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Check out the ES courses that will be taught this spring! 

ENVS 0410 – Environmental Stewardship and Sustainable Design

Challenges students to address the economics and logistics of implementing strategies to conserve resources and reduce the negative impacts of the built environment. The goal is to learn the rationale, process and technical aspects of the practice of environmental stewardship. Topics include sustainable design, institutional change, and corporate environmental responsibility. Students collaborate in interdisciplinary teams on applied projects. Permission by instructor by application process prior to enrollment in the class. Instructor: Kurt Teichert

ENVS 0490 – Environmental Science in a Changing World

Introduces students to environmental science and the challenges we face in studying an ever-changing earth system. We will explore what is known, and not known, about how ecosystems respond to perturbations. This understanding is crucial, because natural systems provide vital services (water and air filtration, climate stabilization, food supply, erosion and flood control) that can not be easily or inexpensively replicated. Special emphasis will be placed on climate and land use change, the mechanization of agriculture, and invasive species. We will use these topics as springboards to explore the utility of the scientific method, the role science can play in policy decisions, and the environmental challenges that face industrial society over the coming century. Instructor: Stephen Porder

ENVS 0510 – Problems in International Environmental Policy

Introduces global environmental problems, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, depletion of freshwater resources, the hole in the ozone layer, and the international transport of hazardous waste as pressing political concerns in the international arena. Provides a practical introduction to the major actors in international environmental politics (nation states, international organizations, scientists, non-governmental organizations, and business actors) and presents an overview of the key theoretical traditions used to analyze the drivers and politics of international environmental issues. Open enrollment. A background in environmental issues, as evidenced by taking ES 11 (ENVS 0110) or an equivalent course, is strongly recommended. Instructor: Jeffrey (Sam) Barkin

ENVS 1410 – Environmental Law and Policy

Examines the formation and implementation of environmental policy in the United States, including the contributions of law, economics, science, and politics. Detailed understanding of the policy-making process-including market-enlisting and other regulatory strategies, the role of agencies, environmental justice, risk analysis, and new decision-making paradigms-is developed through lectures, class discussion, and small group exercises that focus on contemporary environmental problems and provide hands-on policy making experience. Instructor: Caroline Karp

 ENVS 1720 – Environmental Justice: The Science and Political Economy of Environmental Health and Social Justice

Encourages students to develop quantitative, qualitative, and theoretical approaches for understanding the origins and persistence of environmental discrimination. Examines the regulatory, institutional, structural, political, and economic forces that underlie patterns of race and class-based discrimination and their implications for environmental health among diverse communities. Prerequisite: ENVS 0110 or permission from the instructor. Limited to juniors, seniors, and graduate students or by permission of the instructor.  Instructor: Dianne Quigley

ENVS1920 - Analysis and Resolution of Environmental Problems: Water Pollution and Communities

Summary: Growth in coastal communities results in lost habitat, water pollution that limits public use, and adverse impacts on aquatic and marine ecosystems. This course will examine the issues and the regulatory framework of the Clean Water Act and other statutes including the Coastal Zone Management that intend to reduce pollution levels, minimize the risks to public health, and sustain ecosystems at a level that will support the appropriate diversity of aquatic life. Students will work in teams on applied projects that focus on the issues connected to implementing this regulatory framework on Aquidneck Island, and especially Portsmouth, RI.

Required for ES concentrators in Junior year. Open to qualified students by permission of the instructor. Prerequisite: ENVS 0110.

Instructors: Curt Spalding, Kurt Teichert

BIOL1460 - Microbial Diversity and the Environment

This course will provide students with comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the role of microbial diversity in the environment, from the molecular to ecosystem scales. This is a lecture and discussion based course. Recommended prerequisites include introductory biology and chemistry (BIOL0200, CHEM0100), and two intermediate science courses in biology, chemistry, geology, or environmental science (e.g., BIOL0420, ENVS0490, or GEOL1150). A major focus is on the ‘functional’ diversity of microbes, such as their role in climate change, from early in Earth’s history to the present. The microbial underpinnings of cycling of organic matter, degradation of contaminants, microbial community ecology, and interactions with plants and animals (including humans) will be covered. This course is unique as it focuses on the microbial mechanisms and communities that are fundamental to ecosystem functioning and humanity.