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Environmental Sustainability

Overview   |   Earlhamites   |   Faculty   |   Plan of Study   |   Courses   |   Related Programs   |   Action Steps

 

Environmental sustainability is an interdisciplinary field that integrates natural and social sciences, humanities, arts, and education in pursuit of balancing human needs and ecological well-being. Environmental professionals research the environmental impacts of human behaviors and what drives these outcomes. Environmental sustainability considers the role of humans in nature and often views humans as embedded within environmental systems.

Majors in Environmental Sustainability at Earlham will leave college ready to address complex environmental problems by identifying social-ecological linkages and causes from multiple perspectives, collecting data to analyze those problems, and proposing possible solutions in collaboration with others. The Major in Environmental Sustainability prepares students for this through a collection of multi-disciplinary courses and a core Environmental Sustainability course sequence that helps students to frame and link those diverse perspectives. In each core course, students will practice collaboratively addressing complex environmental problems, gaining increased autonomy and leadership throughout their four years.

As an outcome, majors in Environmental Sustainability will:

  • develop an understanding of systems and multi-perspective thinking,
  • develop an understanding of both local and global contexts and the interrelationships between various scales  — time, space,
  • develop a critical understanding of environmental issues,
  • gain technical and applied skills relevant to the field such as scientific method, GIS, statistics, community-based research, etc.,
  • earn to work collaboratively in a community of learners, and
  • practice and demonstrate effective means of oral and written expression.
Earlhamites in Environmental Sustainability
Qianyi Luo
Finding Something Special

Qianyi Luo '16 came to Earlham from China "looking for a new me" in a liberal arts setting. While studying at Earlham, she says she's found what she was seeking.

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Jonathan Birkel
Soil and Spirituality

Jonathan Birkel ’16 never would have guessed his education would revolve so much around soil. He was able to help develop soil sensors during a May Term, and research ancient agriculture on a summer project.

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Mary Jones
Environmental Activist

After graduating, Mary Jones '12 found that she was tailor-made for a position available at Cope Environmental Center due to the skill set and relationships that she had developed while an undergraduate at Earlham.

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Faculty

Eric Cunningham
Assistant Professor of Japanese Studies

Cynthia Fadem
Associate Professor of Geology

Scott Hess
Professor of English

Thor Hogan
Associate Professor of Politics and Environmental Studies

Karen Mager
Assistant Professor of Environmental Sustainability

Jamey Pavey
Director of Integrated Programs in Sustainability

Jay Roberts
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs; Associate Professor of Education

Wendy Tori
Associate Professor of Biology
Plan of Study

The Major

Majors in Environmental Sustainability are introduced to the interdisciplinary nature of the environmental field and develop skills and leadership in cross-disciplinary collaboration as they progress through the core course sequence. As an outcome of the program, majors achieve both breadth of knowledge in environmental fields and depth of knowledge in a particular area of emphasis.

Students who major in Environmental Sustainability will complete 5 courses within the major core, and an additional 10 courses within a chosen multidisciplinary track:

All of the following courses:

  • ENSU 141 Environment, Society and Sustainability (4 credits)
  • ENSU 151 Environment, Science and Sustainability (4 credits)
  • ENSU 353 Environmental Application (3 credits)
  • ENSU 481 Field Experience/Internship OR
    • ENSU 486 Student Research (0-1 credits).
  • ENSU 488 Senior Capstone/Seminar (3 credits)

This thematic focus provides the necessary foundational knowledge in educational theory and methodology combined with practical leadership and skill development to prepare students for work in a variety of outdoor and environmental education contexts. Minor in a natural science is strongly recommended.

