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2011-12 Courses on Sustainability

Fall | Spring

Fall 2011

Below, you will find a list of Sustainability-Themed Courses for Academic-Year 2011-2012. Click on the links or scroll down for full course descriptions.

W-Courses and First-Year Seminars

  • AMER 115F: Food for Thought (Susan Kevra)
  • EES 115F: Sustainability:  An Environmental Science Perspective (John Ayers)
  • ENGL 211W: Writing for an Endangered World: Representative U.S. Writers Tackle Sustainability (Dana Nelson)
  • PHIL 115F: Green Cities (Jonathan Bremer)
  • PSY 115F: The Psychology of Sustainability (Leslie Kirby)
  • SOC 115F: Sociology of Local Sustainability (David Hess)
  • WGS 115F: Environmental Justice (Terrie Spetalnick)

American Studies

  • AMER 115F: Food for Thought (Susan Kevra)
  • AMER 294: American Studies Workshop: Blue Gold: Water Rights and Wrongs (Cecelia Tichi)
  • AMER 295.01: Literature and the Environment in the Americas (Vera Kutzinski)

Earth and Environmental Science

  • EES 115F:  Sustainability:  An Environmental Science Perspective (John Ayers)
  • EES 201: Global Climate Change (Jonathan Gilligan)

Engineering

  • ENVE 264: Environmental Assessments (Jim Clarke)
  • CE 200B: Sustainable Buildings II (Summer) (Lori Troxel)
  • CE 200C: Sustainable Buildings III (Fall) (Lori Troxel)

 English

  • ENGL 211W: Writing for an Endangered World: Representative U.S. Writers Tackle Sustainability (Dana Nelson)
  • ENGL 243: Literature and the Environment: Can Poetry Save the Earth? (Dahlia Porter)

Human Organization and Development

  • HOD 2690-02 (Undergraduate): Sustainability, Justice, and the City (James Fraser and Jason Adkins)
  • HOD 3960.03 (Graduate):  Sustainability, Justice, and the City (James Fraser and Jason Adkins)

Law

  • LAW 732: Environmental Law (Michael Vandenbergh)
  • LAW 821: Environmental Annual Review (Michael Vandenbergh)

Management

  • Sustainability and Social Responsibility in Business (Jim Schorr)
  • MGT-423-01: Corporate Strategies for Environmental, Social & Governance Issues (Mark A. Cohen and Jeff Gowdy)

Philosophy

  • PHIL 115F:  Green Cities (Jonathan Bremer)
  • PHIL 274:  Ethics and Animals (Joan G. Forry)

Political Science

  • PSCI 253: Ethics and Public Policy (Brooke Ackerly)

Psychology

  • PSY 115F: The Psychology of Sustainability (Leslie Kirby)

Sociology

  • SOC 115F: Sociology of Local Sustainability (David Hess)

Spanish

  • SPAN 103: Intensive Elementary Spanish (with sustainability focus) (Chalene Helmuth)

Women’s and Gender Studies

  • WGS 115F: Environmental Justice (Terrie Spetalnick)

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Spring 2012

  • HUM 161:  Crisis and Creativity (Steven Tepper, Coordinator)

Commons Seminars (1-credit, first-year students only)

  • ES 101.01: Energy Choices and Environmental Consequences with a Focus on Nuclear Power (Jim Clarke)
  • ES 101.02: Constructing Vanderbilt’s Virtual Eco-Village (Doug Fisher)
  • SPAN 099.01: Eco-Conscious Travel (Chalene Helmuth)

W-Courses and First-Year Seminars

  • HART 260W (proposed): Ancient Landscapes (Betsey Robinson)
  • PHIL 239W Moral Problems (Joan G. Forry)
  • WGS 115F: Environmental Justice (Terrie Spetalnick)

American Studies

  • AMER 297: Senior Project on Sustainability (Teresa Goddu)
  • AMER 300: The Commons: History, Sustainability, Activism (Dana Nelson/John Ayers)

