ES 101  Introduction to Environmental Studies


Mark Lytle





Wed  Fri    9:00 – 10:20 am  OLIN 307




Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary program concerned with the relationships between human communities and the natural environment.  As population growth and technological change intensify human impacts on the  environment, our long-term prospects for justice, peace and prosperity depend increasingly on how we manage and share what nature provides.  In this course, we address specific environmental problems from multiple perspectives, asking how the conceptual frameworks, research methods, and findings of scholars in diverse fields may contribute to solutions. Occasional guest speakers and widely varied readings provide the foundation for class discussion, lectures, student presentations and writing assignments.  A core course required for moderation into the Environmental Studies Program, ES 101 is taught in rotation by members of the program faculty. Instructors select the specific research problems to be addressed.  In 2005, our central theme is water.  Human societies – and many non-human species – depend on fresh water.  Access to fresh water is often imperiled by pollution and overuse, denied to many who cannot afford it, and contested among communities and nations.  These conflicts are manifest, for instance, in the construction of large dams that displace communities and destroy ecosystems; in corporate investments in a “privatized” fresh water industry; and in the threat of “water wars” fought over this most vital resource.  We will draw case studies from the Middle East, India, and the US Southwest.