Introduction to Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies 240 and Psychology 502


Catherine Badgley, Director, Environmental Studies Program; Lecturer, Residential College

118 Tyler, East Quad, 763-6448,


Barbara Smuts, Professor, Department of Psychology

4014 East Hall, 647-3931,


Lectures: Tu, Th, 1-2:30

Discussion section: one two-hour meeting per week

Office Hours: To be announced

Course expenses (text books): $50-100

Course Syllabus

Ethics Essay: a personal perspective

Excerpts from student journals


This course is an introduction to the environmental crises and challenges of our time, from the perspectives of the natural and social sciences. The natural-science perspective will be presented through a survey of geological, ecological, and evolutionary processes which support the earth’s natural resources. The social-science perspective will be presented through an evolutionary and behavioral approach to the customs, attitudes, and behaviors toward nature, resources, and the quality of life in contemporary western and non-western cultures. These perspectives will be integrated to demonstrate that we have substantially different choices about how to live, with different consequences in terms of ecological and social impact as well as personal satisfaction. Linking these viewpoints is the outlook for a sustainable future, in terms of the quality of life for the global human population, the status of other species, and the integrity of physical systems.

Sections involve discussions, field trips to local natural areas and businesses, and exercises in systems thinking. Students keep a journal, write several essays, prepare several quantitative reports, and conduct a group project.