Computer Science

  • CS 265: Introduction to Database Management Systems (Doug Fisher)

Earth and Environmental Science

  • EES 390: Water and Social Justice in Bangladesh (Jonathan Gilligan, Steven Goodbred, Brooke Ackerly)

English

  • ENGL 243: Literature, Science and Technology — Green Romanticism: Can Poetry Save the Earth? (Dahlia Porter)
  • ENGL 287: Investigative Writing (Amanda Little)
  • ENGL 288: Whole Walden (Kate Daniels)

History of Art

  • HART 260W: Ancient Landscapes (Betsey Robinson)

Human and Organizational Development

  • HOD (TBA): Environmental Knowledge, Risk, and Society (Jim Fraser)

Law

  • LAW 761: Energy and Environmental Law (Michael Vandenbergh)
  • LAW 821: Environmental Annual Review (Michael Vandenbergh)

Medicine, Health, and Society

  • HMS (TBD): “Global Food Politics” (Beth Conklin)

Philosophy

  • PHIL 239W Moral Problems (Joan G. Forry)
  • PHIL 273 Environmental Philosophy (Joan G. Forry)

Sociology

  • SOC 221: Environmental Inequality and Justice (Joe Bandy)
  • SOC 294: Sociology of Health and Environmental Science (David Hess)

Spanish

  • SPAN 103: Intensive Elementary Spanish: (Chalene Helmuth)
  • SPAN 99: Eco-Conscious Travel (Chalene Helmuth)

Women’s and Gender Studies

  • WGS 115F: Environmental Justice (Terrie Spetalnick)

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Course Descriptions (Fall)

American Studies

AMER 294.1: American Studies Workshop: Blue Gold: Water Rights and Wrongs 
Cecelia Tichi 
W 4:00-7:00

AMERICAN STUDIES 294 enters a “waterworld” of literature, film, music, historical and other studies. Though the oceans cover 71% of the Earth’s surface, we will focus principally on issues concerning fresh water. In so doing, we will define ourselves as a community committed to the production of shared knowledge. This means that each student will be responsible for:

  1. The weekly scheduled readings and for thoughtful consideration of the in-class film presentations, including documentaries. 
  2. In addition, each student will present to the group an analysis of a text that features water in a significant way—a song, a film clip, an art text. 
  3. Each student, what’s more, will identify and prepare a special topic on water to be presented to the group at the end of the course.

Though ours is an American Studies course, we will venture internationally as well, especially since the United States projects its presence globally, both militarily and otherwise. Our goal, as citizens of the United States and of Planet Earth, is the development of an informed consciousness about a substance that comprises over 50% of our bodies and without which none of us can live for more than a few days. At midterm, you will have a take-home writing assignment that will ask you to interrelate the various readings up to that point. The assignment will consist of short essays.  Your principal written work will consist of a portfolio of 30-35 pages—TO BE SUBMITTED ON NOV. 10. It will contain several short critical analyses written with a high level of editorial concision and argumentative precision. This means that you will take a stance or position on the material under analysis. Ideas for your special topic can be generated by the weekly readings, film viewings, and class discussions. The assigned sections of your portfolio are as listed below. In order to avoid end-of-semester cramming, each student will fill out and submit to the instructor by 1 Sept. a contract that requires steady completion of the portfolio over the term. Each of you will have flexibility in deciding the order in which you prepare the projects for your portfolio.

Readings will include:  Water: Our Thirsty World; Henry D. Thoreau, Walden (Penguin); John Barry, Rising Tide (Simon & Schuster); Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn(Penguin); Mary Austin, Land of Little Rain (Penguin); Steven Solomon, Water (HarperCollins); John Clift and Amanda Cuthbert, Water (Chelsea Green); Susan Marks, Aqua Shock(Bloomberg); David Carle, Water and the California Dream (Sierra Club); Elizabeth Royte, Bottlemania.


