Water and Sustainability
How Bad Can Our Environmental Situation Be?
Is There Really an Environmental Crisis?
What's the Prognosis For Water?
What's So Special About Water, Anyways?
What are the Local Water Issues?
Reaching the Limits of Water Resources
What Are Our Limits?
What's Our Problem and How Did We Get Here?
What is Our Ethical Status?
What is Sustainability?
How Do We Set a Course for Sustainable Development?
Are Capitalism and Sustainable Development Compatible?
Can We Make Capitalism Sustainable?
Water Footprints and Water Inequities
What are the Watery Consequences of Food?
How Much for Ecosystem Services and What is the Role of Culture in Sustaining Them?
Water Sustainability: What Will it Take?
The primary course objective is to empower students by enhancing their understanding of the vulnerability of aquatic systems to anthropogenic stress and our vulnerability to water resource limitations and ecosystem degradation. This leads us to ask: Are we on an unsustainable course with respect to water and what are the ramifications? Another fundamental objective of the course is to foster a more sophisticated understanding of the challenges inherent in pursuing sustainability as both a water resource management and human enterprise goal. This requires us to ask: What philosophies underlie our actions and how compatible are they with the ideals of sustainability?
Additional specific objectives for student learning and skill development are listed below. By the end of the quarter, each student should be able to:
- Articulate a personal philosophy on sustainability and discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with pursing it.
- Explain how current (or future) water use and management practices threaten ecological integrity, human health, and security.
- Discuss how pursuing different sustainable development ideals can affect our future with regard to water resources, human equity and other social factors.
- Use a journal to enhance the value of course readings and discussions.
In a larger sense, this course serves to help students advance in their pursuit of the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences (IAS) Learning Objectives. Accordingly, it gives them opportunities to make strides in Critical Thinking, Collaboration and Shared Leadership, Writing and Presentation, and Interdisciplinary Research. You can learn more about the Learning Objectives here: http://www.uwb.edu/ias/portfolio/learningobjectives
Some specific course objectives related to the IAS learning objectives are listed below. By the end of the quarter, each student should be able to:
- Demonstrate facility in working with partners in an equitable research collaboration by producing quality work on time in a professional manner.
Articulate how they have improved in their abilities to: tolerate ambiguity in readings and assignments; facilitate intellectual conversations; anticipate and resolve conflict in group situations; and take advantage of diverse skills
and perspectives in group work.
- Document how they have improved in their abilities to: compare, synthesize, and assess multiple perspectives; and present, support, and evaluate positions and conclusions (their own and those of others) in their writing.
- Document how they have developed in their capacity to conduct research as characterized in the IAS Assessment Rubric for interdisciplinary research.
Three provocative readings (or videos) are required before every class.
Each student takes part in a debate meant to highlight the controversial nature of sustainability ideals and proposals. There are two reflective essay assignments and a small group research project.
A detailed overview of the debate assignment and its value is included in the following attachment titled: Using Debates to Engage Students in Sustainability Controversies and Conundrums
Using Debates to Engage Students in Sustainability Controversies and Conundrums (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 30kB Apr11 12)
Students are assessed via the following evaluation instruments:
- Three homework assignments
- One reading journal Entry
- Two reflective essays
- One debate performance
- A midterm exam comprised of short essay questions
- A final exam comprised of short essay questions
- Two progress reports on a small group research/term project
- A final report on a small group researc/term project
- Participation for class discussions, debate effort, and group project effort