All of the following Education courses (7-8 credits):

  • EDUC 120 Foundations of Education (3 credits) OR
    • EDUC 248 Theory and Practice (4 credits, including a 1-credit practicum)
  • ENSU 210 Outdoor Trip Leadership (1 credit)
  • PSYC 230 Human Development (3 credits)

Three of the following Education or Leadership courses (9-11 credits):

  • EDUC 310 Experiential Education (3 credits)
  • ENSU/EDUC 320 Pedagogies of Place (3 credits)
  • ENSU/PSYC 370 Psychology of Sustainability (3 credits)
  • EDUC/PSYCH 373 Moral Education (3 credits)
  • MGMT 342 Leadership and Dealing with Differences (3 credits)
  • MUSE 213 Engaging Audiences with Outreach and Interpretation (4 credits)
  • PAGS 343 Conflict Resolution (3 credits)
  • TESO 344 Studies in Language Learning and Teaching (4 credits)

One of the following Cultural Studies courses (3-5 credits):

  • ENSU/ENG 205 American Literature and Ecology (4 credits)
  • ENSU/JPNS 376 Political Ecologies of East Asia (4 credits)
  • ENSU/POLS 399 Sustainable Cities in Europe (3 credits)
  • INTD 0340 Environmental Issues of New Zealand (5 credits)
  • JPNS/ENST 231 Japanese Culture & the Environment (3 credits)
  • SICE Cross-cultural education perspectives (3 credits)

Three of the following Natural Science courses, at least two must be above 202 (12 credits):

  • BIOL 111 Ecological Biology (4 credits)
  • BIOL 226 Biological Diversity (4 credits)
  • BIOL 348 Ornithology (4 credits)
  • BIOL 350 Field Botany (4 credits)
  • BIOL 362 Insect Biology (4 credits)
  • BIOL 346 Vertebrate Zoology (4 credits)
  • BIOL 357 Animal Behavior (4 credits)
  • BIOL 455 Population and Community Ecology (4 credits)
  • CHEM 111 Principles of Chemistry (4 credits)
  • GEOL 201 Earth & the Environment (4 credits)
  • GEOL 202 Meteorology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 314 Earth History (4 credits)
  • GEOL 315 Earth Materials (4 credits)
  • GEOL 316 Geochemistry (4 credits)

This thematic focus provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to understand both the climate and policy systems that allow experts to translate scientific knowledge into governmental action. The collection of courses will prepare future leaders who are capable of crafting realistic alternatives for mitigating and adapting to the climate crisis.

All of the following Policy Courses (9 credits):

  • ENSU/POLS/MGMT 322 Climate Policy (3 credits)
    • may substitute ENSU/POLS/MGMT 324 Energy Policy, if needed
  • ECON 100 Introduction to Economics (3 credits)
  • POLS 111 Introduction to Politics (3 credits)

One of the following Climate Science course sequences (11-12 credits):

  • Geology:
    • GEOL 201 Earth and the Environment (4 courses)  OR GEOL 202 Meteorology (4 courses)
    • GEOL 316 Geochemistry (4 credits)
    • GEOL 432 Climate Systems (4 credits)
  • Biology/Geology:
    • BIOL 111 Ecological Biology (4 credits)
    • GEOL 201 Earth and the Environment (4 credits) OR
      • GEOL 202 Meteorology (4 credits)
    • ENSU 341 Climate Change Adaptation (3 credits)

 One of the following additional Science courses (3-4 credits):

  • ENSU 341 Climate Change Adaptation (3 credits)
  • BIOL 226 Biological Diversity (4 credits)
  • BIOL 360 Conservation Biology (3 credits)
  • BIOL 455 Population & Community Ecology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 314 Earth History (4 credits)
  • GEOL 316 Geochemistry (4 credits)
  • GEOL 432: Climate Systems (4 credits)

One of the following additional Environmental Policy courses (3 credits):

  • ENSU/POLS/MGMT 324 Energy Policy: (3 credits)
  • ENSU 326: U.S. Environmental and Natural Resource Policy (3 credits)
  • ENSU/ECON 343 Economics of the Environment (3 credits)
  • ENSU/POLS 399 Sustainable Cities in Europe (3 credits)