AMER 295: Literature and the Environment in the Americas 
Vera M. Kutzinski 
TR 2:35-3:50

This course explores how writers from different parts of the Americas region have reimagined the complex relations between humans and nature. Many of those writers challenge the anthropocentric conventions of earlier natural histories to criticize the virtually unchecked exploitation of natural resources that followed in their wake. In the process, they steer readers away from easy assumptions about what is natural and what is unnatural and from environmental ethics based on iron-clad, typically gendered dichotomies. In many of these texts, a poetics of “the living landscape” and the traces of memory it bears displaces visions of idealized and feminized nature that can be possessed, ravaged, and consumed. Such displacement muddies the seeming clarity of familiar terms and categories and the boundaries they maintain—between human and non-human; between human agency and passive landscape; between civilization and wilderness. This blurring extends genres, genders, and races. It also affects the divisions we imagine between the local and the global.

Among the issues we will address in this course are: 

  • boundaries between the human and the non-human 
  • constructions of nature and the natural 
  • gender and race in relation to landscape 
  • landscape(s) and memory 
  • the economic exploitation of natural resources that has followed in the wake of colonialism (logging, mining, tourism, etc.) 
  • the meaning of “development” and “sustainability” in colonial and postcolonial settings 
  • the assumptions that underlie the public discourse of environmentalist advocacy and activism (e.g., preservation vs. conservation; “think globally, act locally”)

Readings include Julia Alvarez’s A Cafecito Story, T.C. Boyle’s A Friend of the Earth; Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents; William Cronon’s Uncommon Ground; Wilson Harris’s Palace of the Peacock; Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place; Paule Marshall’s The Chosen PlaceThe Timeless People; Leslie Silko’s Ceremony; William Carlos William’s In the American Grain. There will be additional readings from the poetry of Pablo Neruda and Derek Walcott and excerpts from nineteenth-century natural histories. Requirements: weekly 500-word response papers and a two research paper (2,500 words each).

Earth and Environmental Sciences

EES 115F: Sustainability:  An Environmental Science Perspective
John Ayers
TR, 11:00a - 12:15p

Can economic and population growth be sustained indefinitely? What are the limits of growth imposed by our environment? How can we as a society and as individuals maintain productive and fulfilling lives without damaging our ecological support systems and decreasing the quality of life for future generations? Can we achieve sustainability through smarter lifestyles and design practices to avoid the type of ecological and societal collapses that have occurred in the past? These issues will be explored through readings and discussions. Basic concepts of environmental science will be used to explain past and present environmental problems, to predict future problems, and to identify potential solutions. Topics include: water and energy use; development and land use; species and ecosystem preservation; agriculture and food supply; and technology and globalization.

EES 201-01: Global Climate Change
Jonathan M. Gilligan
MWF 09:10a - 10:00a

Science and policy of global climate change: history and causes of climate change in Earth's past, with emphasis on the last 2 million years; evidence of human impacts on climate since 1850; future climate change and its economic, social, and ecological consequences; economic, technological, and public policy responses. Prerequisite: 101 or 108.

Engineering

ENVE 264: Environmental Assessments 
James Clarke

Content: Environmental laws, regulations and regulatory guidance; design and conduct of environmental assessments of infrastructure systems or environmental contamination so that environmental considerations can be factored into overall decision-making; impact analysis for specific environmental media and impact categories e.g., air, surface water and sediments, noise, economic factors, land use etc.; risk assessment for chemicals and radionuclide; investigation and remediation of legacy hazardous and radioactive waste sites ; sustainable long-term environmental protection; due diligence and transactional environmental audits. 
Objectives: At the completion of the course the student will:

