Conservation of the Environment

Dr. Garry Running

Course Description

In Geography 178 we learn together about issues related to human-environmental interaction, a major theme in geography as an academic discipline. Together we will explore environmental geography, biogeography (environmental biology), and how these and related disciplines converge with respect to conservation and management of natural resources. Decisions and actions related to conservation have significant consequences for the well-being of life on Earth. All human decisions, even deciding to do nothing, come with an environmental price tag. By necessity, our decisions and actions are more often than not made in the face of scientific uncertainty, and with imperfect information about those price tags and consequences (a bewildering array of: ignorance, disinformation, baloney, half-truths, blatantly false or misleading statements coming from ideologically-based bias, political spin, or self-serving commercial entities; media hype, sensationalism, or indifference). In this course, you will be introduced to the scientific knowledge that exists about a variety of environmental issues and then learn to critically evaluate the threats to our environment and to formulate educated (read: scientific evidence-based) responses and actions for the Earth’s sustainability. This course is rigorous. This course is reading and writing intensive. We won’t spend our 15 weeks together hugging trees, chomping granola, or complaining that there aren’t enough bicycle paths. Each week we will meet for two lectures and one discussion period. Discussion periods provide us with a chance to meet in small group so that we can delve more deeply and personally into assigned readings or activities, current news, and lecture topics. Discussions provide us the time to explore and develop our personal understanding of environmental issues to a depth not easily attained in a larger lecture setting. FYI, Discussions are NOT GEII labs but an extension of lecture (My Blugold calls them labs by default).