One of the following Statistics or Mathematics courses, chosen in consultation with your adviser (3-4 credits):

  • BIOL 455 Population & Community Ecology (4 credits)
  • ECON 204 Statistics for Economics (3 credits)
  • MATH 120 Elementary Statistics (3 credits)
  • MATH 180 Calculus A OR
    • MATH 280 Calculus B (5 credits)
  • PSYC 245 Research Methods and Statistics (3 credits)

One of the following Methods courses, chosen in consultation with your adviser (3-4 credits):

  • ENSU 310 Applications of GIS in Social Sciences (4 credits)
  • BIOL 363 Bioinformatics (4 credits)
  • BIOL 410 Applications of GIS in Ecology, Environmental, and Health Sciences (4 credits)
  • CS 128 Programming and Problem Solving (3 credits)
  • POLS TBA Politics Research Methods (3 credits)

This focus examines the distribution, quality, and protection of natural resources. It relates the nature and structure of environments, uses scientific research to explore the ways environmental change occurs, and investigates natural resources as valuable commodities. This focus will prepare students to research human impacts to environmental systems and propose management solutions.

All of the following Environmental Science courses (23 credits):

  • BIOL 111 Ecological Biology (4 credits)
  • BIOL 360 Conservation Biology (3 credits)
  • BIOL 410 Applications of GIS in Ecology, Environmental, and Health Sciences (4 credits)
  • BIOL 455 Population and Community Ecology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 201 Earth and the Environment (4 credits) OR
    • GEOL 202 Meteorology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 315 Earth Materials (4 credits)

One of the following Environmental Policy courses (3-4 credits):

  • ENSU/POLS 324 Energy Policy (3 credits)
  • ENSU 326 U.S. Environmental and Natural Resource Policy (3 credits)
  • ENSU/ECON 343 Economics of the Environment (3 credits)
  • ENSU/JPNS 376 Political Ecologies of East Asia (4 credits)

Two of the following upper-level Environmental Science courses (8-9 credits):

  • BIOL 226 Biological Diversity (4 credits)
  • BIOL 346 Vertebrate Zoology (4 credits)
  • BIOL 348 Ornithology (4 credits)
  • BIOL 350 Field Botany (4 credits)
  • BIOL 357 Animal Behavior (4 credits)
  • BIOL 362 Insect Biology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 314 Earth History (4 credits)
  • GEOL 316 Geochemistry (4 credits)
  • GEOL 410 Structural Geology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 420 Earth Surface Processes (4 credits)
  • GEOL 430 Water (4 credits)
  • GEOL 431 Soils and Sustainable Agriculture (4 credits)

One of the following Cultural or Behavioral courses (3-5 credits):

  • ENSU/ENG 205 American Literature and Ecology (4 credits)
  • ENSU/PSYC 370 Psychology of Sustainability (3 credits)
  • ENSU/JPNS 376 Political Ecologies of East Asia (4 credits)
  • INTD 0340 Environmental Issues of New Zealand (5 credits)
  • MGMT 342 Leadership and Dealing with Differences (3 credits)
  • PAGS/MGMT 343 Conflict Resolution (3 credits)

This track focuses on a humanistic exploration of the environment. It explores the ways we conceptualize and represent the environment as well as relations between environment and cultural worldviews, values, life experiences, identity, and social structures, including issues of social and environmental justice.

Both of the following courses (7 credits):

  • ENSU/ENG 205 American Literature and Ecology (4 credits)
  • SOAN 115 Anthropology in a Global Age (3 credits)

One of the following Cultural courses (3-4 credits):

  • ENSU/JPNS 376 Political Ecologies of East Asia (4 credits)
  • ENSU/JPNS 231 Japanese Culture & the Environment (3 credits)
  • ENSU/JPNS 349 Japanimals (3 credits)

One of the following Theory courses (3-4 credits):

  • ENSU/EDUC 320 Pedagogies of Place (3 credits)
  • PAGS 330 Postcolonial Theory (4 credits)
  • POLS 362 Modern Political Theory (3 credits)
  • SOAN 341 Contemporary Social Thought (4 credits)

Four additional courses, either Environmental Sustainability courses from the two categories above, or courses listed below (12-16 credits):

  • ENSU/POLS/MGMT 322: Climate Policy (3 credits)
  • ENSU/ECON 343 Economics of the Environment (3 credits)
  • ENSU/PHIL 363 Bioethics (4 credits)
  • ENSU/PSYC 370 Psychology of Sustainability (3 credits)
  • ART 282: Modern Art & the Environment (3 credits)
  • INTD 340 Cultures of New Zealand (4 credits)
  • PAGS 240 Global Dynamics and World Peace (4 credits)
  • PAGS/PHIL 315 Marxism (4 credits)
  • PAGS/MGMT 343 Conflict Resolution (3 credits)
  • PAGS/ECON 345 Urban Political Economy (3 credits)
  • SOAN 118 Inequalities, Power, and Society (4 credits)

One of the following Methods courses (3-4 credits):

  • ENSU 310 Applications of GIS in Social Sciences (4 credits)
  • ECON 100 Introduction to Economics (3 credits)
  • ECON 204 Statistics for Economics (3 credits)
  • MATH 300 Statistics (3 credits)
  • POLS 340 Research Methods (TBA credits)
  • PSYC 245 Research Methods and Statistics (3 credits)
  • SOAN 345 Social Research Methods (4 credits)

One of the following introductory Natural Science courses (3-4 credits):

  • BIOL 111 Ecological Biology (4 credits)
  • BIOL 226 Biological Diversity (4 credits)
  • GEOL 201 Earth & the Environment (4 credits)
  • GEOL 202 Meteorology (4 credits)

Other courses may apply to the requirements within a track with approval of the major adviser and Environmental Sustainability convener.

The Minor

All of the following courses (11 credits):

  • ENSU 141 Environment, Society and Sustainability (4 credits)
  • ENSU 151 Environment, Science and Sustainability (4 credits)
  • ENSU 353: Environmental Application (3 credits)

Three additional courses ...

  • that count towards the major from two different divisions (Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, and Visual & Performing Arts). At least one of these must be an Environmental Sustainability course.

 

Requirements for Environmental Sustainability Majors with a Double Major or Minor:

Environmental Sustainability majors wishing to double major or minor in a complementary program (e.g. Biology, Geology, Politics, etc.) are encouraged to do so. However, not more than three classes taken for the ENSU major may count towards another major. No more than two classes from the Environmental Sustainability major can count towards a minor.

Courses

* Key

Courses that fulfill
General Education Requirements:

  • (A-AR) = Analytical - Abstract Reasoning
  • (A-QR) = Analytical - Quantitative
  • (D-D) = Diversity - Domestic
  • (D-I) = Diversity - International
  • (D-L) = Diversity - Language
  • (ES) = Earlham Seminar
  • (IE) = Immersive Experience
  • (RCH) = Research
  • (W) = Wellness
  • (WI) = Writing Intensive
  • (AY) = Offered in Alternative Year

ENSU 141 ENVIRONMENT, SOCIETY AND SUSTAINABILITY (4 credits)
This course provides an introduction to environmental sustainability via an integrated approach linking social and natural sciences, with an emphasis on perspectives and methods from social sciences. Specific topics of focus: historical influences on environmental thought, systems thinking, water, food and agriculture, population, waste management, environmental policy, and urban planning.

ENSU 151 ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND SUSTAINABILITY (4 credits)
This course provides an introduction to environmental sustainability via an integrated approach linking social and natural sciences, with an emphasis on perspectives and methods from natural sciences. Topics include: history of environmental sciences, carbon cycling and climate change, renewable/non-renewable resources, pollution and human health, land conservation/restoration, and human-wildlife conflict.

