Environment and Society

Courses

Please note that not every course listed is offered each year and that students should consult the following sources for current course offerings:

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

ENVS-1013. Environment and Society I: Introduction to Environmental Problems

Earth systems science reveals that the environmental conditions that supported the development of human civilization over the past 10,000 years are becoming increasingly destabilized. This course introduces students to the Earth's regulatory systems such as climate, nitrogen and phosphorus flows, forests, oceans and biodiversity, and the social structures and processes that are interfering with them. Students will come to understand that environmental problems cannot be solved by individual behavioural changes; solutions will require collective action to achieve systemic change.

ENVS-1023. Introduction to Environmental Praxis: Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

Praxis can be understood as reflection and action for social change. Drawing on learning in ENVS 1013, students investigate how the social systems driving global environmental problems are manifested at the local level. Students develop strategies to effect change in those systems by acting locally. This approach fosters citizenship skills and empowers students in the face of global problems. Prerequisite: ENVS 1013.

ENVS-2023. Environment and Society II: Perspectives on Human-Nature Relations

Social systems are constructed on a set of dominant beliefs, assumptions and values that are largely unexamined but shape the way societies perceive and interact with the natural world. In this course, students examine the dominant perspectives that give rise to environmental degradation, as well as alternative paradigms offered by Green, eco-justice, global south, sustainability, and indigenous movements. Students also engage with political, economic and cultural theories of environmental change. Prerequisite: ENVS 1013 or permission of the instructor.

ENVS-3013. Environment and Society III: Policy, Power and Politics

The modernist view is that knowledge leads to rational decisions. From an environmental perspective, however, this idea is seriously challenged. Never has society known so much about ecological and climate change; yet collective responses to these changes have failed to reverse the downward trends. This course examines this dynamic by examining the politics of the environmental crisis, and in particular the power struggles between those resisting change and those promoting alternative visions of a sustainable society. We consider how those alternative visions translate into public policy and how citizens can engage to make this happen. Prerequisites: ENVS 1013 and ENVS 2023, or permission of the instructor.

ENVS-3023. Environmental Praxis

This course explores how alternative visions of the future translate into political action at the international, national, provincial, community, and personal levels. This involves an analysis of alternative theories of the nature of social change. A component of this course may be service learning. Prerequisites: ENVS 1013 and ENVS 1023, or permission of the instructor.

ENVS-3053. Campus Sustainability

The course examines the practices of environmental auditing as they apply to a university campus. Topics include alternative audit designs, the role of audits in changing institutional and individual behaviour, and the contributions of social sciences to university audits. Students' projects will involve carrying out components of a university-wide environmental audit.

ENVS-4003. Capstone Seminar

This is a required course for the Major in Environment & Society which is designed to integrate the entire programme of study. The seminar will focus on developing a multidisciplinary understanding of a selection of environmental issues as determined by student and faculty interests. Issues considered will include ecological damage, social origins, and alternative approaches to addressing problems. Prerequisites: ENVS 3013 and ENVS 3023 or permission of the instructor.

ENVS-4006. Work-Study Project

This is a course in experiential learning for students in the final year of their major in ENVS. Students will work with a non-profit organization which is actively involved in addressing environmental problems. Each student's activities will be designed under the direction of a faculty supervisor in consultation with the student and the work-place mentor. Enrolment is subject to the approval of the Coordinator of the Environment and Society programme.

Last Published: Sat Dec 16 06:05:01 2017