All ES courses

| 100-Level ES Courses | 200-Level ES Courses | 300-Level ES Courses |

| Independent StudyCourses for Credit for the ES Major/Minor |

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ES 101 Fundamentals of Environmental Science with Laboratory

Griffith | Fall 2016 | 1.25 unit

How can we understand environmental problems if we don't understand the environment? In this course, we will approach environmental issues as scientific investigators: What do we need to know in order to understand ozone depletion? Mercury pollution? Ocean acidification? Habitat degradation? These are complex issues that are distinct in many ways, but which often share fundamental concepts that draw from many scientific disciplines. By examining the science behind these problems, we will develop the skills required to address them and begin to build a toolbox to tackle new and different problems. Laboratories examine the relationship between humans and the environment by exploring the campus and beyond. We will investigate important issues through hands-on physical data collection, high tech analysis, and modeling/mapping. ES 101, ES 102, and ES 103 may be taken in any order.

Prereq: QR basic skills component. Open to first years and sophomores; juniors and seniors may only enroll with permission of the instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Science. Fulfills the QR overlay requirement

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ES 102 Environment and Society: Addressing Climate Change

Turner | Spring 2017 | 1.0 unit

This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to environmental studies, with a focus on a climate change. Major concepts that will be examined include: the state of scientific research, the role of science, politics, and economics in environmental decisionmaking, and the importance of history, ethics and justice in approaching climate change. The central aim of the course is to help students develop the interdisciplinary research skills necessary to pose questions, investigate problems, and develop strategies that will help us address our relationship to the environment. ES 101, ES 102, and ES 103 may be taken in any order.

Prereq: QR basic skills component
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

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ES 103 FYS: Environment and Society: Food, Agriculture, and Sustainability

Goodall | Fall 2016 | 1.0 unit

Where does our food come from? Is the way we grow, distribute, and consume it sustainable? What is the difference between organic and conventional agriculture? Are technologies, such as genetic modification, ethically defensible? How does our assessment change if we consider agriculture in a developing country in Africa? To answer these questions, students will take an interdisciplinary approach to environmental studies that draws on economics, politics, history,  ethics, and the sciences. Students will actively investigate these questions through activities such as hands-on research on a long-term agricultural research plot on campus, fieldtrips to investigate practices at nearby farms, and policy-relevant debates in class. This course fulfills the 100-level interdisciplinary course requirement for the Environmental Studies major.

Prereq: None
Dist: None

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ES 104 FYS: How to Save the Planet: Making Change Happen

DeSombre | Fall 2016 | 1.0 unit

Fixing environmental problems will require change at all levels – from the habits and beliefs of individuals to the norms in communities, and political decisions locally, nationally and globally. How do individuals, communities, and political structures change?  This seminar combines a reading of the social science literature on change with our own efforts to put that information into action. We’ll figure out how to change our own habits, change someone else’s mind, and how to invoke or transform community norms.  We’ll experiment with what approaches to political change succeed or fail. We’ll also examine what types of change are most important: does it matter whether people undertake their behavior for the right reasons, or simply that they act in ways that are better for environmental protection?  When should we focus on changing behavior by individuals, and when should we focus on changing the structures within which that behavior happens?

Prereq: None
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

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ES 201/GEOS 201  Environmental, Health, and Sustainability Sciences with Laboratory

Brabander | Not Offered | 1.0 unit

Problems in environmental, health, and sustainability sciences are inherently transdisciplinary and require a diverse skill set to frame, analyze and solve. This course will focus on developing a toolbox of skills including; systems level thinking, field and analytical methods, biogeochemical analysis (natural waters, soils, and other environmental materials), and modeling with a goal of building a science-based foundation for the analysis of complex issues at the interface between humans and the environment. Students will conduct semester-long research projects and will present their results in a final poster session.

Prereq: Any 100-level GEOS course (except GEOS 111), ES 101, SUST 201, or permission of the instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

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ES 203 Cultures of Environmentalism

Turner | Spring 2017 | 1.0 unit

What is environmentalism? This course explores how different communities of people have answered that question in the United States and abroad. It focuses on the mainstream environmental movement and other formulations of environmentalism, such as environmental justice, deep ecology, animal rights, and indigenous peoples' concerns for the environment. This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to examining the role of culture in shaping how people have valued the environment and organized to protect it. What role do the arts, popular culture, and literature play in environmental activism? What are the ethical and philosophical foundations of modern environmental movements? How is environmental activism historically specific and shaped by particular constructions of race, gender, religion, and nature? The goal of this course is to consider how environmental activism and decision making can and must be sensitive to cultural context. Students are required to undertake a 15-20 hour service-learning project with a Boston-area environmental group.