*ENSU 205 AMERICAN LITERATURE AND ECOLOGY (4 credits)
A study of American environmental literature and its imaginative forms in relation to environmental philosophy, including changing ideas of nature and wilderness; representations of space and place; the deep ecology, ecofeminism and environmental justice movements; and the overall relation between human language and value and the non-human world. Attention also to cultural issues of ecology, such as how our ecological understandings affect our sense of identity and our social and economic practices. May include writers such as Thoreau, Abbey, Muir, Snyder, Aldo Leopold, Terry Tempest Williams, Leslie Marmon Silko and Mary Oliver. Also listed as ENG 205. (WI) (AY)

ENSU 210 OUTDOOR TRIP LEADERSHIP (1 credit)
This is a 7-week course that includes a weeklong, student-led field trip over Spring Break (March 18 - 26, 2017). OTL is required for students wishing to receive the Outdoor Education Designation or lead outdoor education trips such as August Wilderness or AWPE courses.  Topics covered include trip planning and preparation, risk management, lesson facilitation, and outdoor skill acquisition. Course fee: $350.

*ENSU 231 JAPANESE CULTURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT (3 credits)
This course entails a general introduction to Japan’s natural environments with an emphasis on the roles that humans, their cultures and societies, have played and continue to play in shaping them. Specific topics include: religion and natures, pop culture & media productions of nature, pollution, technology, and environmental politics. Also listed as JPNS 231. (D-I)

ENSU 310 APPLICATIONS OF GIS IN SOCIAL SCIENCES: POLITICS, BUSINESS, CRIME and URBAN ECOLOGY (4 credits)
This course is designed to provide a foundational knowledge of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and its applications to the Social Sciences. Students in this course will use ArcGIS. The course will cover basic GIS concepts such as mapping, projections, geo-referencing and spatial analysis. It will be taught using a combination of lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on, interactive tutorials in the classroom. Students will constantly apply spatial analytical tools to address questions, solve problems and complete independent projects in and outside the classroom. Prerequisite: Sophomore or Junior standing.

ENSU 320 PEDAGOGIES OF PLACE (3 credits)
An introduction to environmental philosophy. Explores the formation of our relationship with the natural world and the roles of education and schooling. Concepts of nature, wilderness, ecology and environmentalism considered and critiqued in light of their functioning as "normative ideals" for a right relationship with the more than human world. Prerequisite: Previous courses in ENSU or consent of the instructor. (AY)

ENSU 322 CLIMATE POLICY (3 credits)
Examines the basic causes of global weirding (e.g., industrialization, electrification, transportation), the key impacts of global weirding (e.g., water scarcity, extreme weather events, rising sea level), mitigation strategies in various sectors (e.g., food production, water systems, and urban planning), and prominent policy solutions (e.g., carbon tax, cap and trade system, feed-in-tariffs, renewable energy portfolios, clean energy research and development). Students will engage in an extended simulation that will investigate the political constraints to adopting various policy solutions. Also listed as POLS 322. (AY)

ENSU 324 ENERGY POLICY (3 credits)
Examine the energy crisis, investigating a broad range of technical and policy alternatives to solve the problem. Students will investigate basic energy science, peak oil, fossil fuel uses, energy efficiency, clean energy, smart grids, and the impacts of solving the energy crisis on our daily lives. Students will engage in a group project aimed at drafting a detailed policy brief assessing a specific energy problem. Also listed as POLS 324. (AY)

ENSU 326 U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL AND NATURAL RESOURCE POLICY (3 credits)
This course introduces the policy process in the context of the United States. Students will examine the major environmental and natural resource policies in the United States and consider challenges and opportunities related to environmental and natural resource policy.

