ESPM 1011: Issues in the Environment

Term(s) offered: 
Course credits: 
Grading basis: 
15% final exam, 25% reports/papers, 35% special projects, 15% quizzes, 10% class participation.


This course is an introductory, interdisciplinary survey of environmental issues that explores the connections between environmental sciences, policy, and management and personal, professional, and civic responsibility. On Mondays and Wednesdays, the instructors and a variety of guest speakers will introduce students to topics of current environmental concern, and on Fridays students will discuss these issues in small groups. The course emphasizes the social, political, and economic factors involved in environmental decision-making, and lectures are supplemented with videos and a course web site. The overarching question the course asks is: What should a sustainable society look like, and how should we attempt to achieve it? The specific topics it explores include: population and consumption; energy, climate change, and waste; land use (soils, forests, agriculture, water, and wetlands); and biodiversity (fisheries, wildlife, and endangered and invasive species). The course is intended for first-year students majoring in Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management and for all students who are interested in the subject and wish to satisfy the University's liberal education requirements for Environment Theme and Citizenship and Public Ethics Theme. The course has no prerequisites and is suitable for students with little or no scientific background.

Course time: 
60% Lecture, 40% Discussion
Course work load: 
20 pages reading per week, 15-20 pages writing per term, 1 exams, 4 papers. 3 quizzes
Course exam format: