Food & Agriculture
How do we adequately feed more people better food while reducing environment impacts and advancing economic development? This may be the most critical challenge of the 21st Century. Our food system already may be unsustainable, using more land and water and causing more erosion and pollution than anything else we do. Our agricultural production system is intractably intertwined with the major issues of our day: climate, energy, water, biodiversity, poverty, and human health.
Taking a systems perspective, CLiGS is exploring and advancing the strategies and interventions different stakeholders are deploying in global food and agricultural systems. From affecting consumer preference through choice editing and certification systems, to influencing chefs and dietary preferences, to supply chain management strategies that mitigate risk factors, to larger market-scale interventions through regulation and market corrections, to innovations in local and urban food systems, CLiGS is interested in how these practices are coordinated and carried out to affect the sustainability of the global food and agricultural system while promoting public health and economic development.
NR 5194 Environmental Ethics (3 credits)
A critical examination of the ethical dimensions of the embedded social, economic, and cultural constructs that shape both the causes and consequences of environmental problems. There is often a desire to oversimplify both the roots of current environmental crises as well as the possible responses; however, these issues are incredibly complex, in moral as well as in economic, political, and biological terms. This course puts the tension in context by examining diverse challenges, such as: overconsumption, pollution, resource conflicts, carrying capacity, food production, climate change, and environmental disaster through a philosophical lens. A special emphasis on responsibility and accountability will be used as a framework for analysis, asking questions about how to consider future generations, human/non-human relationships, and the impact of particular world-views on our ability to create a sustainable and secure future. Critical questions about implications for justice and equality will be included in the discussion. Finally, the course will assess both mainstream and alternative political methods of addressing environmental issues.
NR 5884 Landscape Systems and Strategies (3 credits)
The cumulative effects of global trends such as increasing population, expanding cities, improving living standards, accelerating climate change, shifting agriculture, and moving coastlines combine with local pressures on individual landscapes. Over the next century, these keystone processes will fundamentally alter landscapes across the globe creating new challenges for productivity, sustainability, resilience, and adaptability. Landscapes are definable frames of human activities and natural systems, ranging from highly altered, such as urban or agricultural lands, to predominately natural, such as wild or resource lands. We rely on landscape organization for essential social and ecosystem services. The imperative for sustainability requires that we develop conservation, development, and governance processes that treat landscapes with a long view. This course looks at the big picture, by examining the challenge of planning large landscapes for both the intermediate and long term. The objective is to construct a vision for unseen, yet sustainable, landscapes.
*Available in Fall, Spring, and Summer I (12 week, on odd-numbered years)
- Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer I (12 weeks)
- Sample Course Syllabus
NR 5884 Climate Change Science (3 credits)
As average global temperatures continue to rise, it is imperative to not only understand the science behind climate change, but also its potential ramifications and impacts. Using scientific research, this course begins by exploring the why, how, and when behind climate change. Contemporary readings will be used to spark discussion and debate surrounding the potential implications of climate change, with topics ranging from natural disasters to human health. The course will culminate in a “Congressional Briefing” students will prepare synthesizing their knowledge of the subject, as well as proposing a political solution.
NR 5884 Climate Change Policy (3 credits)
*NEW* This course focuses on institutional responses to climate change at the international, national and sub-national levels, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and U.S. climate policymaking under the Clean Air Act and state and regional initiatives. Both mitigation and adaptation approaches will be addressed, as well as climate geoengineering.
NR 5884 Food Policy & Sustainability (3 credits)
*NEW* How do politics and policy shape food and agricultural systems from “farm to fork”, including, production, regulation, distribution, sale and consumption? How is food connected to conservation and sustainability? What is the relationship between domestic agricultural systems, foreign policy, and international aid and trade? Why has there been an explosion in local, organic and free trade movements? This course will explore the structure of a globalized food landscape, with a focus on public and private decision‐makers from government and industry to relief and development organizations. We will analyze the economic, ecological, and social dimensions of food and farming policy on contemporary urban and rural issues, such as climate change, land use & livelihoods, biotechnology, national security and political instability, trade and subsidies, and human health.
NR 5884 Sustainability Case Studies (3 credits)
*NEW* Those of us who are passionate about the environment and sustainability issues often think first about solving problems in far corners of the globe. Examining our own neighborhoods, cities, and regions, can provide insights into the challenges of sustainability on a global scale. Each student will investigate the place where s/he lives and use the information gathered to develop a case study illustrating an important aspect of sustainability. This class provides opportunities to: learn from and draw upon insights from the perspectives and experiences of fellow students and to practice creative thinking, writing, and research skills as we analyze their communities’ connection and interaction with natural resource systems, such as water, food and agriculture, climate, and energy.