Learning Goals

"Sustainability" is the major theme this year that will be used to weave the major concepts of the course together this year.

This class is focussed on developing a deep understanding of the major concepts in Environmental Science.  Here are the learning goals for this course (notice these are NOT topics, but bigger ideas that will be taught using a variety of topics related to sustainability):
  1. Science is a process.
    1. Science is a method of learning more about the world.
    2. Science constantly changes the way we understand the world.
  2. Energy conversions underlie all ecological processes.
    1. Energy cannot be created; it must come from somewhere.
    2. As energy flows through systems, at each step more of it becomes unusable.
  3. The Earth itself is one interconnected system.
    1. Natural systems change over time and space.
    2. Biogeochemical systems vary in ability to recover from disturbances.
  4. Humans alter natural systems.
    1. Humans have had an impact on the environment for millions of years.
    2. Technology and population growth have enabled humans to increase both the rate and scale of their impact on the environment.
  5. Environmental problems have a cultural and social context.
    1. Understanding the role of cultural, social, and economic factors is vital to the development of solutions.
  6. Human survival depends on developing practices that will achieve sustainable systems.
    1. A suitable combination of conservation and development is required.
    2. Management of common resources is essential.