Courses

Sustainability courses

The following courses have a sustainability or climate-change component and many are cross-listed with Environmental Studies:

ES018 - Physics of the Environment. Freshmen Seminar. Mark Battle
An introduction to the physics of environmental issues, including past climates, anthropogenic climate change, ozone destruction, and energy production and efficiency.

ES225a - Community, Ecosystem, and Global Change Ecology. John Lichter. Every fall
Community ecology is the study of dynamic patterns in the distribution and abundance of organisms. Ecosystem ecology is the study of the flow of energy and cycling of matter through ecological communities. Global change ecology examines how human activities alter communities and ecosystems and how these changes play out at the global scale. Topics include the creation and maintenance of biodiversity, the complexity of species interactions in food webs, the role of disturbance in ecological processes, the importance of biodiversity in ecosystem processes, and human influences on global biogeochemical cycles and climate change. Laboratory sessions consist of local field trips, team research exercises, and independent field research projects. Current and classic scientific literature is discussed weekly

ES233c/Visual Arts 233 - Architecture and Sustainability.
Wiebke Theodore.
Explores the critical components, principles, and tools of good sustainable design. Uses design exercises, readings, class discussion, field visits, and case studies to investigate why and how buildings can be designed in ways that are environmentally responsive and responsible. Issues include the relationship between sustainability and creative architectural form, as well as the importance of place and community in design.

ES 264b - Energy, Climate, and Air Quality. DeWitt John.
Examines how the federal government in the United States, as well as states, communities, businesses, and nonprofits, can address climate change and energy issues. Compares American policies and politics with efforts in other countries and examines the links between American policies and efforts in other nations.

ES/Geo 270. Landscapes and Global Change. Peter Lea.
The Earth’s surface is marked by the interactions of the atmosphere, water and ice, biota, tectonics, and underlying rock and soil. Even familiar landscapes beget questions on how they formed, how they might change, and how they relate to patterns at both larger and smaller scales. This course examines earth’s landscapes and the processes that shape them, with particular emphasis on how future changes may both influence and be influenced by humans. Topics include specific land-shaping agents (rivers, glaciers, landslides, groundwater), as well as how these agents interact with one another and with changing climate and human activities.

ES/GEO 282a – MCSR, INS. Oceans and Climate. Every fall. Collin Roesler.
Oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface. Through the transfer of heat and matter, the oceans drive Earth’s climate and ultimately life on Earth. How do we resolve paleoclimates and what records are preserved in deep sea sediments and ice cores? How does the ocean control climate and how does it respond to natural perturbations in climate? The ocean has long been viewed as a buffer for climate perturbations; what are future predictions for climate change and ocean response? How are ocean ecosystems structured and how do they respond to climate perturbations? Weekly laboratory sessions will be devoted to field trips, laboratory experiments and computer based data analyses and modeling to understand the time and space scales of processes governing oceans, climate and ecosystems.

ES301 – Environmental Capstone Course. Phil Camill
Structured around a semester-long project, providing students with a hands-on, capstone experience that applies prior coursework in the Environmental Studies major. Students work as a collaborative team to explore one issue and to develop a report/project useful to the community. The final project will be a culmination of student-led discussions, readings, meetings with stakeholders, field trips, original research and design, and data analysis. Potential issues to be examined may include carbon neutrality and campus sustainability at Bowdoin, climate change in Maine, conservation, land use, energy, community and urban design, public health, environmental justice, and transportation. During the fall of 2009, students developed climate action plans for the towns of Brunswick and Topsham

ES302 – Earth Climate History. Phil Camill
The modern world is experiencing rapid climate warming and some parts extreme drought, which will have dramatic impacts on ecosystems and human societies. How do contemporary warming and aridity compare to past changes in climate? Are modern changes human-caused or part of the natural variability in the climate system? What effects did past changes have on global ecosystems and human societies? Students will use sediment and growth records (ocean, glacier, lake, coral, tree ring, and rodent middens) to assemble proxies for past changes in climate, atmospheric CO2, and disturbance to examine several issues: long-term carbon cycling and climate, the rise of C4 photosynthesis and the evolution of grazing mammals, orbital forcing and glacial cycles, glacial refugia and post-glacial species migrations, climate change and the rise of human civilizations, climate/overkill hypothesis of Pleistocene megafauna, climate variability, drought cycles, climate change affects impacts on fire, climate-related collapses of human civilizations, and determining natural variability vs human-caused climate change.

ES357a - The Physics of Climate. Mark Battle.
A rigorous treatment of the earth’s climate, based on physical principles. Topics include climate feedbacks, sensitivity to perturbations, and the connections between climate and radiative transfer, atmospheric composition, and large-scale circulation of the oceans and atmospheres. Anthropogenic climate change will also be studied.

101. Introduction to Environmental Studies. Every fall. DeWitt John, John Lichter, and Lawrence Simon.
Course includes as three week unit on the topic of Climate Change. Lectures cover the science of climate change, energy policy and ethical dimensions of the topic, culminating with an in-class exercise on climate negotiation

ES102a/Geo 103 – Introduction to Oceanography. Collin Roesler. Every fall
Course includes an emphasis on oceans’ roles in climate change

ES103a/Geo 103 – Marine Environmental Geology. Ed Laine. Every spring
Includes material on impact of sea level rise

201a/Bio 158/Chem105 - MCSR, INS. Perspectives in Environmental Science. Every spring. John Lichter and the Chemistry Department.
The course includes units on “Climate System/Change”, “Climate Change” and “Energy” as a lab exercise on Carbon sequestration.

203c/History 242 Environment and Culture in North American History. Every spring. Matt Klingle.
Climate change is included as a theme in the course with an emphasis on energy, pollution and globalization.

204a – Introduction to GIS. The program
Incorporates community based projects with a sustainability focus.

207b/Government 207 – Building Healthy Communities Every spring. DeWitt John
Emphasizes environmental sustainability at the local level in the context of healthy communities.

216c. Telling Environmental Stories. Anthony Walton.
Engages student writing through the workshop method, and includes study of several texts, including The Control of Nature, Cadillac Desert, Living Downstream, and Field Notes from a Catastrophe.

228b/Economics 228. MCSR. Natural Resource Economics and Policy. Guillermo Herrera.
Investigates economic issues surrounding use of renewable resources and exhaustible resources.

231b,d. Native Peoples and Cultures of Arctic America. Susan Kaplan.

240b. Environmental Law. Every other year. Conrad Schneider.
Topics include market mechanisms and emissions trading

283c. Environmental Education. The Program.
Students in the class teach lessons on renewable energy as part of their in-class work.

338c. Consumption Junction: The Nature and Culture of Consumerism. Matthew Klingle.
Students in this class toured the Worumbo Hydropower Plant

ES335c/English 392. Living in the Ruins. David Collings.
Examines literature, primarily written after 1945, that depicts life in a world that is enduring, or has endured, a military, cultural, moral, or environmental disaster (such as global climate change).

350a/Chemistry 350. Atmospheric Chemistry Laura Voss.
An in-depth study in the chemistry that affects atmospheric composition and global climate change. Topics include ozone depletion, tropospheric pollution, understanding past climates, and modern research techniques.

375. Feeding the World: The Nature and Challenges of Our Food and Agricultural Systems. Phil Camill.
Examines methods of food production and its relationship to sustainability and impact on climate change.

ES 392c/Philosophy 392 - Advanced Topics in Environmental Philosophy. Lawrence Simon
Climate change is one of several topics considered in the course.

ES395/Government 395 - Environmental Policy and Politics. DeWitt John
Focuses on a different aspect of climate policy. course focused on transportation systems and sustainability.