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Fall 2021 Sustainability Courses

During Fall 2021, there are sustainability courses being offered in many different subjects, from geography to management. Explore how sustainability plays a role in changing environmental systems, ethics, tourism, and more. Below you will find information on each course, please contact the individual departments if you have questions about the curriculum.

If you are a professor teaching a course involving sustainability this semester and do not see it listed here, please fill out this form so your course can be added to the list.

AMST 381/THTR 249: Public Transportation in the Time of Two Pandemics: A Documentary Project

Laura Browder and Patricia Herrera

This class will be centered around creating an exhibition and staged reading performance for the Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) headquarters as well as a digital exhibition and archive that will be accessible to scholars and community members. We will be partnering with bus drivers and mechanics to create an exhibition that will spotlight the impact of COVID and BLM on the GRTC, since during this past summer’s protests a GRTC bus was torched, and a GRTC driver recently died of COVID.

BIOL 199/ENVR 199: Biodiversity & Conservation

Peter Smallwood

Is the current six mass global extinction event a natural phenomenon or human induced? Biodiversity is the diversity of genes, species and ecosystems, and conserving these resources is a growing challenge with a myriad of threats ranging from increasing demands for natural resources to climate change. This course will explore the importance of biodiversity, how biodiversity of studied, and the ecological and evolutionary foundations of the science of conservation biology. We will study biodiversity and conservation in a local and global context, and consider the role of science in decision making.

Includes a lab section. 

BIOL 199/ENVR 199: Biological Invasions

Carrie Wu 

Humans act as the greatest vehicle for species to move from one location to another.  Why do some organisms that are normally benign suddenly become noxious pests or do direct harm to humans when introduced into a new environment?  We will explore how scientists use approaches from diverse biological disciplines (i.e. genetics, ecology, evolutionary biology, physiology) to study invasions in biology both at the ecosystem and the microbiological levels.  We will develop research projects to explore the population dynamics, spatial distributions, and molecular mechanisms of invasions, in part based on an overnight field trip.  This course provides a timely opportunity for students to examine the origins and consequences of invasions in biology, while gaining first-hand experience with how scientists ask and answer questions through both observation and experimentation.

Includes a lab section.

BIOL 199/ENVR 199: CoastalĀ Marine Ecology

Emily Boone

The ocean covers more than 70% of our planet's surface and contains 97% of the Earth's water. Coastal ecosystems provide a number of valuable ecosystem services on which humans depend for food, recreation, transportation and economic activities and yet, our use of these resources is increasingly threatening these fragile habitats. In this class we will examine the interactions between organisms and their environment exploring the physiological and behavioral adaptations that allow species to persist in this unique ecosystem and consider the new challenges that climate change will bring. Students will gain experience asking and answering questions through observation and experimentation in both the lab and on field trips to the coast. Students will learn how to interpret and communicate data to a variety of audiences. As a service learning class we will have the opportunity to work with regional conservation agencies as well as fifth graders at a local elementary school. This course is cross-listed as ENVR199. This course fulfills the life science requirement for the Environmental Studies major or minor.

BIOL 199: Mesoamerican Ethnobotany

John Hayden

This course is about plants that are important to the people of Mesoamerica, both past and present, as a platform for consideration of: 1) the nature of the scientific process; 2) the myriad connections among scientific disciplines and human culture; 3) sustainability of human life; and 4) basic elements of botanical science.

Includes a lab section. 

BIOL 202: Integrated Biological Principles II

Jory Brinkerhoff, Jennifer Sevin 

Includes a lab section. 

BUAD 394: Business Ethics

Andrew Alwood

Identify ethical issues encountered in business settings and examine specific moral questions that arise vis-à-vis a firm's relation to society and to its employees. Current cases to illustrate the practical importance of reflection on these questions, and enable explicit identification, critical evaluation, and application to various frameworks for attributing moral responsibility and making ethical decisions. Cases may be drawn from marketing (manipulation of desire in the market, deceptive advertising), management (sweatshops, discrimination in hiring, privacy), finance (insider trading, corruption), accounting (conflicts of interest, fraud), or economics (asymmetric information, moral hazard).

CHEM 110/ENVR 110: Pollutants in the Environment

Samuel Abrash, Jeffery Simpson 

Sources, behavior, and effects of chemical pollutants in the air, water, and soil. Topics include global warming, ozone depletion, acid rain, pesticides, and radioactive waste. Three lecture and three laboratory hours per week. Does not count toward the chemistry major or minor. 

CLSC 220: Introduction to Archaeology

Elizabeth Baughan

Throughout the semester we will be encountering evidence for how past humans affected their environment and how environmental changes have affected human societies, and in the last week of class we synthesize that evidence to focus on the archaeology of sustainability and to consider lessons that can be drawn from past (both failures and successes of sustainability).