  • have an appreciation for the complexity of environmental decision-making and a knowledge of the essential components. 
  • have knowledge of and experience with the regulations and regulatory guidance governing the conduct of environmental assessments. 
  • have knowledge of the necessary elements of an environmental assessment. 
  • have knowledge of information resources for the conduct of environmental assessments. 
  • have knowledge of and experience with the process used to determine the risks to human health and ecology from potential exposure to chemicals and radionuclides 
  • have knowledge of sustainability issues confronting environmental management decision-making and current improvement approaches

English

ENGL 211W: Writing for an Endangered World: Representative U.S. Writers Tackle Sustainability 
Dana D. Nelson

More and more green ecologists and ecocritics argue that “sustainability” is not simply a question of “saving nature”—indeed, the very idea of nature might be part of the problem. Rather, they argue that questions of nature are deeply embedded in culture and that the attitudes that imperil our environment also endanger society.  This course will consider these theoretical questions as we study how major U.S. writers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have taken them up in their fiction and non-fiction. Authors studied will include Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, Rebecca Harding Davis, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Jack London, Rachel Carson, Wendell Berry, Terry Tempest Williams and Samuel Delaney, along with some excerpts from works by ecocritics and ecotheorists.

ENGL 243: Literature and the Environment: Can Poetry Save the Earth? 
Dahlia Porter 

The subtitle of this course poses a rather odd and surprising question: Can poetry save the earth? A 2009 book by this title makes the counterintuitive claim that yes, indeed, it can. In this course, we’ll explore why someone would ask this question and what assumptions about poetry, nature, and environmentalism are encoded in it. We’ll begin with a survey of recent arguments that trace origin of modern ecological thought to poetry of the Romantic period, roughly 1780-1830. On the cusp of the industrial revolution and in the midst of political turmoil and war, authors from Wordsworth and Coleridge to Emerson and Whitman sought for a more integrated and sustainable relationship between human beings and the environment—a relationship conditioned by scientific and technological developments, an awareness of ecological change, and ideas about human consciousness and will. Wordsworth’s dancing daffodils, Shelley’s sublime “Mount Blanc,” John Clare’s homely badger, and Charlotte Smith’s apocalyptic vision in “Beachy Head” each put forward an explicit ecological position, a powerful legacy we have inherited. To understand how their writing shaped modern concepts of nature and the development of environmental studies, we’ll pair a series of influential poems with excerpts from 18th century natural philosophy, 19th century aesthetic and economic theory, and 20th century ecocritical arguments. Topics will include nature and human consciousness, the politics of affective responses to nature, the sublime and beautiful, nostalgia and loss, gendering of landscape, the domination of nature and nature’s dominion, and the culture-nature divide. The course will focus primarily on British Romanticism with an occasional leap across the Atlantic to examine its American counterparts. Requirements include regular contributions to the course blog, a close reading assignment, two short essays, and a final, web-based project.

Human Organization and Development

HOD 2690.02 (Undergraduate), HOD 3960.03 (Graduate)‌: Sustainability, Justice, and the City
Lead Faculty: James Fraser and Jason Adkins
Co-Instructors: Chris Vanags and Michelle Barbero
Undergraduate: TR 11:00a-12:15p
Graduate: R 11:00a-2:00p

The production of urban space has been a longtime focus of geographers, planners, sociologists, and scholars in the humanities. A central theme in this literature suggests that cities are geographies marked by uneven development producing a variety of human-environmental relationships - at different scales – and with differential distributions of effects. Many initiatives designed to “green” cities and promote sustainable environments are implemented by coalitions of public, private, non-profit, and grassroots groups that explicitly speak of the linkages between environment and social justice (equity). The purpose of this course is to examine multiple aspects of these social-ecological projects including: how they emerge; the social, ethical, and spatial logics that inform them; their implementation and governance; the roles of citizens and communities; the effects they produce; and, how they are differentially experienced. This course will focus actual projects in Nashville, Tennessee, that aim to redevelop the city, and its neighborhoods, to promote healthy physical (soil, water, air) and social (access to food, housing, transportation, work) environments.

