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Environmental Science (BIOL 1136)

Total Credits: 3
Lecture Credits: 3

Description: This course is a topical examination of issues related to the increasing human impact on, and exploitation of, the biosphere, focusing on Earth’s ecological systems, resource and energy use and pollution. This course has an optional lab (BIOL 1136). Completion of both BIOL 1136 and BIOL 1137 are required count towards MnTC Goal Area 3.

Topical Outline:
1. The history of humans' relationships with nature, including past and present impacts of human populations on the Earth
2. The Earth as an ecological system using basic principles of the Natural Sciences including Chemistry, Physics, Geology, and Biology (especially Ecology, with emphasis on ecosystems, biodiversity, biological productivity, energy and nutrient flow)
3. The Scientific Method and its applications to Environmental Science
4. An inventory of Earth's living systems, including aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, their associated resources and ecosystem services, and conservation/management options (e.g. Forest Ecology, conserving and managing life in the ocean)
5. Basics of human resource use including energy use (fossil fuels, nuclear energy, sustainable energy resources), water use, agriculture, forest resources, and associated impacts, such as pollution (air, water, soil) and loss of biodiversity
6. Sustainable solutions and actions focused on human relationships with nature, ecological economics, and conservation biology

Learning Outcomes:
1. Understand and describe the basic ecological processes occurring in nature and Earth's diverse ecological systems
2. Describe and evaluate how humans' uses of resources lead to disruption of natural processes and pollution of air, water, and soil
3. Develop an appreciation for the complex interrelationships among ecological, economic, cultural, and political factors that are a part of both environmental problems and solutions
4. Explain how public policy related to environmental issues is developed
5. Identify actions that individuals can take to apply current ecological research and understanding to their lives

Prerequisites:  Placement into READ 1300 or completion of READ 0200 or ESOL 0052

  • Goal 3: Natural Sciences
  • Goal 10: People and the Environment