2018-2019 Academic Catalog 
    Aug 23, 2019  
2018-2019 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ID 234 - Special Topics

This course addresses current or timely topics, that are in a pilot phase or that are known to be one time offerings.  Special Topics are unique for each instroctor and vary from semester to semester. May be repeatable for credit.


This course proposes to look at a series of well-known environmental crises through key and original publications in order to explore their structure and dynamics, and apply critical thinking to the present debate on climate change.  A historical view will enable students to evaluate how crises evolved and were resolved (or not). The selected crises include population growth, chemicals/pesticides, biodiversity loss, and deforestation/desertification.  Other crises, such as water, erosion and disease will be the topic of group research and presentations. A political economy/ecology framework will be used to guide integrated thinking about the technical, economic and socio-governance aspects of the crises.  In the first two sessions the class will decide on key elements and a matrix to be the focus of analysis of each crisis. Key questions include the accuracy and use of “scientific data”, the importance of key publications and advocacy, how the crisis impacts decision-making and equity, the effectiveness of proposed interventions, distribution of costs and benefits, and others.  The linkages between crises will be explored and “lessons learned” for the climate change crisis developed.

Objectives: At the end of the course students will:

Have an understanding of the structure, function and dynamics of environmental crises

Be able to engage and contribute to the climate change debate and other environmental issues as better informed citizens

Be capable of clearly presenting ideas on environmental issues (both written and verbal) and work in a group

Possess a framework and tools to think critically and systematically about environmental issues and crises especially climate change

Built a broad based perspective on environmental crises and how they are interlinked

Be familiar with key seminal works on crises and their pros and cons

Possess a historical understanding of climate change

Anticipated Terms Offered: every semester