Environmental Studies Minor

Course Descriptions

ENV 1100 Environmental Science (4)
A study of our relationships with the natural world. Fundamental concepts of ecology, awareness of environmental issues, and the need for a sustainable biosphere will be emphasized. Course consists of three lecture and two laboratory hours per week. ENV 1110 Syllabus

ENV 1120 Issues in Environmental Science (4)
This course examines problems associated with the interaction of humans with their environment. Issues concerning resource use and management such as food production, deforestation, fisheries management, soil erosion, water issues, biodiversity loss, and impacts of global climate change will be evaluated. Case studies illustrating specific problems and potential solutions will also be examined. Prerequisites: ENV 1110 and Minor in Environmental Studies, or permission of the instructor. Course consists of two 1 hour lectures and one 2 hour lab per week. Course offered in the Spring. ENV1120 Syllabus

BIO3250. Health and Ecology Applications of GIS (4)
This course will survey the role of geography in public health, ecolgy and the environment. Students will become familiar with geographic information systems (GIS), and use those skills to learn how to acquire and prepare data for the analysis of health and environmental problems, map and model disease and wildlife ecologies, and apply basic spatial statistics to research questions. In addition to practical lab experiences that will make them proficient in the use of ArcGIS softwre, students will read and discuss scientific literature to become exposed to the latest approaches to address public health and environmental issues. Prerequisite: ENV 1110 or BIO 2500. 

BIO/GBS 3300. Global Change Ecology (4)
This course surveys the anthropogenic causes and consequences of global change ecology, with emphasis on environmental and economic challenges posed to specific ecosystems and human civilizations around the world. Topics covered will include climate change, ocean acidification, ecosystem services, land use changes, and introduction of non-native species to new habitats. Lectures will be coupled with case studies from recent literature to understand how scientists and governments are addressing the challenges posed by current and projected changes in climate and ecosystems. Prerequisite: BIO 1399 or ENV 1110. Course offered in the fall. BIO/GBS 3300 Syllabus

BIO/GBS 3450. The Hidden Face of Ecuador (4)
This course combines the study of the biodiversity of various ecosystems in Ecuador with Ecuadorian culture. The extensive travel component will allow the students to gain valuable hands-on experiences in several different ecosystems, including highland rainforests, the Amazon rainforest, the coastal plains of the Pacific Ocean and the Galapagos Islands. Prerequisite: any BIO/ENV course. This course is taught in the Spring, with travel to Ecuador in the May term.

BIO3470. Life Across Space and Time: Global Biodiversity and Conservation (4)
This course explores the patterns and causes of variation in global biodiversity and ecosystem distribution. Topics include biodiversity, speciation and extinction, history of the Earth, paleontology, and conservation’s role in maintaining biodiversity. Students will travel to diverse global biomes to investigate the ecological patterns, historical processes, and human conservation efforts affecting those bioregions.

Australia: Queensland and Tasmania – Students will visit two of Australia’s most diverse environments, the Wet Tropics Bioregion and the Great Barrier Reef of Queensland, and Tasmania’s temperate rain forests, alpine regions and the Southern Ocean. Prerequisites: BIO 2500 or ENV 1120BIO 3470 Syllabus

BIO 3600. Aquatic Ecology (4)
This course examines the classification, structure, and function of inland aquatic ecosystems.  Topics will include energy flow, nutrient cycling, ecosystem functioning, and human impacts on aquatic resources.  Lecture three hours, lab three hours. Prerequisite: BIO 1399 or ENV 1110. Offered in the Spring. BIO/ENV 3600 Syllabus

ECO 3410. Environmental Economics (4)

An economic analysis of issues involving environmental problems, management, and policies. Topics include resource scarcity and allocation, externalities, public goods, the tragedy of the commons and property rights. Regulatory versus market approaches as solutions to environmental problems will be examined and applied to current environmental policy issues. Prerequisites: ECO 2030 or ECO 2050. Course is offered in the Fall of even-numbered years. ECO 3410 Syllabus

ENG 2230. Literature and Community: Ecology and the Community (4)
This course pushes students to read and respond to a variety of works, both creative and informative, by environmentalists and ecologists in an effort to build an understanding of why and how a healthy, thriving environment leads to a better quality of life for the humans who inhabit it. Students will connect their reading and writing to service work in the larger Piedmont community, and will complete written analysis not only of their time spent volunteering, but also of how their personal experiences confirm or complicate the premises set by the texts we’ve read. Students are required to complete a minimum of 25 hours of work with our community partner, the High Point Boys and Girls Club.

