RCIDIV 302 - Advanced Issues in Science, Technology, Medicine, and Society
Section: 001 Environmental Literature/Social Justice: Where's the Connection?
Term: WN 2009
Subject: RC Interdivisional (RCIDIV)
Department: LSA Residential College
Requirements & Distribution:
May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

Words should be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thoughts on the unthinking.

John Maynard Keynes

The proper balancing of environmental protection, biodiversity, and sustainable development is a complex equation in an industrialized society. Long before An Inconvenient Truth brought global warming to theaters across America, environmental issues were at the forefront of public policy debates. Much of the debate centered around issues of environmental justice: Access to safe and clean drinking water, hazardous industrial waste, superfund sites and garbage dumps in the poorest neighborhoods. In the 1970’s, when the modern environmental movement was born, our country enacted sweeping anti-pollution laws. In the decades since, however, our commitment to environmental protection and environmental justice has waned as economic considerations took precedence.
Events such as the Bhopal tragedy, the Rwandan Genocide, and Hurricane Katrina reminded us that we ignore the connections between ecological, economic, and social degradation at our peril. There are a steadfast few who have continued to champion the cause of environmental justice both in the poorest neighborhoods in America and abroad. We will learn about the work of people like Majora Carter of Sustainable South Bronx, and Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel Prize for her work on sustainable development, democracy, and peace. This seminar considers efforts to promote environmental protection alongside economic prosperity, and explores cases where that balance has gone awry, with often tragic consequences for the affected communities. We will detail the success of efforts in the United States to address air and water pollution during the 1970's and 1980's and contrast that progress with the country’s failure to come to grips with issues of environmental justice. We will look at the latest scientific data, in addition to exploring exciting developments in bio-diesel fuel, green architecture, and sustainability programs, and the impact these areas could have on job creation and economic development.

Texts may include:

  • Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
  • Roderick Frazier Nash, Wilderness and the American Mind
  • F. Marina Schauffler, Turning to Earth
  • James “Gus” Speth, Red Sky At Morning
  • Mike Tidwell, The Ravaging Tide
  • Jack Turner, The Abstract Wild

RCIDIV 302 - Advanced Issues in Science, Technology, Medicine, and Society
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
7RC Ugrd
TuTh 9:30AM - 11:00AM
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