Issues in the Environment

We live in a crowded, complex world. The demands of the growing human population are putting increasing pressure on our environment. How can we meet the needs of more than seven billion people without depleting the Earth’s resources and destroying its ecosystems? How can our own actions help or harm our planet? What are the social, political, and economic factors involved in environmental decision-making? This course is an introductory survey of environmental issues that explores the connections between environmental sciences, policy, and management.  The course begins by reviewing scientific, ethical, and economic approaches to environmental decision-making, but our primary focus will be scientific.  Then, we’ll apply these perspectives to prominent environmental issues, including human population growth, resource consumption, land management (e.g., forestry, agriculture), pollution, and energy use.  The course is intended for first-year students majoring in Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management and for all students who are interested in the environment and/or wish to satisfy the University's liberal education  Environment theme. The course has no prerequisites and is suitable for students with little or no scientific background.

Class Time: 60% Lecture, 20% Small Group Activities, 15% Discussion, 5% Film/Video
Workload: 20 pages reading per week, 13 graded items (assignments and/or exams).
Grade: 30% exams, 29% projects, 22% out-of-class assignments, 19% in-class exercises.
Exam Format: Combination of short answer, fill-in-the-blank, multiple-choice, and true-false.

Course ID
ESPM 1011
Semester Offered
Course Frequency
every year