Earth Stewards: Sustainable Living in a Threatened World
Revised Last Updated: 05/05/2009
Fall and Winter quarters
Major areas of study include history, sustainability and justice, geography, natural history, field studies, literature and ecosystem dynamics.
Class Standing: This all-level program accepts up to 33% freshmen as well as supporting and encouraging those ready for advanced work.
Accepts Winter Enrollment: This program will accept new enrollment, without signature. Interested students should contact Rob Cole at email@example.com or (360) 867-6714 for more information.
We humans have a peculiar relationship with the natural world that sustains us. Just as much as an ant in the forest depends upon her surrounding environment for existence, so too are we entirely dependent upon this planet's ecosystem for our very lives. Yet by striving to control and transform the natural world, Homo sapiens have historically acted differently from any other species on this planet. Why have we adopted this behavior, and what have been the consequences of our actions? Join us in this two-quarter program as we investigate several human-contrived transformations of the natural world. Share in our quest to understand ecosystem processes and the environmental history of diverse geographic regions.
We will use a systems approach to explore emerging technologies, social behaviors and alternative practices that will lead us towards a sustainable future and responsible stewardship. Our premise is that our present lifestyle is not sustainable, but that by understanding the historical and philosophical background of how we arrived at this point, we will be able to make meaningful change. We will explore what it means to live in a place without exploiting other humans or the ecosystem. We will examine a number of indicators of local, national and global sustainability, survey what is being done in countries more advanced in these areas than the United States, and develop quantitative methods to compare different approaches.
Our initial quarter will begin with detailed examinations of Washington state's ecosystems and environmental history, and overnight field trips will allow us to explore several distinct regions in person. We will examine the stewardship methods of our regional ancestors and study future options. Students will do intensive audits of their own consumption practices and ecological footprint, and will have the opportunity to research alternatives. We will connect individual audits with those of the campus as a whole, examining carbon budgets, water budgets, trash budgets and energy budgets.
During winter quarter, we will examine regional, national and international issues of sustainability and equity, both in class and on overnight field trips. Our primary goal will be to study the effects of an increasing world population competing for resources and to explore possible paths towards creating a more sustainable and more enlightened future. Students can expect to work with a variety of sustainability concepts including biomimicry, The Natural Step, cradle-to-cradle design, renewable materials and sustainable food systems.
Weekly seminars, lectures, workshops, field studies, critical film viewing and field trips will help us to integrate our textual analyses with hands-on fieldwork. Travel and fieldwork are integral and required aspects of this program, thus students are expected to participate in all field trips, including overnight trips. In workshops and class presentations, students can expect to sharpen their critical reasoning skills, their writing and speaking ability, and their ability to work with quantitative methods and interpret quantitative data from a variety of sources.
Credits: 16 per quarter
Special Expenses: $200 per quarter for overnight field trips.
Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in history, environmental history, ecology, resource management, political and community ecology, environmental science, geography and sustainability.
|April 28th, 2009||This program has changed to all-level.|
|May 5th, 2009||Winter enrollment details added.|