Bemidji State University

People and the Environment
Semester & Section Syllabi
Spring 2011
[8:30 AM] |[2PM]| [4 PM]
Summer 2011 Fall 2011
[10 AM] | [12 PM]
Field Program
Hawaii Field Program

Minnesota Sustainable Communities Calendar for Northwest Minnesota

Link to: Service Learning Opportunities


Link to: Movie Nights

Overview Objectives

Textbook Website
9th edn.

7th edn has practice multiple choice questions

Reconciling chapters in 9th edn. with previous editions

Links Balance

P & the E link o' the moment:

Course Description

This interdisciplinary course is offered in a variety of formats all of which focus on environmental problems and their global and regional causes. The impacts of these problems on different people, cultures, and global society as a whole will be addressed from varying perspectives rooted in different values and worldviews. All course offerings provide a forum for discussion, debate, and critical evaluation. This course satisfies the Liberal Education requirement for an interdisciplinary environmental issues course (Area VII).

Unifying Themes

Six major themes will be explored in a multi-cultural context. We will return to these themes repeatedly throughout the course as a means of providing a more coherent analytic framework.
  • Interconnections of ecological and human systems
  • Transgenerational impacts and issues
  • Value-based foundations for actions and solutions
  • Uncertainty and risk in environmental decision-making
  • Constraints on solutions (perceived and/or real?)
  • Topical focus on student identified concerns and potential solution: students will suggest topics in the first meeting by identifying environmental problems of interest. We will use these suggestions as a guide to selecting particular case studies for more in-depth analysis. Suggested topics would include but not be limited to such things as:
    • population growth and food supply
    • energy production, pollution, and resource depletion
    • toxins in lakes
    • alternative agriculture
    • sustainability
    • global warming
    • environmental justice

Course Objectives

The major purpose of this course is to heighten awareness of current environmental challenges and of the complex interconnections between natural and human systems. Students will integrate various disciplinary perspectives on environmental problems and potential solutions and will employ critical thinking skills in reflecting on values-based and ethical dimensions of environmental decision-making. Students will gain an understanding of biogeochemical processes in the environment and of the social, cultural, and economic influences shaping human impacts on the environment. In light of these impacts, possible changes in these institutions will be considered.

Required Reading

The reading for the large-group meetings will be from the book "Sustaining the Earth: an integrated approach" by G. Tyler Miller. There is also an excellent Interactive Website supporting the text. We expect that students will have read the assigned Chapter prior to the large group meeting. Other reading materials will be assigned in small-group sections. BACK TO THE TOP

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Students are expected to practice the highest standards of ethics, honesty, and integrity in all of their academic work. Any form of academic dishonesty (e.g.,. plagiarism, cheating, misrepresentation) may result in disciplinary action. Possible disciplinary actions include failure for part or all of the course, as well as suspension from the University.


Upon request this document can be made available in alternate formats. Please contact Dann Siems at 755-3984 or Kathi Hagen in the Office for Students with Disabilities at 755-3883 for assistance.