Management

MGT-423-01: Corporate Strategies for Environmental, Social & Governance Issues 
Mark A. Cohen and Jeff Gowdy
MW 11:20a-12:50p

Explores this growing trend and its implications for business in today's world and beyond. Environmental management, corporate social responsibility, transparency, and corporate governance have traditionally been viewed as necessary evils that add to the cost structure of business. In this old model, government regulations, threats of consumer boycotts, and other forms of coercive activities were the driving force behind compliance and socially responsible behavior. Many firms have begun to shed this old view of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and are embracing ESG as a competitive strategy. We will explore what leading companies are doing in areas such as fair wages, privacy concerns, affirmative action, sexual harassment, employee rights, worker safety, consumer safety, animal testing, human rights, governance, and environmental considerations. Particular attention is paid to understanding whether or not these activities provide firms with a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Philosophy 

PHIL 274 Ethics and Animals 
Joan G. Forry 
TR 1:10-2:25

This course explores ethical issues raised by human interactions with animals and the subsequent challenges to ethical theory entailed by the moral consideration of animals. Students will learn about a variety of theoretical approaches to the moral consideration of animals, including animal rights, animal welfare, feminist animal ethics, and animal ethics as environmentalism. The course will address a variety of problems such as animal research and experimentation, factory farming, hunting, zoos, and pet ownership.

Psychology 

PSY 115F: The Psychology of Sustainability 
Leslie Kirby

Sustainability involves survival—specifically, the continued survival of our species and our planet. In the US and worldwide, there is a growing awareness of the importance of sustainability at multiple levels, from reducing our carbon footprints to buying locally and seasonal produce, to increasing our personal fitness levels. But for many people, the link between their actions and broader outcomes in unclear; for others, the motivation to implement sustainable choices is absent, or the barriers are too high. The course will focus on the psychological processes involved in making choices regarding sustainability, at a personal, family, community and global level. We will read and discuss cutting-edge research on factors influencing decision-making, including social influences, motivational and emotional influences, and cognitive factors such as attention and memory. We will also use what we have learned theoretically and empirically to carry out a sustainability project on campus or in the local community. 

Sociology

SOC 115F: Sociology of Local Sustainability 
David Hess

This course will review societal dimensions of sustainable local systems and organizations, emphasizing the greening of energy, transportation, land use, buildings, businesses, and food. We will focus on combinations of technologies and organizations ("sociotechnical systems") that are locally owned or controlled ("localism"). We will review studies of sustainability initiatives proposed by policymakers, sociologists, and urban studies researchers. Finally, students will focus on Nashville and the development of plans to turn the city into the greenest city in the Southeast.

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Course Descriptions (Spring)

Engineering

ES 101.01: Energy Choices and Environmental Consequences with a Focus on Nuclear Power 
James H. Clarke

The role and contribution of nuclear energy will be discussed within the context of existing and potential future contributions to meeting energy needs both within the U.S. and globally. 
Seminar topics will include major energy sectors and sources, fundamentals of radiation and radiation risk; the nuclear fuel cycle and comparisons with other ways of generating electric power; conventional and emerging nuclear reactor designs; nuclear waste classifications; risk analysis, perception and communication; management of nuclear waste both near surface and in deep geologic repositories; and nuclear accidents e.g., Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and the Fukishima reactors in Japan.

ES 101.02: Constructing Vanderbilt’s Virtual Eco-village 
Doug Fisher

Students will design and construct virtual environments (landscapes, villages, buildings, artifacts) in the Second Life (SL) virtual world. Government agencies, including NSF and NOAA have SL sites, museums such as San Francisco’s Exploratorium, as do universities. A seminar goal is that students and faculty design and construct a village in Second Life that will serve as a repository for scholarly and artistic works (i.e., a library, archive, museum) by Vanderbilt students, faculty and staff on environmental and societal sustainability. Students will learn about virtual world interfaces and aesthetic computing; scope and characteristics of sustainability scholarship and discourse; lessons in design; and gain experience working in a group. Additionally, seminar participants will discuss other topics, including machine learning; narrative development; community participation; information science; computer databases; interactive art; monetary exchange; copyright and intellectual property.

