Class Schedule
Class Links
Office Hours
Project Instructions
Online Evaluation

Overview: This course is designed to provide students with an appreciation for the complexity of environmental issues and an awareness of the tools that can be applied to understand and solve problems involving the environment. The course will begin with the basics of how natural systems function. Next, faculty from different academic departments will present perspectives on the cultural, ethical, economic, and physical dimensions of environmental issues. Finally, students will work on a specific problem, applying techniques and concepts learned earlier in the semester.

Prerequisites: None.

Text and reading: The primary text for this class is The Pearson Custom Library for Environmental Science, ENVS 112 Spring 2013 (abbreviated as ES). Required reading is indicated below. Quizzes will be over the chapters from this text. Many weeks there will be supplementary assignments made for which you will be responsible. These will be announced as appropriate and will be found as links on the class website. Come to class prepared to discuss all assignments.

Class attendance and participation: Class participation and attendance will account for 10% of your grade. I encourage you to speak up. Ask for clarification. Share your ideas and your insights. Brilliance is not the point. Discovery and understanding are the goals. Questions are welcomed at all times. Don't be surprised if I ask you questions when I don't hear from you otherwise. All of this contributes to your participation grade.

Attendance is mandatory. You are allowed two unexcused absences before it affects your grade. After that, your final average will be decreased by 2% for every unexcused absence. Class begins at 9:40. Be prepared to begin at that time. Plan to arrive by 9:35. Chronic late arrivals will be counted as absences.

Short response assignments and Quizzes: Many weeks, you will be you will be asked to write a short (1 page, double-spaced, typed/computer printed) response to some question, regarding your weekly assignments. Details for each week can be found in the appropriate links found in online syllabus. The purpose of these assignments is to help you get ready for class discussion and to stimulate thinking. Short responses will be graded with a check, check-plus, or check-minus. Short responses are always due at the beginning of class on the day of the assignment. Late submissions will not be accepted after noon on the day assigned.

There will be two quizzes. They will cover materials in that week’s reading assignments from the textbook or other assigned readings. Short responses and Quizzes will account for 20% of your grade.

Exam and Take-home Essay/Exam: The mid-term exam will cover all readings and class material up to that point in the semester. It will consist of short answer questions and some essay questions. The take-home essay assignment will be a short synthesis paper in which you will address an issue using all you have learned in the class to that point. These are each worth 20% of your grade.

Field Trips: We will have one class field trip subject to weather conditions. This will be out of doors and may involve getting wet and/or dirty, so dress appropriately.

Group Project: This is a collaborative effort. You will work in groups of 4 - 5 students on a particular environmental issue. Within certain parameters, your group will define the problem, outline its major components using the systems approach, research the details, and present your project to the class. Finally, each member of the group will write a final report on her/his component of the project. The environmental issue(s) of interest will be determined later in the semester. The project will account for 20% of the grade, which will be a combination of the group and individual contributions to the project.

Academic honesty: This class will follow the official Kenyon College position on academic honesty .

Need help?: If at any time, you feel that you do not have the proper background to understand the material that is being presented, please let me know. If you have a disability and therefore may have need for some type of accommodation(s) in order to participate fully in this class, please feel free to discuss your concerns in private with me and also self identify yourself to Erin Salva, Coordinator of Disability Services at PBX 5453 or via e-mail at SALVAE.

Grading: Student learning will be evaluated with an in-class essay test, a take-home essay, quizzes and responses, the class project, and participation in class activities. I suggest you check with me early in the term if you have any doubts about how well you are doing. It doesn't pay to wait until the last week to ask how you can improve your grade. The contribution of each component to the final grade is as follows;

Essay test = 20%
Take-home essay = 20%
Project = 20%
Quizzes, short responses = 30%
Class attendance and participation = 10%

Deadlines and conflicts:  Work in this class that is handed in late will be penalized 1/3 grade per day.  For example, a B+ will become a B.  If conflicts exist with scheduled extracurricular events, students must contact me one week before the date to discuss ways to handle the conflict.  In the case of conflicts with exams, I expect that students will take the exam before the scheduled date.  Written assignments should be handed in before the due date if a class is to be missed because of a scheduled event.

Schedule:  (subject to change as the semester progresses) Links to PowerPoint materials follow the topic, "RM" for Mauck section, "JO" for Olsen section.

Date Topic/Activity Readings/Assignments

Jan 15

Jan 17

Introduction to Environmental Studies

A Systems Approach to Complex Issues

ES Chapter 1

Response: ANWR (THURS)

Jan 22

Jan 24

The Global Context - energy and nutrient cycling

(TUES: Common Hour Talk: Elena Fernandez '08 "Fish tales: Managing salmon fisheries in Prince William Sound, Alaska." )

Climate Change - systems approach

ES Chapter 2, Quiz (Chapter 2)

ES Chapter 3

Jan 29

Jan 31

Population Ecology

Biodiversity and Endangered Species

ES Chapter 4,

Quiz (Chapter 4)

Feb 5

Feb 7

Invasive Species

ESSAY TEST (All material through Feb 7)

ES Chapter 5, Response (TUES)

Example Questions for Exam

Feb 12

Feb 13

Landscape Change - ecological consequences

Ecological Footprint

Reading: Ecological Footprint

Your Footprint Assignment

Feb 19

Feb 21

Modeling Footprints with Stella

Human Cultural Ecology

Stella Exercise


Feb 26

Feb 28

Human Population Growth – a complex issue

DUE (TUES): Stella Footprint, ES Chapter 6

For Thursday: Response

Mar 2 to

Mar 18

Spring Break  

Mar 19

Mar 21

Group Project Workshop

Economic Systems & the Environment (Prof. Jay Corrigan)

Group Assignments

Read for THURS: Pink Flamingos

Mar 26

Mar 28

Environmental Economics

Environmental Economics

Read for TUES: ES Chapter 7.3-7.4

DUE 3/26 (Tuesday, class or via email): Group Project Definition

Apr 2

Apr 4

Alternative Energy (Prof. Scott Cummings)

Environmental Ethics (Prof. Yang Xiao) - Writing Assignment on Moodle


Chapter 7.1-7.2 - Further Assignment on Moodle

Apr 9

Apr 11

Group Project Workshop

Politics of the Environment

Chapter 7.5-7.7, Link: Tragedy of the Commons

Assigned 4/11: Take-home Exam Due 4/21,

Apr 16

Apr 18

Sustainable agriculture - Field Trip to Dharma Farm on Tuesday or Thursday

Sustainable agriculture - Field Trip to Dharma Farm (DUE 4/21: Take-home Exam - Submit via Moodle)

Chapter 8



Apr 23

Apr 25

Is Environmentalism Dead? A Discussion

Global Climate Change and Environmental Policy

FOR TUESDAY:Shellenberger & Nordhaus essay (read through pg 25) and David Hawkins: a Response

April 30

May 2

Group Project In-class Presentations - Schedule TBA

DUE Noon 5/9: Group Project (written portion)

last update - April 17, 2013 2:29 PM

Biofuels article from Ecological Society of America 2010

No Final Exam - Group Project (written) DUE Noon, May 9



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TakeHomeProvisional, read this article from the NYT for the exam.