Prereq: ES 101 or ES 102 or ES 103, or permission of the instructor
Dist: Religion, Ethics, and Moral Philosophy

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ES 209 Agroecology. The Science of Sustainable Food Systems with Laboratory

Goodall (Botany Fellow) | Not Offered | 1.25 unit

Agricultural production is embedded within, and interacts with, ecological, economic, and social systems. How do we know what impact food production has on the ecosystem, farmers, consumers, and others? Agroecology is a field that applies ecological principles to agricultural systems, explores social implications of food systems, and seeks solutions to food production and distribution through quantitative and qualitative analysis. The objectives of this course are to understand the fundamentals of agroecology, learn research design techniques to test questions related to these fundamentals, and understand analytical tools that reflect a whole-systems approach to evaluating the food system. We will pair lectures and discussions in the classroom with research on local farms, including farmer interviews, farm mapping and analysis of ecological factors on the farm. 

Prereq: BISC 108 or ES 103 or equivalent
Dist: None

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ES 210/GEOS 210 Hydrogeology- Water and Pollutants with Laboratory

Besancon (Geosciences) | Fall 2016 | 1.25 units

Clean water supply is a high priority for both developed and underdeveloped communities worldwide. Limits to supply and their implications for an increasing population make a clear understanding essential for citizens. Water sources and movement of water from the atmosphere through the earth's surface and subsurface will be examined. Laboratory will include field and laboratory analyses of physical and chemical properties and pollutant issues of local community supplies including the Wellesley campus, and Towns of Wellesley, Natick, and Norwell.

Prereq: Any 100-level GEOS course (except 111) or permission of instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Science; Mathematical Modeling

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ES 212/RAST 212 Lake Baikal: The Soul of Siberia

Moore (Biological Sciences), Hodge (Russian) | Not Offered | 1.25 units |

The ecological and cultural values of Lake Baikal – the oldest, deepest, and most biotically rich lake on the planet – are examined. Lectures and discussion in spring prepare students for the three-week field laboratory taught at Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia in August. Lectures address the fundamentals of aquatic ecology and the role of Lake Baikal in Russian literature, history, art, music, and the country's environmental movement. Laboratory work is conducted primarily out-of-doors and includes introductions to the flora and fauna, field tests of student-generated hypotheses, meetings with the lake's stakeholders, and tours of ecological and cultural sites surrounding the lake. 

Prereq: or corequisites: ES 101 or BISC 111; RUSS 101, and permission of the instructors. Preference will be given to students who have also taken HIST 211. Application required.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science; Language and Literature

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ES 214/POL2 214 Social Causes and Consequences of Environmental Problems

DeSombre (FA), DeSombre (SP) | Fall 2016, Spring 2017 | 1.0 unit

This course focuses on the social science explanations for why environmental problems are created, the impacts they have, the difficulties of addressing them, and the regulatory and other actions that succeed in mitigating them. Topics include: externalities and the politics of unpriced costs and benefits, collective action problems and interest group theory, time horizons in decision making, the politics of science, risk and uncertainty, comparative political structures, and cooperation theory. Also addressed are different strategies for changing environmental behavior, including command and control measures, taxes, fees, and other market instruments, and voluntary approaches. These will all be examined across multiple countries and levels of governance.

Prereq: ES 102, ES 103, or one course in political science, or permission of instructor
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

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ES 219/ANTH 229 Mapping Society, Public Heath, and the Environment: GIS Approaches   
 
Vining (Anthropology) | Not Offered | 1.0 unit

This course introduces students to Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and the use of spatial data in social and behavioral research. Many human behaviors have a spatial component. Space can also provide a common framework to identify and understand patterns within complex relationships.  The course will emphasize how to design, execute and present original research through lectures and labs.  Students will develop conceptual tools for spatial-reasoning, how to use specific software packages, and how to present interpretations and results in graphic form. The approaches to GIS will be relevant to students from Anthropology, Sociology, Economics, History, and other cognate disciplines. We will cover main concepts and applications of GIS as used in human ecology, planning and development, conflict studies, and epidemiology, for example.

Prereq: None
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

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ES 220 Human Ecology: Environmental Limits and Conservation with Laboratory
 
Griffith | Spring 2017 | 1.25 unit
 
Humans and their environment make up a complex and dynamic system.  As with all ecological systems, key components are the availability and use of resources and the interactions with other species - both of which have important impacts on the nature and stability of the system itself. This course investigates these far-reaching concepts by examining topics such as the broad implications of thermodynamics, energy and material flows through human and natural systems, natural resource management, and the conservation of resources and biodiversity. We will also explore the role of science and technology in surmounting previous limits (e.g. energy use and agricultural yields), as well as the implications of inherent limits that may never be broken. Laboratory work will focus on quantitative skills and modeling tools used to examine a range of systems.
 