HST/GBS 3603. Consumption and Material Culture in Latin America (4)
This course examines the relevance of consumption and the study of ‘objects’ (material cultural) to understand the Latin American past. History is not only the study of ‘written’ documents. Topics such as environmental management, garbage, architecture, urban planning, consumerism, cuisine, clothes, fashion, and visual arts are important ingredients of this course. Prerequisite: One 1000 or 2000 level history course or permission of the instructor.

INT/GBS 3240. Global Issues in the Built Environment (4)
A cross-cultural study of the built environment in a global context. Students will investigate cultures other than their own. Special consideration will be given to the problems of housing the world’s population and to building responsibly in a time of changing cultural patterns and increasingly limited natural resources.

REL/PHL 2019. Environmental Ethics (4)
An introduction to ethical reflection on environmental issues. The course will include an examination of how various religious and philosophical traditions have viewed the relationship of humans to the rest of the natural world and a review of critical environmental problems and ways to address them. Service Learning sections are available. REL-PHL 2019 Syllabus

REL 3018. Asian Religions and Environmental Concerns (4)
Addressing environmental concerns requires a truly global perspective. This implies not confining one’s thinking to any one cultural context or lens. This course will examine the historical and contemporary views of humanity’s relationship with the environment as understood through the religious and philosophic traditions of Asia. Special attention will be paid to Daoist, Buddhist, and Shinto perspectives on ecological ethics, consumption, interdependent systems, human-animal relations, and environmental activism. We will examine contemporary interpretations of these teachings, as well as analyze the work of engaged Buddhist and Daoist communities.

SOA 3500 Food and Culture (4)
Food is a basic human need; however, beyond biological functions, food also has rich cultural significance. Taste, preference, ritual, tradition, gender, social class, and nationality all influence food choices and behaviors. In addition, economic and environmental factors, globalization, localization, and social movements all affect our access and attitudes toward food. In this course, we will examine how food behaviors are shaped by culture, and what anthropology can offer to the study of food and nutrition. Prerequisites: SOA 1020 or 1010. SOA 3500 Syllabus 

SOA/WGS 3650 Gender and Sustainability (4)
This course will critically analyze sustainability from gendered perspectives. This course introduces students to the concept of sustainability from a three-pronged perspective that considers the economic, social and environmental pillars that are the foundation of holistic sustainability science. Students will learn how these three pillars are all critical to achieving truly sustainable development as defined and promoted by the United Nations. Through readings, written assignments and class discussions, students will examine the intersectionality of gender and sustainability with class, race, age, nationality, religion, power, politics, social movements and health from local and global perspectives. Students will critique practical applications of sustainable development programs and the role of gender in creating a more sustainable future. Students will have the opportunity to learn about gender and sustainability through case study analyses stemming from a variety of geographic regions. Prerequisite: It is required that students have completed SOA 1020 or WGS 1000; however, it is recommended that students have completed both. SOA/WGS 3650 Syllabus

SOA 4000. Environment and Society (4)
Throughout history humans have altered their environments to suit their purposes and desires often with little thought give to possible long-term consequences. This course explores those purposes and analyzes from both a sociological and anthropological perspective the social causes and consequences of environmental change. Specifically, we will focus on the relationships between the social and physical environments and the role politics, technology, and global inequalities play. We will also explore how humans might reverse the destructive course we are on in a way that is both responsible and sustainable for future generations of humans and other species. Prerequisite: One other sociology course.

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