alternative energy sources.

ENVS 399 Seminar: Natural and Cultural History (4 credits)

Instructor: Dennis, Roering, Roy

(Pending course description)

ENVS 411 Living in a Toxic World (4 credits)

Instructor: Elliot

(Pending course description) (Spring)

ENVS 429 Environmental Leadership: (Project) (1-4R cr)

Instructor: 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 2010 – 2011 teams are:

  • Canopy Connection (Lynch)
  • Climate Ethics/Equity (Lynch)
  • Wetlands (Lynch)
  • Restoration (Boulay)
  • Turtles (Boulay)

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Summer 2011

ENVS 201 Introduction to Environmental Studies: Social Sciences (4 credits)

Instructor: Veazey

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)

Instructor: Bothun

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 and Environmental Science 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. (Summer 2011 – WEB)

ENVS 203 Introduction to Environmental Studies: Humanities

Instructor: Bacon

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 Topic: The Hanford Site

Instructor: Elliott

Pending description

ENVS 411 Topic: Climate Justice

Instructor: Joshi

Pending description

ENVS 411/511 Topic: Sustainable Agriculture

Instructor: Martin

Examines traditional non-industrialized, modern industrialized, modern organic, and genetically modified crop-based systems through the lens of sustainability.

ENVS 455/555 Sustainability

Instructor: 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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