Prereq: One of the following: ES 101, GEOS 101, GEOS 102, BISC 108 or permission of instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences; Mathematical Modeling
 
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ES 226/ARTH 226: Archaeology of Environmental Change
Vining (Anthropology) | Not Offered | 1.0 unit
Modern concerns about climate change and human impacts on the environment are the most recent in a long history of human – environmental interactions. Closer attention to long-term human-environmental interactions shows we have a constant history of impacting environments —both subtle and profoundly—throughout the world. This class will examine such interactions from a long-term perspective spanning the past 10,000 years. Through case studies in Environmental Archaeology, we will examine notions of ―"pristine wildernesses", how past cultural adaptations have created sustainable environments or caused environmental deterioration, and will scrutinize environmentally-driven models of societal change. With this focus on anthropogenic environments, we will look critically at models that externalize humans as ecological forces. We will also explore selected multidisciplinary approaches to reconstructing past human – environmental dynamics.

Prereq: None. Prior coursework in anthropology (socio-cultural, archaeology, or bioarchaeology), environmental studies, earth sciences, or related discipline preferred
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

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ES 228/ECON 228 Environmental and Resource Economics

Keskin (Economics) | Not Offered | 1.0 unit

This course considers the economic aspects of resource and environmental issues. After examining the concepts of externalities, public goods, and common property resources, we will discuss how to measure the cost and benefits of environmental policy, in order to estimate the socially optimal level of the environmental good. Applications of these tools will be made to air and water pollution, renewable and nonrenewable resources, and global climate. In addressing each of these problems we will compare various public policy responses such as regulation, marketable permits and tax incentives.

Prereq: ECON 101
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

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ES 229 Latin America: Topics in Food Systems and the Environment

Goodall (Botany Fellow) | Fall 2016 | 1.0 unit

From an ecological perspective, Latin America is a vast region composed of numerous biomes: tropical forests, savannas, deserts, mountains, and temperate forests and grasslands. Culturally, this region is home to diverse human communities including 600 indigenous groups. Economically, many countries in Latin America depend upon the export of natural resources and agricultural products. Growing populations, increased global trade, and a complicated history of colonization put pressure on all of these areas, creating a fascinating and important backdrop for exploring issues in food systems and the environment. Topics will be guided by student interest, but may include food justice, agroecology, water rights, biodiversity conservation, biopiracy, transnational agreements, farmer networks and social movements.

Prereq: ES 101, ES 102, or ES 103
Dist: None

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ES 234/PHIL 234 From Wilderness to Ruins

Matthes (Philosophy) | Fall 2016 | 1.0 unit

This course concerns a range of ethical and aesthetic questions about places, whether of natural or cultural significance. How should we understand the value of nature? Is it relative to human interests, or independent of them? What is nature in the first place, and how is it distinguished from culture? Is scientific or cultural knowledge relevant to the aesthetic experience of nature? Does “natural beauty” have a role to play in guiding environmental preservation? When we seek to preserve an ecosystem or a building, what exactly should we be aiming to preserve? Should the history of a place guide our interactions with it? How should we navigate conflicts between environmental and cultural preservation, especially as they intersect with issues of race and class? How should a changing climate affect our environmental values? We will investigate these questions, among others, in contexts from wilderness to parks, cities to ruins.

Prereq: Open to first-years who have taken one course in philosophy. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors without prerequisite.
Dist: Religion, Ethics, and Moral Philosophy

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ES 247/BISC 247 Plant Diversity and Ecology with Laboratory

Griffith | Not Offered | 1.25 unit

This course is a combination of "What's that wildflower?" and "Why does it grow over there and not here?" We begin by examining large-scale patterns of plant diversity from an evolutionary and phylogenetic perspective  and then shift to an ecological perspective. Along the way, we zoom in to specific concepts and processes that help us understand overall patterns. Laboratories will primarily be taught in the field and greenhouses and will include plant identification, observational and experimental studies, and long-term study of forest communities on the Wellesley campus. Laboratories will also include aspects of experimental design and data analysis. The goal of the course is not only to train students in botany and plant ecology, but to engage them in the world of plants every time they step outside. 

Prereq: ES 101 or BISC 108 or BISC 111 or BISC 113 or permission of instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences

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ES 267/ARTH 267 Art and the Environmental Imagination

Bedell (Art) | Not Offered | 1.0 unit

Nature, according to the environmental historian William Cronon, "serves as the mirror onto which societies project the ideal reflections they wish to see." Focusing on the land of the United States as it has been shaped into forms ranging from landscape paintings to suburban lawns, national parks, and our own Wellesley College campus, we will investigate the social, political, economic, religious, scientific, and aesthetic imperatives that have underlain these creations and molded our responses to them. Among the questions we will consider are: What is "nature"? What do we value in a landscape and why? How have artists and architects responded to environmentalist concerns? 

