College of Arts and Sciences

Environmenal Studies Program

Environmenal Studies Program

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Course Descriptions

ESTD 101. Introduction to Environmental Thinking. 3 Units.

Critical comparison of scientific, historical, religious, and literary conceptions of nature. Theories of environmental ethics, legal, and economic conceptions of environmental goods. Current controversies concerning human population growth, energy use, the consumer society, and attitudes towards animals.

ESTD 202. Global Environmental Problems. 3 Units.

Global Environmental Problems is a course designed to provide students with an understanding of, and an appreciation for, human-influenced environmental changes that are global in scope. Accordingly, much of the material will focus on the nature and structure of natural global systems, how and where in those systems human influences occur, and will delve deeply into a few particular problems and solutions of current interest, such as population growth, climate change, ozone depletion, and fisheries, from a variety of viewpoints. Offered as ESTD 202 and EEPS 202.

ESTD 303. Environmental Law. 3 Units.

Introduction to treatment of environmental issues in legal proceedings. Sources of environmental law, legal procedure, common law remedies (toxic torts and human health, nuisance, contract law), statutes and regulations, endangered species, public lands, toxics regulation, nuclear power, coal. The course employs the case method of reading and recitation of appellate judicial opinions. We read both classic cases in environmental law as well as current controversies. Offered as ESTD 303 and EEPS 303.

ESTD 388. Politics, Policy, and the Global Environment. 3 Units.

This course examines the law, politics and policy surrounding global environmental challenges such as climate change. The course aims to provide a broad overview of the key concepts, actors, debates, and issues in global environmental politics. It aims to illustrate the complexities of addressing environmental problems-from the proliferation of global institutions and international actors, to the absence of central enforcement mechanisms. We examine the causes of environmental degradation and competing views on the gravity of the problem. Using concepts from political science and economics, we investigate the challenges in getting states to act jointly to address environmental problems. We examine the actors and institutions of global environmental politics, to understand how conditions are defined as problems and responses are chosen and implemented. The course concludes by applying the tools and concepts to the case of climate change. Offered as POSC 388, ESTD 388, POSC 488.

ESTD 398. Seminar in Environmental Studies. 3 Units.

Small group discussion and student presentations concerning the cultural determinants of environmental attitudes. Each student presents two seminars on current environmental issues, one local and one global. Recommended preparation: ESTD 101.

ESTD 399. Departmental Seminar in Environmental Studies. 3 Units.

Discussion and critique of recent publications in Environmental Studies. Students write weekly short essays on readings and participate in weekly group discussion. Reading list changes annually and is typically comprised of 7-9 books that center on a few unifying themes for that year (food, energy, futures, toxic torts, attitudes toward animals, consumer culture, climate crises for example). Students research, write, and defend a critical review of academic literature concerning some topic contained in the readings. Prior enrollment in ESTD 101 is recommended but not required. Students may not enroll in both ESTD 399 and 398 in the same year.