Sustainability Studies Courses
SUST 1000 Introduction to Sustainability Studies
Learning more about the social and environmental challenges facing us in the 21st century can seem overwhelming and depressing. However, there's another way to look at it: college students today have an unprecedented opportunity to help us make the transition to a more sustainable, healthier, and happier way of life by taking creative, socially just approaches to problems like global climate change, reliance on fossil fuels, and human population growth.
This course will introduce you to the interdisciplinary field of sustainability studies, which focuses on how to transform human societies so that we may equitably meet current human needs (such as health, energy, food, shelter, and transportation) while preserving the natural systems upon which all species (including our own) rely. Topics include the definition of sustainability; basic ecological concepts; worldviews, ethics, and environmental identity; economics and consumerism; food systems (including genetic modification of food); climate change; environmental justice; and issues affecting freshwater and ocean systems, such as watershed health, the privatization of water and overfishing.
Activities will include 1) frequent writing assignments to allow you to express your understanding of the complex systems that provide the foundation for environmental and human health and well-being and 2) experiential elements (field trips and a campus sustainability project) that will allow you to apply and test classroom theories and information. Guest speakers will represent different disciplines that contribute to sustainability studies.
This course fulfills the Global Citizenship requirements for the Physical and Natural World Knowledge Area and Critical Thinking Skills Area.
Note: For students who are pursuing the environmental studies minor, this course will count as Introduction to Environmental Studies, which it has replaced in the catalogue.
Research and Communication Requirement
WRIT 2072 Writing for Change (3 credits)
Science and Sustainability Requirement
SCIN 1010.02 Topics in Physical Science: When Rivers Run Wild (3 credits)
Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Mississippi River floods, or flash floods on local streams—are they natural disasters or the result of human actions? What is pollution and what can society do about it? Students will use a variety of disciplines to inform the way they think about water, storms, rivers, floods and our social values. [SCI]
Social Science and Sustainability Requirement
EDUC 4250.01 Economics and Geography for Global Sustainability (4 credits)
This course is designed to provide elementary, middle and secondary educators the information they need to understand and be able to teach the fundamentals of economics, geography and global sustainability. Economic content includes: economic systems, concepts, and institutions; economic change over time; modern global economics; and the relationship between producers, consumers, and the government. Geography content includes: Physical geography skills (apply and use geographic representations, tools, and resources such as maps, atlases, aerial photographs, globes, etc.). and concepts; locales, regions, nations, and the world relative to location, size, climate, and geology; and how individuals and groups are affected by events on an international and global scale. Sustainability concepts and skills will be integrated throughout the course with emphasis on current environmental and social equity issues as well as systems thinking. Students will explore the interconnectedness of people, profit and planet.
Arts and Humanities and Sustainability Requirement
RELG 2430.01 Environment and Religion: The Sacred Mystery & Landscape (3 credits)
Mt Fuji in Japan is revered as a deity; rivers in New Zealand may be home to a taniwha, a water-dragon spirit; and the Navajo, Hopi and Pueblo peoples all regard Mt Taylor in New Mexico as the sacred access point to the spirit worlds beneath the earth’s surface. This course, which contributes also to the Environmental Studies program and minor, explores a variety of ways in which landscapes, landforms and special places have been regarded as Sacred. We will consider what this interestingly-loaded concept means, why it applies (or doesn’t), and what effects it has. We will look at some key examples from different religious cultures, primarily from North America, and also examples known to those in the class. Our primary texts will be Belden Lane’s study of North American sacred places, Leslie Marmon Silko’s novel Ceremony set in New Mexico, the Japanese poet Basho’s travel journals, and some of contemporary poet and ecologist Gary Snyder’s writings. As we contemplate how the designation of the ‘sacred’ affects the treatment of the environments involved, we will ask whether being ‘sacred’ protects the environment, and who decides … [VAL]