The seminar will introduce all participants to rudimentary computer programming concepts through SL’s modeling and scripting language, but programming is not a requirement of the seminar, nor is it a prerequisite or major theme. In fact, most of the prototype virtual eco-village will be developed using virtual constructs that have been developed by others, to include furniture, buildings and landscapes. Nonetheless, a semester project is a requirement of the seminar, and programming object models and behaviors using SL’s programming language would be one project possibility, suitable for those who have existing programming experience. Another project type will focus on sustainability material produced at Vanderbilt and elsewhere, refining an ontology for describing the scope of sustainability concepts. A third project possibility is to become a seminar ‘ambassador’ by preparing slide presentations and demos for the public, to include other Vanderbilt classes, with a goal of securing sustainability-related content for inclusion in the eco-village.

English

ENGL 243: Literature, Science and Technology—Green Romanticism: Can Poetry Save the Earth? 
Dahlia Porter

The subtitle of this course poses a rather odd and surprising question: Can poetry save the earth? A 2009 book by this title makes the counterintuitive claim that yes, indeed, it can. In this course, we’ll explore why someone would ask this question and what assumptions about poetry, nature, and environmentalism are encoded in it. We’ll begin with a survey of recent arguments that trace origin of modern ecological thought to poetry of the Romantic period, roughly 1780-1830. On the cusp of the industrial revolution and in the midst of political turmoil and war, authors from Wordsworth and Coleridge to Emerson and Whitman sought for a more integrated and sustainable relationship between human beings and the environment—a relationship conditioned by scientific and technological developments, an awareness of ecological change, and ideas about human consciousness and will. Wordsworth’s dancing daffodils, Shelley’s sublime “Mount Blanc,” John Clare’s homely badger, and Charlotte Smith’s apocalyptic vision in “Beachy Head” each put forward an explicit ecological position, a powerful legacy we have inherited. To understand how their writing shaped modern concepts of nature and the development of environmental studies, we’ll pair a series of influential poems with excerpts from 18th century natural philosophy, 19th century aesthetic and economic theory, and 20th century ecocritical arguments. Topics will include nature and human consciousness, the politics of affective responses to nature, the sublime and beautiful, nostalgia and loss, gendering of landscape, the domination of nature and nature’s dominion, and the culture-nature divide. The course will focus primarily on British Romanticism with an occasional leap across the Atlantic to examine its American counterparts. Requirements include regular contributions to the course blog, a close reading assignment, two short essays, and a final, web-based project.

ENGL 287: America at a Turning Point: Telling Stories of Environmental Crisis and Innovative Breakthrough 
Amanda Little

Limited enrollment. Admission to the workshop is by instructor permission, with re-enrollment by students who have previously taken the course subject to the same provision. Interested students should register and contact the English Department about submitting a brief writing sample on an assigned topic before the December break. 
How to tell stories of environmental and economic change in America as we grapple with global warming and endeavor to build a clean, sustainable future. 

Taught by award-winning environmental journalist who has written for The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, and Outside Magazine, and authored Power Trip: The Story of America’s Love Affair With Energy, this course focuses on one of the most important global challenges of our time. Climate change poses both a crisis and an opportunity: As warming temperatures disturb ecosystems, innovators are responding with a historic burst of new discoveries in renewable energy, electric cars, smart homes, sophisticated plastics, ultra-efficient appliances, and local and organic foods. This course will explore what’s going wrong, what’s going right, and the thrill and challenge of documenting historic change. Readings will include Thomas Friedman’s “Hot, Flat and Crowded,” Alexis Madrigal’s “Powering the Dream,” Elizabeth Kolbert’s “Field Notes from a Catastrophe,” along with investigative journalism from publications ranging from HuffingtonPost.com to The Wall Street Journal

The professor has traveled to deep-sea oilrigs, Kansas corn farms, inside the electricity grid, and into the catacombs of the Pentagon to investigate America’s changing energy landscape. Students will attempt their own high-adventure investigative journalism in this course—exploring stories locally and statewide that document the effects of climate change and the emerging green economy. We will discuss your pieces in class and the instructor will critique your writing in private conferences. 

