This course introduces some of the critical environmental problems with which various groups, including scientists and policy makers, have struggled, including climate change, industrial pollution, waste management, and species decline. The purpose of the course is to introduce key disciplines in environmental science, along with their methodologies and approaches to knowledge production; to examine the relationship between environmental science and public policy, both historically and in the present day; and to encourage critical analysis and evaluation of potential approaches to environmental problem solving, with an emphasis on systems thinking. Each session is divided between lectures and discussions, and often includes break-out group activities. Further, each topical session is also connected to a local case study, some historical, some contemporary. By examining these cases and the larger environmental issues that they represent, students gain critical understanding of the scientific, social, political, and economic dimensions of environmental problems.
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