Prereq: None
Dist: Arts, Music, Film and Video

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ES 289 Environmental Mapping and Analysis

Griffith, Ferwerda (Research and Instructional Support) | Not Offered | 1.25 unit

Today's maps are much more than a means to get from here to there—they are rich with information and have become vital tools for addressing some of the world's most pressing environmental problems. Modern spatial analysis and mapping methods, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS), have opened up new ways to discover, interpret, and predict complex spatial patterns and systems. This course offers students hands-on experience with state-of-the-art spatial tools, statistical analyses, and data visualization in order to study multidisciplinary topics such as environmental justice, natural resource management/economics, environmental pollution, and biodiversity conservation. The combined lecture/lab format of the course in addition to its two instructors provides a thorough immersion into an evolving and exciting field.

Prereq: Fulfillment of the basic skills component of the Quantitative Reasoning requirement and ES 101, ES 102, or ES 103 or permission of the instructor
Dist: Fulfills the Quantitative Reasoning Overlay course requirements

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ES 299 Environmental History

Turner | Not Offered | 1.0 unit

This course examines the relationship between nature and society in American history. The course will consider topics such as the decimation of the bison, the rise of Chicago, the history of natural disasters, and the environmental consequences of war. There are three goals for this course: First, we will examine how humans have interacted with nature over time and how nature, in turn, has shaped human society. Second, we will examine how attitudes toward nature have differed among peoples, places, and times and we will consider how the meanings people give to nature inform their cultural and political activities. Third, we will study how these historical forces have combined to shape the American landscape and the human and natural communities to which it is home. While this course focuses on the past, an important goal is to understand the ways in which history shapes how we understand and value the environment as we do today.

Prereq: ES 101 or ES 102 or ES 103, or an American history course, or permission of the instructor
Dist: Historical Studies

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ES 300 Environmental Decisionmaking

Higgins | Spring 2017 | 1.0 units

An interdisciplinary seminar in which students work together in small groups to understand and develop solutions for current environmental problems. Each year, we focus on a given environmental issue of concern to our community, e.g. environmental implications of building design, energy use, or water quality. In particular, we work to understand its scientific background, the political processes that lead to potential solutions, and the ethical and environmental justice implications. Student-led research provides the bulk of the information about the issue and its role in our local environment; lectures and readings provide supplementary information about the local situation and the global context.

Prereq: A declared major or minor in environmental studies, ES 101 or ES 102 or ES 103, and completion of the three core distribution requirements, or permission of the instructor. This course is only open to juniors and seniors.
Dist: None

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ES 307/BISC 307 Advanced Topics in Ecology with Laboratory

Matthes (Biological Sciences) | Fall 2017 | 1.25 units

Topic for 2016-17: Ecosystem Ecology. Ecosystems are essential to sustaining life on Earth. The emergent structure and function of ecosystems are regulated by feedbacks between biological and physical systems from the microscopic to the global scale. We will study how ecosystems cycle carbon and nutrients and how the energy balance of ecosystems creates critical feedbacks with climate. We will also examine the role that humans play in managing, creating, and using services from ecosystems in our current era of rapid global change. Students will develop statistical skills working with real datasets from the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) network and will gain experience collecting new field data from nearby LTER sites to understand temporal and spatial patterns of ecosystem processes.

Prereq: Two units in Biological Sciences at the 200-level or above, or permission of instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

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ES 312S/POL2 312S Seminar: Environmental Policy

DeSombre | Not Offered | 1.0 unit

Focuses both on how to make and how to study environmental policy. Examines issues essential in understanding how environmental policy works and explores these topics in depth through case studies of current environmental policy issues. Students will also undertake an original research project and work in groups on influencing or creating local environmental policy.

Prereq: ES 214 or one 200-level unit in political science and permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to juniors and seniors. 
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

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ES 313 Environmental Impact Assessment

Higgins | Not Offered | 1.0 unit

Our environment is constantly changing as a result of anthropogenic events; we can apply scientific principles and assessment tools to reduce the adverse impacts that our actions have on the environment. Environmental impact assessment is the systematic identification and evaluation of the potential impacts or effects of proposed projects, products, and decisions relative to the current state of the total environment. This course teaches the scientific fundamentals of environmental impact assessment, along with the related approaches of environmental risk assessment, life cycle assessment and industrial ecology, that can help us make informed choices about how to minimize environmental harm and make informed choices about alternatives. These tools will be applied to case studies in class, and a semester-long team project.

Prereq: One introductor ES course, and one 200-level science course, or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences

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ES 325/POL3 325 International Environmental Law

DeSombre | Spring 2017 | 1.0 unit

For international environmental problems, widespread international cooperation is both important and quite difficult. Under what conditions have states been able to cooperate to solve international environmental problems? Most international efforts to address environmental problems involve international law—how does such law function? What types of issues can
international environmental law address and what types can it not? This course addresses aspects of international environmental politics as a whole, with particular attention to the international legal structures used to deal with these environmental problems. Each student will additionally become an expert on one international environmental treaty to be researched throughout the course.