History of Art

HART 260W: Ancient Landscapes 
Betsey Robinson

In search of ancient Mediterranean landscapes, we will range from city to countryside, and from garden grottoes to sacred mountains. From classical Greece through the Roman Imperial period, we will explore human responses to the natural world through studies in art and literature, archaeology and cultural geography. Topics include ancient Greco-Roman attitudes toward nature and exploitation of natural resources, pictorial landscapes and multi-media installations, modes of representation (e.g. allegorical vs. documentary), and intersections between real and imagined landscapes, geography, and tourism. The class will consist of lectures and discussions. Each week everyone will read a set of core documents. As time goes on, readings will be divided among participants, some of who will be charged with leading discussion on the respective topics, and/or introducing additional points of interest. 

Philosophy

PHIL 239W Moral Problems 
Joan G. Forry

What should we eat? This seemingly amoral question carries weighty political and bioethical implications that deserve careful examination. The purpose of this course is to enable students to critically examine a range of moral problems in the ethics and politics of food production, distribution, and consumption. Students will learn about the ethical challenges presented by global food supply inequities, environmental costs of food production, genetic modification, factory farming, and public health issues such as obesity and malnourishment.

PHIL 273 Environmental Philosophy 
Joan Florry

It is not hard to get people to agree that, morally speaking, we ought to be concerned with environmental issues. It is, however, considerably more difficult to reach agreement on why we ought to care about the environment. If it is wrong to pollute a river, is this because of the effect this pollution has on people? On other living creatures? On the river itself? Environmental ethicists attempt to provide plausible answers to these questions. This course will critically examine the main theories of environmental ethics, including human-centered, animal-centered, and nature-centered approaches, as well as the most important critiques of these theories. We will apply these normative frameworks to case studies based on local, national, and global environmental issues, including biodiversity and wilderness preservation, human use of animals, environmental racism and toxic dumping, corporate responsibility, and sustainable development, population and consumption.

Sociology

SOC 221: Environmental Inequality and Justice 
Joe Bandy 
TR 11:10-12:15

This course is a critical examination of the relationships between social inequalities and environmental degradation, both in the U.S. and internationally. Through case studies and comparative literatures, we will survey a variety of topics that reveal the complex interactions between social structures of power and environment, including the distribution of environmental hazards across race and class, urban health and sustainability, energy and environmental security, as well as natural resource rights and management. One prominent theme running throughout the course will be that of climate injustice, or the environmental injustices associated with climate change, from the burdens borne by communities associated with coal and oil extraction, to the justice considerations within global climate policy. Throughout the course we also will study critically the development of a broad-based environmentalism of the poor, most notably environmental justice organizations and community-based resource management efforts. The class will also feature a semester-long service learning project.

Spanish

Span 099.01: Eco-Conscious Travel 
Chalene Helmuth

Is travel compatible with sustainable practices? How does an educated global citizen travel? How can we travel in ways that support the goals of sustainable lifestyles and use of renewable energy?

Objectives:
To further the notion of global citizenship; discover pathways to living sustainably in local and global contexts; develop a personal ethos of sustainable practices in travel, specifically. How we travel is how we live; and how we live is how we travel.

Method:

  • Explore tenets of living sustainably (past and present
  • Read the experts’ views from an interdisciplinary perspective
  • Guest lectures from several on-campus leaders in sustainability education
  • Discover sustainable practices among travel industry operatives (i.e., waste management in hotels and recreational areas) in Nashville and their hometowns.

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