ENVIRON 139 - First-Year Seminar in the Environment
Section: 005 Environment, Religions, Spirituality and Sustainability
Term: FA 2018
Subject: Program in the Environment (ENVIRON)
Department: SNE Program in the Environment
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

The present age in geological history is now referred to as the Anthropocene in recognition of the overwhelming impact of human society on the natural world. This course will examine current trends in human impacts on the environment and identify which social, cultural, economic, and technological activities are sustainable/unsustainable.

We will examine these questions through various frameworks of knowledge. We will avail ourselves of the best scientific information regarding the status and likely future of the biosphere. We will also systematically encounter aspects of the natural world, ensuring a shared experiential basis of encounter with the biotic world. The seminar will also explore various ways of being-in-the-world, especially as these have been envisioned through traditional and contemporary religions and spirituality.

Religions to be considered include world religions, both eastern and Abrahamic, as well as those of Native Americans, other indigenous peoples, and contemporary “dark green” religions. The consideration of spirituality is based on individuals' experiences and recognition of "sacred" or "ultimate" realities that are variously understood and characterized.

Students enrolling in this seminar will have varying backgrounds of knowledge and experience in relation to the environment, science, religion / spirituality, and unsustainability / sustainability. This course welcomes:

  • Students with religious commitments in traditional faith communities;
  • Students who identify themselves as agnostics, atheists, secular humanists, skeptics, or ‘undecideds’;
  • Students who have formulated their own system of values and related belief systems and practices.

This seminar’s opportunity for participatory inquiry will require enrolled students to engage in respectful dialogue along with acceptance of people with backgrounds and present commitments and beliefs that are different from their own.

Intended Audience:

First year students

Class Format:


ENVIRON 139 - First-Year Seminar in the Environment
Schedule Listing
003 (SEM)
6Enrollment Management
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
005 (SEM)
4Enrollment Management
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
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