Prereq: ES 214 or POL3 221 or permission of instructor.
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

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ES 327/BISC 327 Seminar. Topics in Biodiversity

Rodenhouse (Biological Sciences) | Spring 2017 | 1.0 unit

Topic of 2016-17: Conservation Biology. This course addresses the preservation and maintenance of species, populations and communities in today's rapidly changing environment.  Lectures and discussions will focus on selected topics in conservation biology including: measuring and monitoring biodiversity, the causes and consequences of species extinction, adaptation to change and anthropogenic evolution, ecosystem restoration, and relevant environmental policy. Course format includes lectures and critical discussion of current research.  Each student will complete an independent project of her choosing on a relevant topic.

Prereq: Two units in Biological Sciences at the 200-level or above, or permission of instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences

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ES 329 Latin America: Topics in Food Systems and the Environment

Goodall (Botany Fellow) | Fall 2016 | 1.0 unit

This course meets with ES 229. From an ecological perspective, Latin America is a vast region composed of numerous biomes: tropical forests, savannas, deserts, mountains, and temperate forests and grasslands. Culturally, this region is home to diverse human communities including 600 indigenous groups. Economically, many countries in Latin America depend upon the export of natural resources and agricultural products. Growing populations, increased global trade, and a complicated history of colonization put pressure on all of these areas, creating a fascinating and important backdrop for exploring issues in food systems and the environment. Topics will be guided by student interest, but may include food justice, agroecology, water rights, biodiversity conservation, biopiracy, transnational agreements, farmer networks and social movements.

Prereq: Permission of Instructor and one of the following: ES 101, ES 102, or ES 103
Dist: None

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ES 347/BISC 347 Advanced Plant Diversity and Ecology with Laboratory

Griffith | Not Offered | 1.25 units

This course meets along with ES 247/BISC 247 and offers an opportunity for students to engage more deeply with the material and perform independent research. Students will be expected to more thoroughly review and reference peer-reviewed literature and assist in leading in-class discussions. Additionally, each student will develop and conduct an experiment (or observational study) over the course of the semester that examines mechanisms of plant diversity and coexistence.

Prereq: BISC 201 or ES 220 or BISC 207 or permission of instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

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ES 381/POL1 381 United States Environmental Politics 

Turner | Not Offered | 1.0 unit

This course examines the politics of environmental issues in the United States. The course has two primary goals: First, to introduce students to the institutions, stakeholders, and political processes important to debates over environmental policy at the federal level. Second, to develop and practice skills of analyzing and making decisions relevant to environmental politics and policy. Drawing on the literature of environmental politics and policy, this course will consider how environmental issues are framed in political discourse, various approaches to environmental advocacy and reform, and the contested role of science in environmental politics. The course will be organized around environmental case studies, including endangered species conservation, public lands management, air and water pollution, and toxics regulation.

Prereq: A 200-level ES course of POL1 200 or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

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ES 383 The Science of Compliance

Higgins | Spring 2017 | 1.0 unit

For more than 40 years U.S. environmental policies have been passed, amended and enforced with the purpose of protecting human health and preserving the environment. This course will examine the evolution of technologies to meet the goals of major U.S. environmental policies including the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation, and Liability Act and the role that available technologies play in setting the enforceable standards within policies. We will learn fundamental scientific principles of water treatment, wastewater treatment, and air pollution control technologies and examine how scientists and engineers employ these technologies to meet policy goals. Students will further examine the relationship between a recent or future environmental policy and technological evolution.

Prereq: ES 101 or ES 220 or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

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ES 399 Calderwood Seminar in Public Writing: Environmental Synthesis and Communication

Turner | Fall 2016 | 1.25 unit

Tax carbon? Label genetically modified crops? Ban endocrine disruptors? In this course, we will engage with such questions and related environmental sustainability issues as public writers. Students will choose one environmental issue, which will be the focus of their environmental “beat” during the semester. They will draw on an interdisciplinary toolset from environmental studies to analyze and communicate the scientific, economic, political, and ethical dimensions of pressing policy issues. Students will conduct independent research to produce weekly articles, such as op-eds, blog posts, press releases, book reviews, policy memos, and interviews with environmental professionals. Class sessions will be organized as writing workshops focused on the interdisciplinary analysis and content of student work.

Prereq: Declared major or minor in Environmental Studies and completion of the required introductory courses and 200-level core courses for the major or minor, and permission of the instructor. It fulfills the capstone course requirement for ES majors.
Dist: None.

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Individual Study

ES 250 or 350 (Research or Individual Study) can be advised by any member of the advisory faculty in environmental studies. They may count towards the area of concentration. A half-unit course may only count as credit towards the major when combined with another half-unit course. Only two units of independent study may be counted towards the major. ES350 courses may not be used to fulfill the minimum requirement that two electives be at the 300-level.

ES 250GH Environmental Studies Reading Group

Staff | Not offered 2014-15 | 0.5 unit

The ES program runs a weekly reading group on changing topics. Readings will be chosen based on the interests of the participating students and faculty members. Students who enroll commit to coming to each week's discussion, preparing a set of responses to the week's reading, and, in collaboration with other group members, selecting some of the weekly topics and readings. Grading is mandatory Credit/No Credit..

