Environmental Issues (EnvS 225)
|Collapse Readings: Chapters 1,
2, and 3
Jared Diamond lists 8 categories of environmental
damage (p.6) and five factors that must be considered in determining
whether a society might collapse or not (pp.10-11). Put
Montana in Diamond's framework and tell us whether you think Montana
is on the verge of collapse. Why or why not?
|E-Reserve Reading: "Macroeconomics and
Why are economists like Boulding and Daly concerned
about the scale of human activities in relation to the biosphere?
Explain the expressions "cowboy economy" and "spaceship economy."
What are the differences between these two economic situations?
Explain why the growth of GDP does not represent a
satisfying indicator of development
|Collapse Readings: Chapters 4,
5, and 6
On page 114, Catherine Orliac is quoted as asking,
"Why destroy a forest that one needs for his (i.e., an Easter
Islander's) material and spiritual survival?" How would you answer
this question after reading Chapter 2?
|E-Reserve Reading: "Making Science
Relevant to Environmental Policy"
Dr. Hanna Cortner, the author of the assigned
article, asserts that, "there is no such thing as objective science"
and argues that science reflects the culture and agenda of science
and scientists. Do you agree with this assertion? Why or why not?
What criticism(s) does the author level at using
technical solutions as "first order solutions"? Do you agree? Why or
June 27-July 3
|Collapse Readings: Chapters 7,
8, and 9
Think about the deforestation on Easter Island
related to moving the large statues from the quarry to their final
sites. And think about the fact that the Norse of Greenland did not
eat the fish that were so bountiful in their waters. Discuss the
role of culture in their choices and how culture applies to our
present environmental concerns.
|E-Reserve Reading: "Global Weirding" from Hot,
Flat, and Crowded
How do you think the people characterized in
Modern Montana would respond to Friedman's argument in "Global
What ethical problems does the developed world
face in advising the developing world to practice sustainable
|Collapse Readings: Chapters 10,
11, and 12
Compare and contrast some of the environmental
problems in Rwanda, Haiti and the Dominican Republic and explain how
and why the Dominican Republic has been more successful in managing
their environment than the other two.
|E-Reserve Reading: "Green Is the New Red, White,
and Blue" in Hot, Flat, and Crowded
Friedman argues for a shift from fossil fuel to
clean energy as good for America. Do you agree with him?
|Collapse Readings: Chapters 13 and
Some U.S. social theorists argue that, "ambitious
efforts to seek social justice often leave societies worse off than
before because they either require massive state intervention that
disrupts existing relationships or produce unanticipated
consequences." Evaluate this statement in light of what you have
read about China in Chapter 12 of Collapse
|E-Reserve Reading: "Our Carbon Copies (or,
Too Many Americans)" in Hot, Flat, and Crowded
"So how can we encourage economic growth in a
world in which natural resources are limited, not growing?",
Friedman queries. Discuss some of the options the chapter
gives for how and why America should play a role in leading the way toward
|Collapse Readings: Chapters 15 and 16
What is the role of the public in holding accountable big
|E-Reserve Reading: "Multinationals Rob Seeds of
Poor: Vandana Shiva and Houston Catholic Workers Protest Patenting
of Life Forms at Rice Tec in Alvin, Texas"
What are intellectual property rights, and how has
the role of transnational (multi-national) companies served to
hinder them? Under free trade, what is the relationship of
governments with corporations?