Courses in Environmental Studies (Division 366)

The quest for harmony between humans and the natural world requires understanding of nature, society, and our individual selves. The program in Environmental Studies encourages students to supplement their training in particular academic disciplines by exploring aspects of natural science, social science, and the humanities. The Program is not a concentration program, although a student may emphasize environmental studies in the LS&A Individual Concentration Program (ICP).

Environmental Studies 123, 124, and 240 offer broad overviews of the field and serve as introductions to more advanced work. Environmental Studies 420 and 421 offer opportunities for independent study. In these courses the student is responsible for defining a plan of study, enlisting others with similar interests if appropriate, and locating a faculty member willing to supervise the work. Environmental Studies 450 is a Capstone Seminar providing the opportunity for seniors, particularly those pursuing ICPs, to work together to compare diverse perspectives on human values and the environment.

Courses on environmental issues are offered by many different departments and programs in LS&A as well as in other colleges of the university. Students interested in the environment should explore each issue of the Time Schedule thoroughly, because many appropriate courses are offered at irregular intervals under unpredictable headings. Of particular interest are some of the University Courses.

During the Winter Term of 1998 LS&A, in collaboration with the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, will offer an enhanced program of courses, lectures, forums, and exhibits entitled The Environmental Semester/Rethinking the Relationship. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the unusual opportunities for educational enrichment that this Theme Semester will provide. See page 8 of this Course Guide for a complete listing of Theme Semester courses. For current information, visit:

123/Geol. 123/AOSS 123. Life and the Global Environment. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 361. (2). (NS). (BS).
How human beings interact with the natural environment, including the physical and chemical environment and living creatures. Topics include: the cowboy mentality and the need for environmental ethics, the causes and consequences of climate change, air pollution and energy, the ozone emergency and its lessons, the environmental impact of neoclassical economics, and environmental responsibility. Instruction is by lectures, films, assigned reading, and computer exercises. Grades are based on homework and frequent short quizzes. The text is Environmental Science: A Global Concern (3rd or 4th edition) by W.P. Cunningham and B.W. Saigo, William C. Brown Publishers, 1995. Cost:2 WL:4 (Walker)
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240(320)/RC Interdiv. 240. Big Questions for a Small Planet: Introduction to Environmental Studies. (4). (Excl).
This course is an introduction to environmental studies. We survey the environmental state of the world in the 1990s, including the health of physical systems such as climate and water, the biodiversity of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and human habitations and quality of life around the world. We review the physical and biological processes that make the earth a life-support system. We review policies and economics of resource use. Also, we survey the different ways in which societies consume and use resources. Linking these themes is the outlook for a sustainable future, in terms of the size of the human population and the quality of life, the status of other species, and the integrity of physical systems. We learn how to determine the "ecological footprint" of American culture under current and alternative levels of resource consumption. About 1/4 of the lectures are given by guest speakers from a wide range of backgrounds. Students keep a journal, design projects, and write several papers and two essay exams. Texts include Ishmael (Quinn), Global Ecology in Human Perspective (Southwick), and Our Ecological Footprint (Wackernagel and Rees). Cost:2 WL:4 (Badgley)
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356. Homeplace: Life in the Huron Valley. (3). (Excl).
An interdisciplinary examination of interactions between humans and nature using the Huron River Valley as an example. The course will focus on excursions in Ann Arbor and the surrounding countryside to examine how life in the Huron Valley has been shaped by our particular environment and how humans over time have modified this environment with consequences both good and bad. The excursions will be supported by lectures, readings, and discussions examining literary and artistic views of nature as well as climate, ecosystem formation and function, social structures, and history. Grades will be based on student writing in journals and assigned exercises, a collaborative research project involving a detailed study of a nearby place, and participation in class discussion. Cost:2 WL:1 (Knott, Webb, Walker)
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412. Alternative Patterns of Resource Utilization: The Amish in Twentieth Century America. Environ. Studies. 240. (3). (Excl).
The Amish are succeeding and increasing in numbers while appearing to defy modern technology and contemporary wisdom. A detailed study of this cohesive, rural subculture can give perspective to contemporary American agricultural methods, consumption patterns, conflict resolution, and resource utilization. The role of community, value systems, social structures, scale, and technology will be explored, as will the relationships to the natural environment and the dominant culture. Questions will be raised concerning cultural diversity as it pertains to human survival and problems of maintaining cultural cohesiveness and transferring specific behaviors across cultural boundaries. Biweekly classes will consist primarily of lecture and discussion with several guest speakers, films, and perhaps a field trip. Students will be evaluated on the basis of class participation, small papers, a research paper to be shared with the class, and probably a final exam. Cost:1 WL:1 (Huntington)
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415/RC Nat. Sci. 415. Science and Politics. One college-level science course. (4). (Excl). (BS).
See RC Natural Science 415. (Wright)
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420. Practicum in Environmental Problems. Environ. Studies 240 and cognates pertinent to the study. Permission must be granted by Director prior to enrollment. (1-4). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May not be repeated for credit.
Independent study of critical environmental problems. The student is responsible for defining a plan of study, enlisting others with similar interests if appropriate, and locating a faculty member to supervise the work.
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421. Practicum in Environmental Problems. Environ. Studies 240 and cognates pertinent to the study. Permission must be granted by Director prior to enrollment. (1-4). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May not be repeated for credit.
See Environmental Studies 420.
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