Prereq: Permission of instructor, normally limited to students who have taken two courses in Environmental Studies
Dist: None

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ES 250 Research or Individual Study

Fall and Spring | 1.0 unit

PrereqPermission of instructor, ordinarily limited to students who have completed at least three units toward their major
Dist: None

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ES 250H Research or Individual Study

Fall and Spring | 0.5 unit

PrereqPermission of instructor, ordinarily limited to students who have completed at least three units toward their major
Dist: None

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ES 350 Research or Individual Study

Fall and Spring | 1.0 unit

PrereqPermission of instructor, ordinarily limited to students who have completed at least five units toward their major
Dist: None

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ES 350H Research or Individual Study

Fall and Spring | 0.5 unit

PrereqPermission of instructor, ordinarily limited to students who have completed at least five units toward their major
Dist: None

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ES 360 Senior Thesis Research

Fall and Spring | 1.0 unit

PrereqBy permission of the advisory faculty. See Honors in Environmental Studies.
Dist: None

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ES 370 Senior Thesis

Fall and Spring | 1.0 units

PrereqES 360 and permission of the department.
Dist: None

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Courses for credit towards the ES major or minor

AFR 226 Environmental Justice, "Race," and Sustainable Development 

Steady (Africana Studies) | Not Offered | 1.0 unit

An investigation of the extent to which the causes and consequences of environmental degradation are influenced by social inequality and the devaluation of indigenous peoples. The course will examine how the poor, indigenous peoples and people of color are subjected to environmental hazards. Topics include the link between negative environmental trends and social inequality; the social ecology of slums, ghettos and shanty towns; the disproportionate exposure of some groups to pollutants, toxic chemicals, and carcinogens; dumping of hazardous waste in Africa and other Third World countries; and industrial threats to the ecology of small island states in the Caribbean. The course will evaluate Agenda 21, the international program of action from the Earth Summit designed to halt environmental degradation and promote sustainable development.

Prereq: None
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

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ASTR 223/GEOS 223 Planetary Climates

Watters (Astronomy) | Not Offered | 1.0 unit

Have you wondered what Earth's climate was like 3 billion years ago? What about weather patterns on Titan and climate change on Mars? In this course, we'll explore the structure and evolution of atmospheres and the climate on four worlds: the Earth, Mars, Venus, and Saturn's moon Titan. We'll examine the techniques and tools that geologists use to learn about the history of the Earth's climate and that planetary scientists use to learn about the atmospheres and surface environments on other worlds. Students will also gain experience simulating the climate system and computing atmospheric properties. Other topics include: the super-rotation of Venus's atmosphere and its Runaway Greenhouse climate, the destruction of atmospheres on low-gravity worlds, and the future of Earth's climate as the Sun grows steadily brighter.

Prereq: Any 100 level course in ASTR; or GEOS 101, GEOS 102, or GEOS 206; or ES 101; or permission of the instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Science; Mathematical Modeling

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BISC 108 Environmental Horticulture with Laboratory

Jones, McDonough, Thomas | Spring 2017 | 1.25 unit

This course will examine how plants function, both as individual organisms and as critical members of ecological communities, with special emphasis on human uses of plants. Topics will include plant adaptations, reproduction, environmentally sound landscape practices, urban horticulture, and the use of medicinal plants. The laboratory involves extensive use of the greenhouses, experimental design, data collection and analysis, and field trips.

Prereq: QR basic skills component
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences

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BISC 201 Ecology with Laboratory

Rodenhouse, Thomas | Fall 2016 | 1.25 unit

An introduction to the scientific study of interactions between organisms and their environments. Topics include evolutionary adaptation in dynamic environments, behavioral ecology and life-history strategies, population growth and regulation, species interactions (competition, parasitism, mutualism, predation) and their consequences, and the structure and function of biological communities and ecosystems. Emphasis is placed on experimental ecology and its uses in addressing environmental issues such as biological control of pests, conservation of endangered species and global climate change. Laboratories occur primarily in the field where students explore and study local habitats, including meadows, forests, alpine tundra, bogs, dunes, marshes, lakes, and streams.

PrereqBISC 108 or BISC 111/113 or ES 101, or by permission of the instructor
DistNatural and Physical Science. Fulfills QR overlay requirement

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BISC 202 Evolution with Laboratory

Sequeira (Biological Sciences) | Not Offered | 1.25 unit

Examination of evolution, the central paradigm of biology, at the level of populations, species, and lineages. Topics include the genetics of populations, the definition of species, the roles of natural selection and chance in evolution, the reconstruction of phylogeny using molecular and morphological evidence, and patterns in the origination, diversity, and extinction of species over time.