ECON 211: Economic Development in Asia, Africa, and Latin America

Jonathon Wight 

Comparative analysis of economic growth, income and wealth distribution, trade and finance, population, agriculture, and industrialization in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

ECON 230: Environmental Economics

Binish Rijal 

Development and application of economic principles to understand and evaluate causes and solutions to environmental problems such as pollution and conservation. Topics include economics of biodiversity protection, climate change, natural resource damage assessment, measurement of environmental values, and alternative strategies for pollution control. 

ECON 310: International Trade: Causes, Consequences, and Controversies

Maia Linask

Through both theoretical and empirical approaches, students will study international trade in goods and services and develop a framework for analysis of trade policy issues. Major themes include the causes and patterns of trade, the gains from trade and their distribution, the consequences of trade policies such as tariffs and voluntary export restraints, and the institutions of the world trading system including regional trade agreements. The course also considers many of the current issues related to trade such as dumping, trade-related intellectual property rights, trade and the environment, and the decisions of multinational firms. Economics 270 is recommended, but not required, before you take this course.

ENVR 201: Introduction to Sustainability

Emily Boone 

Overview of contemporary sustainability issues, including systems thinking, justice, integration, acting for positive change, and sustainability knowledge (species extinction, resource depletion, pollution, and climate change among others). Students examine challenges and opportunities of pursuing sustainable behavior in a changing world.

ENVR 280: Weather, Climate, and Society

Stephanie Spera

ENVR 322: Global Impact of Climate Change

David Kitchen 

Investigation of the global environmental impact of anthropogenic climate change, exploration of the science that explains the observations, and search for solutions that offset the impact of change on poor, marginalized, and at-risk communities around the world. 

ENVR 360: Environmental Remote Sensing

Stephanie Spera

Concepts of image acquisition, image interpretation, and satellite remote sensing. Includes electromagnetic spectrum concepts, acquisition of image data, visual characteristics of vegetation and landforms, image interpretation, classification and transformation, and integration of remotely sensed imagery into other spatial analysis systems. Student research projects.

ENVR 362/PLSC 362: Environmental Law & Policy

Chris Miller

The course addresses how environmental problems entered the public sphere; the range of government actors and institutions involved in environmental issues; the variety of policy tools they have available to work with; and the prospects that lie ahead. Along the way we examine the interactions of Congress, federal agencies, the states, and the courts, assessing how they regulate public and private activity, how they allocate scarce resources, and how they weigh the interests of future generations. By the end of the course, students will acquire an understanding of the political, economic, and legal background of these problems, and the complexities policymakers encounter when crafting and implementing environmental laws.

GEOG 210: Planet Earth: People and Place

Mary Finley-Brook

Introduction to geographic approaches to study of cultural, societal, economic, political, and environmental change. Topics include: spatial analysis techniques and theories; population distributions and migration; cultural geographies; global economic development and its distribution; urbanization; political geography; and human-environment relations.

Same as Global Studies 210.

GEOG 250: Planet Earth: Wind, Water, and Fire

Todd Lookingbill

Basic concepts of earth systems science and physical geography. Includes earth-sun relationships, weather and climate, environmental hydrology, landforms and geomorphology, climate change, and human-environment interactions.

Same as Environmental Studies 250.

GEOG 320: Power, Space, and Territory

Mary Finley-Brook

Analyses of and explorations into the spatial dimensions and geographic characteristics of global, regional, and local political change; and the political economy and ecology of globalization. Topics include: imperialism; world systems theory; nationalism; regionalism; electoral geography; race, class and gender; political economy of trade and foreign aid; and political ecology. 

HS 100: Introduction to Health Care Studies

Rick Mayes

This course is designed to provide an introductory overview of: (1) how health care is financed, organized, and delivered both in the U.S. and in other countries; (2) public health, health administration, health services and bioethics; and (3) major health policy areas and issues from epidemiology to health insurance, Medicare & Medicaid, geriatrics, pediatrics, doctors, nurses, hospitals, mental health, women’s health, global health, obesity, nutrition, pharmaceuticals, death and more. In drawing from a variety of perspectives, the course surveys the key stakeholders: those who pay for, provide and receive care.

LDST 306: Sex, Leadership, and the Evolution of Human Societies

Christopher von Rueden 

In this course, we will study how biological and cultural evolution broadly shaped human societies. Through theory and case studies drawn from primatology, cultural anthropology, psychology, and other disciplines, students will investigate why leadership and political organization vary across human and non-human societies. Some of the specific questions we consider include: Why do animals adopt leader and follower roles at all? What is the political organization of other social animals, particularly other great apes? How does reproductive biology influence political organization? Are there any human societies that lack leadership? Are there societies in which, on average, women wield more power than men? Why are some human societies more hierarchical than others? The goal of the course is not only to expose students to the diversity of political organization in humans and other animals but also to stimulate them to think critically about the ultimate causes of human social behavior in general.

PHIL 365: Bioethics

Karin Boxer 

A survey of prevalent topics in recent bioethics, the study of ethical discussions surrounding the sciences of biology and medicine. Works to improve ability to think critically and to argue from the standpoint of a certain moral theory in the ethical evaluation of problems concerning the human body, health care, doctor-patient relationship, life and death, food, and animals.