Middlebury

Middlebury School of the Environment

Courses

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

SENV 3410 - Sustainability Practicum      

One of the most important unifying yet contested principles in environmental studies is that of “sustainability.” In this course we will explore – through reading, discussion, and direct engagement – this principle, as well as aspects of its constituent parts, including energy, food production, land management, and environmental justice. Using a case study approach to analyzing selected sustainability initiatives in the local area, students will explore—and eventually practice—the process of developing and managing a sustainability-related project that addresses a current need. This class will involve team-based research projects focused on identifying and analyzing solutions to real sustainability challenges confronted by government, business, or individuals. The course will emphasize training in critical leadership skills, including project management, team building and team leading, persuasive communication, networking, fundraising, conflict resolution, understanding diverse communication styles, human-centered design, and emotional intelligence.

Required Text:

McKibben, Bill. Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, Times Books, 2010.

Ehrenfeld, John and Hoffman, Andrew. Flourishing: A Frank Conversation about Sustainability, Stanford Business Books, 2013.

Kelley, Tom and Kelley, David. Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All, Crown Business, 2013.

Worldwatch Institute. State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible?, Island Press, 2013.

Ghosh, Amitav. The Hungry Tide: A Novel, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2005.

Summer 2014 Sch of Environment

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SENV 3420 - Understanding Place      

Understanding Place: Lake Champlain

Manifesting solutions to environmental challenges requires a deep understanding of "place," by which we mean a sense of the history, culture, economy, and ecology of a location. Facing environmental challenges cannot be divorced from understanding either the people or the ecological realities of the location where the challenge is situated or from where the solution is to emerge. This is true everywhere, but it is best learned through a focus on a single place. For this year, our place of study is Lake Champlain and its associated watershed. Lake Champlain is a large (440 square mile) freshwater lake that borders Vermont, New York, and Quebec. Like virtually all lakes in the world, it is confronted by a range of pressing environmental challenges such as declining water quality from land-use practices in the watershed, invasive species, and competing demands for uses, sustainable management of recreational fisheries. As such, it provides a lens with which to explore the ways in which the integration of many different disciplines—ranging across the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities—can lead to a better understanding of the solutions to multiple environmental challenges. Through an exploration of both cultural and ecological narratives, we will come to understand how the lake came to be in the condition it is today and how to improve conditions for both its own waters and the human communities associated with it. This course will use the R/V David Folger (the College’s research vessel), GIS technology, and interviews with numerous people involved in the management of the lake and occupancy of the watershed in both the U.S. and Canada.

Required Text:

Winslow, Mike. Lake Champlain: A Natural History, Lake Champlain Committee, 2008.

Summer 2014 Sch of Environment

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SENV 3451 - International Env Negotiation      

International Environmental Negotiation

This course will introduce students to the exciting world of negotiations that address environmental issues that cross international borders. Negotiated agreements are the primary approach to managing complex, transboundary environmental issues and are becoming increasingly important as countries, intergovernmental organizations and non-state actors engage with and craft policies to address issues as far-ranging as climate change, land use change, wildlife conservation, food insecurity, water management and marine pollution. There is still a lot of work to be done! Some of these negotiations are ongoing, while other treaties have been concluded and are being renegotiated. This course will integrate general concepts and cases related to negotiation and the crafting of international agreements with negotiation simulations designed to help students develop their own negotiating skills. Students will learn about addressing issues particular to environmental negotiations, such as scientific complexity and uncertainty, as well as issues common to all multiparty negotiations, including different sources of power and coalition dynamics.

Required Text:

Susskind, Lawrence E., Environmental Diplomacy: Negotiating More Effective Global Agreements, Oxford University Press, 1994.

Summer 2014 Sch of Environment

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SENV 3452 - Environmentalism & the Poor      

Environmentalism and the Poor

Environmentalism used to be understood as the privilege of affluent “first worlders,” an exercise in protecting nature from those too uncivilized or too ignorant to care for it by themselves. But this is no longer the case. In the past several decades, environmentalists — and environmental historians who study the history of human-nature relationships—have begun to acknowledge and account for the diverse “environmentalisms” that are practiced by both “first worlders” and “third worlders,” by both rich and poor, by both workers and capitalists, between the global north and the global south as well as within small-town communities, villages, and cities across the world. That class is one of the key determinants in how different people experience and care for the environment is gaining acceptance among social scientists and is inspiring exciting new research in the field of environmental history. This course will explore the relationships among environmentalism, class, and power in human history, as well as the consequences of these relationships for poor and working class peoples. A class-conscious history of globalization—in which “globalization” is understood as the rise of a globally interwoven capitalist economy over the past two centuries—reveals the various ways in which “environmentalism” has served the powerful while impacting the less powerful. At the same time, we will examine the resistance strategies of working class peoples the world over, to see how environments can be reclaimed by and for the poor. We will work collectively in this class towards developing a “poor people's environmentalism”: a blueprint for thinking about global nature and the responsibilities of the powerful and privileged in alleviating poverty and supporting poor people's rights to, and in, the environment.

Required Text:

Guha, Ramachandra. Environmentalism: A Global History, Longman, 1999.

Davis, Mike. Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World, Verso, 2002.

Summer 2014 Sch of Environment

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