ENSU 341 CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS AND ADAPTATION (3 credits)
This course investigates the impacts of climate change on ecosystems including the human systems they support, while exploring the actions that communities are taking to adapt to climate change. Student-centered discussions will center on real-world case studies and a systems-thinking lens through which to view these problems and consider solutions. Prerequisites: ENSU 141 and ENSU 151, or permission of the instructor.

ENSU 343 ECONOMICS OF THE ENVIRONMENT (4 credits)
An examination of the role that economic analysis plays in understanding the environment and the policy frameworks that economics offers in the area of environmental regulation. Topics include an analysis of market failures, the cost-benefit framework and strategies related to environmental policy. A number of applications related to domestic and international environmental issues discussed. Prerequisite: ECON 100. Also listed as ECON 343. (AY)

*ENSU 349 JAPANIMALS (3 credits)
This course focuses on human-animal interactions in Japanese contexts. Emphases will be on the social, cultural and ecological dimensions of these interactions. Through examinations of specific topics, including wildlife conflicts, zoos and pet keeping, students will learn to analyze the multiple contexts that inform inter-species interactions in Japan. Also listed as JPNS 349 and SOAN 349. (D-I)

*ENSU 353 ENVIRONMENTAL APPLICATION (3 credits)
This course develops an interdisciplinary research “toolkit” with which to approach environmental problem solving. Students learn and practice using methods from the natural or social sciences that are commonly used in environmental careers, as well as interdisciplinary techniques. The course culminates with a student-directed, applied, interdisciplinary project. Prerequisites: ENSU 141 and ENSU 151. (RCH)

*ENSU 363 BIOETHICS (4 credits)
Introduces students to the major theoretical discussions and practical actions in the field of bioethics, with a focus on the implications that these discourses and practices have for a diverse and multicultural world. Includes an introduction to essential bioethical terminology and to a breadth of ethical theories and perspectives. Specific topics covered may include: human subject research, genetic technologies, justice and health care allocation, end of life alternatives, and so on. Prerequisite: Second-year standing or above. Also listed as PHIL 363. (WI)

*ENSU 370 PSYCHOLOGY OF SUSTAINABILITY (3 credits)
We know about the problems with the environment. But how do we fix them? Most issues surrounding sustainability have human behaviors and attitudes at the center. We (humans) over-consume, know something but don’t act on our knowledge, don’t have important information, or simply don’t think that issues of sustainability are important. Psychology is all about human behaviors and thought-processes. The world has problems and psychology has (some) answers. Prerequisite: PSYC 115, PSYC 116 or ENSU 141. Also listed as PSYC 370. (RCH) (AY)

*ENSU 376 POLITICAL ECOLOGIES OF EAST ASIA (4 credits) 
Political ecology is a set of scholarly inquiries and approaches that seeks to account for the ways in which power relationships inform, shape, interact with, and are expressed through ecological relationships. This course entails an examination of political ecologies in the East Asia region. The first part of the course introduces students to political ecology approaches to studying ecological systems, and the second part employs case studies from East Asia to examine how power functions in and through ecological systems. Also listed as JPNS 376. (D-I) (AY)

*ENSU 481 FIELD EXPERIENCE/INTERNSHIP (0-1 credit)
Provides a first-hand opportunity to integrate theory gained in the classroom with insights and experience into the workings of an organization gained in a field setting. Available only to declared Environmental Studies majors. Students must complete a Field Study application in consultation with their major adviser and complete 120 hours of work at an approved site of their choosing. Prerequisite: ENSU 141. (IE)

ENSU 486 STUDENT RESEARCH (0-1 credits)

ENSU 488 SENIOR SEMINAR/CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE (3 credits)
Integrates various approaches to Environmental Studies and asks students to review and reflect on what they learned during their major and how it prepares them for future education and/ or careers. Includes major collaborative Integrated Research Project on topic chosen collectively by students, combining experiential and text-based research, that culminates in a public report and presentation.  Prerequisite: Senior standing in the major.