PrereqBISC 110/112 and BISC 111/113
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

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BISC 210 Marine Biology with Laboratory

Moore, Hughes (Biological Sciences) | Fall 2016 | 1.25 unit

Oceans cover more than 70% of the earth's surface and are our planet's primary life support system. This course examines adaptations and interactions of plants and animals in a variety of marine habitats. Focal habitats include the photic zone of the open ocean, the deep-sea, subtidal and intertidal zones, estuaries, and coral reefs. Emphasis is placed on the dominant organisms, food webs, and experimental studies conducted within each habitat. Laboratories will emphasize primarily field work in marine habitats as well as hands-on study of marine organisim and adaptation anatomy.

PrereqBISC 111/113 or ES 101, or by permission of the instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

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BISC 308 Tropical Ecology with Laboratory

Koniger (Biological Sciences) | Not Offered | 1.25 unit

Tropical rain forests and coral reefs seem to invite superlatives. They are among the most fascinating, diverse, productive, but also most endangered ecosystems on earth. These topics are addressed during the fall lectures in preparation for the laboratory part of the course which takes place in Central America during wintersession. We first travel to a small island part of an atoll bordering the world's second longest barrier reef off the coast of Belize. In the second half of the field course we explore an intact lowland rain forest in Costa Rica. Laboratory work is carried out primarily outdoors and includes introductions to flora and fauna, and implementation of research projects designed during the fall. Normally offered in alternate years. Subject to Dean's Office approval.

Prereq BISC 201, 207, or 210, and permission of instructor; Application required
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences

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BISC 314 Environmental Microbiology and Laboratory 

Klepac-Ceraj (Biological Sciences) | Not Offered | 1.25 unit

A field-based exploration of the microbial world centered on distinct microbial habitats visited locally. Short lectures and readings from primary literature will be combined with trips to visit a diverse set of microbial environments where students will collect samples for microbial isolation as well as culture-independent community assessment. In the laboratory, students will learn how to identify and design media for selective isolation of microbes involved in processes such as: methanotrophy, sulfur oxidation, nitrogen fixation, syntrophism and symbiosis, fermentation of ethanol and aging of cheese. Student participation and discussion of original scientific literature will be emphasized.

PrereqCHEM 211 plus any of the following: BISC 201, 202, 209, 210, 219 or 220 or permission of instructor
DistNatural and Physical Science

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BISC 319 Evolution and Conservation Genetics with Laboratory

Sequeira | Spring 2017 | 1.25 unit

Oceanic archipelagos such as Galápagos stand at a crossroads: while many still retain most of its original species, ecological degradation is proceeding rapidly. We will focus on the study of the components of accumulation of species diversity in island systems and of the forces or agents that can threaten that endemic diversity. By looking at relationships between organisms, populations and species, we can interpret how historical processes can leave evolutionary footprints on the geographic distribution of traits. Additionally, analyzing genetic patterns within island populations we can detect signals of demographic growth or decline and evaluate the role of genetic factors in population persistence. After a series of introductory lectures, the course will involve student presentations and discussion of primary literature examining cases in archipelagos (Hawaii, Canaries and Galápagos). In the laboratory, we will explore computational biology tools for analysis of DNA sequences, and apply methods of phylogeny, phylogeography reconstruction and population demographics. We will also explore the growing field of molecular dating of evolutionary events.

PrereqBISC 201 or 202 or 210 or 219 or by permission of the instructor
DistNatural and Physical Science

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GEOS 101 Earth Processes and the Environment with Laboratory

Brabander | Fall 2016 | 1.25 units

Geologic processes both rapid (earthquakes and landslides) and slow (mountain building and sea level rise) are intimately linked with sustaining the diversity of life on the planet. This course will examine these and other processes in which the atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere are linked via the flow of energy and mass. Laboratory exercises and field trips will introduce skills needed to observe and document processes shaping our environment. Problem solving in small groups during class time will foster critical thinking, and classroom debates between larger teams will focus research and communications skills on current issues in geosciences such as building and removing dams, and the science surrounding global climate change.

PrereqFulfillment of the basic skills component of the Quantitative Reasoning requirement; Not open to students who have taken GEOS 102
DistNatural and Physical Science. Fulfills the QR overlay requirement

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GEOS 102 The Dynamic Earth with Laboratory

Hawkins, Besancon | Fall 2016, Spring 2017 | 1.25 units

The Earth is a dynamic planet - driven by processes that operate on its surface and within. In this course we study these processes as well as interactions between the solid earth, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere that together produce the environment we live in. Topics covered include the origin and history of the earth, plate tectonics, the distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes, hydrology, landscape evolution, and global climate; these processes influence our lives daily. Laboratory exercises, project work, and local field trips provide hands-on opportunities to develop key concepts and hone observational and analytical skills.

PrereqQR basics skills. Not open to students who have taken GEOS 101
DistNatural and Physical Science. Fulfills QR overlay requirement.

