This class will explore the relationship between humans and the natural environment. Through a better understanding of ourselves, and a study of how individuals and communities relate and interact with the social, natural, and modern worlds, we will see the environment and the world around us from myriad perspectives. Throughout, a strong focus will be put on sustainable design, ideas, and implementation. The trajectory of this course will follow ever-enlarging concentric circles, starting from the sub-physical philosophical, to the chemical and biological intricacies of life, leading into the idea of the self. Following that, we expand to the immediate surroundings, in this case, Woolman campus. After delving into social dynamics of the immediate community, local flora and fauna, and geology, we extend to the Yuba River Watershed and study the political and natural forces at play. At the global scale we learn about the possible futures for what humans tend to think of as ‘our’ planet. The course finishes at the galactic and universal scales, finally coming back to the key questions of life.
Students will undertake small group research projects during each unit and present to their fellow classmates at the end of each unit. In addition to Unit Projects, there will be overarching Sustainability Projects, designed to foster connection to the land, Woolman community, and teach sustainable designs.
This class will have a lot of discussion. I encourage and expect students to disagree, interrupt (politely), and bring alternative ideas/readings to class.
- Apply principles of ecology, psychology, and economics to the investigation of environmental issues
Assemble scientific information to support your ideas and communicate your ideas to a wider general audience
Develop naturalist knowledge and increase awareness of nature through activities, direct observation, and questioning
Understand the implications of your own actions for society and the environment at large
Forge a strong relationship with the land through personal experiences in nature
Develop critical thinking skills to engage as environmentally literate citizens
Learn to transfer experiences and abilities anywhere in the world