Environment, Sustainability & Society Courses

ENSS 160: Introduction to Environmental Studies (3 credits)

This course investigates major contributions of the social and natural sciences to our understanding of how and why environmental problems happen. Environmentally harmful human behavior is not simply a fact of life, but a product of social conditions that can be studied, understood, and changed. In this course, we examine approaches to resolving environmental problems, including strategies such as market-based policies, reforms of property systems, and social movements that promote environmental justice and sustainable development. Students apply these conceptual approaches to root causes, consequences, and solutions to specific environmental topics.

ENSS 310 Sustainable Agriculture (3 credits, lecture course)

This course explores the meaning of sustainability, and in particular how to have sustainable agriculture. Students will investigate sustainability through the lenses of food insecurity, labor, soil management, race, profitability, climate change, and environmental injustice. The class will examine and discuss industrial agricultural techniques and the Green Revolution that promised food for all, but greatly missed the mark and has contributed to the degradation of the land. In addition, the emerging conservation and regenerative methods will be explored that focuses on soil health and soil carbon storage. The class plans to visit local farms and interact with farmers who practice sustainable land management.

ENSS 320 Geographic Information Systems (3 credits)

In this course students become familiar with Geographic Information Systems and data structures and applications in decision making and problem solving.  Students will receive and introduction to ESRl’s ArcGIS software including data structures, dereferencing, data classification, cartography and spatial data analysis as well as applications of GIS to critical, informed decision making.   Students will explore and evaluate a variety of data sources, and introduce them to as well as open source software options. Through interaction with geospatial data and map creation, students can begin to think critically about how to turn raw spatial data into useful information. Students will complete a mapping project of their choice and will find and integrate data from multiple sources and databases of geographic concepts.

ENSS 395/495 or ENSS 398/498: Environment, Sustainability and Society Internship or Independent Study (3 credits)

Through this course, students will either intern with an environmental, sustainable or community improvement organization or conduct an independent project exploring issues and sustainable solutions. The emphasis in this course is hands-on application and exploration of issues related to sustainability.

ENSS 490: Environment, Sustainability and Society Thesis Research Project (3 credits)

In this senior capstone for the Environment, Sustainability and Society Major, students will research issues related to the environment and sustainability and applications within society or natural and built environments and write a formal paper exploring the issue or detailing the project.  Pre-requisite: Successful completion of ENSS 395/495 or ENSS 398/489.