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GEOS 120/ASTR 120  Planetary Habitability: Past, Present, Future with Laboratory

Brabander (Geosciences), McLeod (Astro) | Fall 2016 | 1.25 units

Overall, Earth is a pretty fine place to live. But how did it get this way, and will it always be so nice? We will explore Earth’s place in the Universe in both space and time, focusing on processes that led to the Earth as we know it. We then will examine cosmic, geologic, and human processes that are altering our planet at a time when humans have become change agents on a global scale. This interdisciplinary, studio-style course features two long blocks per week with hands-on activities including group work, discussions, and projects with non-traditional assessment tailored to individual student goals. There will be opportunities for nighttime telescopic observing along with field trips to rock outcrops that preserve evidence of a very different early Earth climate.

Prereq: Open to first years and sophomores only. Fulfillment of the basic skills component of the Quantitative Reasoning requirement.
DistMathematical Modeling, Natural Physical Science

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GEOS 208 Oceanography

Besancon | Spring 2017 | 1.0 unit

The Earth is an ocean planet. Covering 71 percent of the Earth's surface and holding 97 percent of the EARth's water, the oceans are perhaps our planet's most distinctive feature. This course will address fundamental questions about the oceans such as, why do we have oceans and ocean basins? Why do we have ocean currents? How have the interactions among physical, chemical, and biological processes produced the ocean we have today? Why should we strive to learn more about the oceans, and what are the links between the oceans and Earth's climate? In-class exercises, case studies, and data analysis will emphasize fundamental oceanographic processes and problem solving skills. A mandatory field trip to the coast will allow students to explore coastal processes in action. 

Prereq: Any 100-level GEOS, ES or BISC course, or permission of the instructor 
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

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GEOS 304 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy with Laboratory 

Monecke | Fall 2016 | 1.25 unit

Sediments and sedimentary rocks cover most of the Earth's present surface. Sedimentology encompasses the study of the origin, transport, deposition and lithification of sedimentary rocks, and is critical to accurate interpretation of the geologic rock record. Observations of modern sedimentary processes illuminate past environments; sedimentary strata record evidence of mountain building and seismic activity, glacial advances and paleoclimate cycles, and preserve the fossil record. Natural resources including groundwater, coal and petroleum are found in sedimentary rocks. Society is impacted by sedimentary processes in popular human habitats including coastlines and flood plains. Readings and discussions build students' familiarity with topics such as sediment transport, stratigraphy, and modern and ancient depositional environments. A semester-long project, laboratory exercises and weekend field trips emphasize field methods, rock identification, and data collection, analysis and interpretation. Normally offered in alternate years.

PrereqGEOS 200, GEOS 203, or permission of the instructor 
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

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GEOS 315 Environmental Geochemistry with Laboratory

Brabander (Geosciences) | Spring 2017 | 1.25 unit

Accurately predicting the fate and transport of naturally occurring toxic elements and anthropogenic compounds in the environment requires a broad set of multidisciplinary skills. This course introduces geochemical approaches including mass balance, residence time, isotope fractionation, and thermodynamic and kinetic modeling necessary to fingerprint sources of pollutants and track them in water, soil, and plants. These fundamentals will be explored in several classic case studies and in semester-long geochemical research projects conducted by small groups. 

PrereqOne course above the 100-level in two of the following disciplines: Geosciences, Chemistry, Biological Sciences or Environmental Studies, or permission of the instructor
DistNatural and Physical Science; Mathematical Modeling

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GEOS 320 Isotope Geochemistry

Brabander (Geosciences) | Not Offered  | 1.0 unit

This seminar-style course will use the primary literature to study state-of-the-art techniques in isotope geochemistry. Radiogenic, cosmogenic, and stable isotope systematics will be explored with applications ranging from geochronology, tectonics, fate and transport of pollutants, and the use of isotopes to trace biogeochemical processes. Field trips to Boston area isotope labs and opportunities for collaborative research projects will complement the seminar.

PrereqAny 200-level GEOS course or permission of the instructor
DistNatural and Physical Science

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PHIL 233 Environmental Ethics

de Bres (Philosophy) | Not Offered | 1.0 unit

Do non-human animals, plants, species, ecosystems or wilderness have moral value beyond their relation to human interests? Do we have moral duties to refrain from harming the natural world or to preserve it for future generations? How should we weigh up environmental concerns against other concerns (such as the elimination of poverty or economic growth) in cases where they come into conflict? How should the benefits of the environment, and the burdens of conserving it, be shared across individuals or countries? Does recognition of the importance of the environment call for a brand new kind of moral philosophy or merely a more sophisticated application of an old one? This course will examine a variety of philosophical answers to these questions and apply those answers to a set of pressing current issues, including global climate change; population policy and reproductive freedom; the local food movement; and the use of non-human animals for food, research and entertainment.

PrereqOpen to first-year students who have taken one course in philosophy and to sophomores, juniors, and seniors without prerequisite. 
DistReligion, Ethics, and Moral Philosophy

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