Bonneville Dam


Energy and the Environment

An evening part time studies program at the Evergreen State College

This is a course designed to relate energy and the environment. The class will take field trips to various dams, coal plants, etc. This class is team taught by Howard Schwartz, Gordon Bloomquist, Dan Dodds, and Jim Kerstetter.


This class is a continuation of the fall quarter program although new students may join if they have the requisite background. We will focus on three topics that are essential to understanding the energy dilemmas of the Pacific Northwest-- and indeed the rest of the United States and even the rest of the world: hydroelectric dams, nuclear waste, and transportation. In each case, the current technological and policy regime produces the energy that drives our society but at the same time causes immense environmental consequences that lead to searches for alternatives to the current regime. We will examine both the natural science and the public policies underlying how things are now and how they might be.



Students should be self-motivated and prepared to participate fully in seminar discussions, field trips and group and individual projects. There will be periodic take-home quizzes so both students and faculty can assess how well the course material is being absorbed and to evaluate quantitative skills. Unless other arrangements are made, the credit conversion to standard disciplines will be as follows: two credits each of chemistry, geology, economics and political science.


By taking this program, students agree to:

Attend all classes

Be on time for all events

Turn in all assignments

Participate fully in all activities

Respect their own work and the work of others

Evaluate the faculty

Evaluate themselves ("self-evaluation")

If requested, participate in an informal end of the quarter conference


The faculty agree to:

Be on time for all events

Be prepared for each activity

Be respectful of each other and each student

Evaluate each student fairly and on time

Be responsive to student needs


Quizzes, exams, papers, projects:

Unless some other arrangement is worked out, each student will be responsible for three written projects, one on each of the three themes of this quarter's program: dams, transportation and nuclear waste. The first two will be individual projects while the last will be a group project with in-class presentations followed by individual written versions of the group's findings. Details on each project will be distributed at the beginning of each program segment. There will also be occasional take-home quizzes and exercises following the natural science lectures, readings and discussions. The quizzes will focus on the quantitative skills necessary for scientific reasoning.


Hydroelectric Dams and their impact

Nuclear Waste



Class Readings (Books)


Field Trips:

Information on Field Trips


Class structure and format:

The usual pattern for each evening's class will be a lecture/discussion for the whole class, a short break, then a re-convening of the class into three seminar groups for discussions of the lecture, readings and student projects. If there is another schedule for the evening it will be so stated on the syllabus. All of the scheduled events are subject to change due to weather, changes in availability of guest speakers, illness, etc.



Winter Class Schedule for second quarter 1996/97 school year

Fall Class Schedule for first quarter 1996/97 school year



Links to sites that have useful information for this class