Thursday, April 17, 2008

Interesting Summer Course: SPEA-E 162 Environment and People: Thinking Global, Acting Local

SPEA-E 162 Environment and People: Thinking Global, Acting Local
Second Summer Session 2008
M-F, 11:30am-12:20pm
Instructor: Paul Schneller. Adjunct Professor
E-mail address: Phone: 332-5842
Secretary: Jennifer Mitchner, SPEA Phone: 855-7980

Brief Course description

This course is a survey of issues and problems arising from human interaction with the natural environment. We will look at topics from a global perspective first, then a local one, with special emphasis on the IUB campus and the recently completed report of the IUB Sustainability Task Force. Looking at topics one by one is, of course, a convenient way to analyze them, but it is artificial. In the real world, everything is connected to everything else, and things are not that easy to analyze. We will try to make the connections visible within each individual topic, and focus as much as possible on what we humans do and why we do it. The topics we will look at are Ecology Basics, Population, Climate, Energy, Water, Food, Biodiversity and Forests.

In general, I hope that this course will help you become more aware of how we humans are affecting and are affected by the natural environment. I believe that it is critically important for students to graduate with a working knowledge of what's going on in the environment. It may be a cliché to say that students are the future decision-makers of our world, but it is true. There are well-informed people who believe that degreed individuals are, as a group, heavily responsible for many of the actions that have led to the environmental threats we are all facing. My goal is to arm you with enough information and create sufficient awareness so that when you graduate (or even while you are still an undergrad), you operate at the campus level, the corporate level, the governmental level or wherever, with the prudence that comes from an understanding of the human potential for causing environmental change. Further, I hope you come to believe – if you don’t already – that what you do matters, whether you act alone, or with a few other like-minded people, or as a member of a large group.

Course Objectives

By the end of this course, you should be able to:
a) describe critical global and local environmental problems that are correlated with human activity, and
b) specify actions that you and others can take on campus and elsewhere to mitigate those problems.

Text and Readings

Ishmael. Daniel Quinn.

NOTE: This course counts as an elective outside the College of Arts and Sciences for CMCL majors.