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Essential Objectives

Course Syllabus

Revision Date: 19-Nov-23

Current Environmental Issues

Semester Dates: Last day to drop without a grade: 02-11-2024 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 03-24-2024 - Refund Policy
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Course Description

This course investigates the science that underpins environmental issues. It also analyzes these issues from a variety of different perspectives, including the legal, ethical, political, sociological, and economic considerations that combine to shape our understanding of environmental issues and their possible solutions.

Essential Objectives

1. Examine the scientific research behind environmental issues.
2. Investigate environmental and natural resource management issues on the regional, national, and global scale as they relate to forestry, mining, wildlife, and recreation.
3. Examine the relationship between the scientific study of environmental issues and the creation and enforcement of environmental policy and regulation.
4. Examine the division of jurisdiction and environmental management responsibility between federal, state, and local government.
5. Discuss current environmental issues from the lens of sociocultural perspectives, ethical influences, and racial disparities.
6. Analyze how politics and economics influence the ways that environmental problems develop and how we respond to environmental issues.
7. Analyze the accuracy with which environmental issues are reported in a variety of sources and discuss why widely different perspectives on the same environmental issues are reported.
8. Discuss the origins of national environmental laws and evaluate the processes that create international treaties (including The Clean Air and Water Acts, NEPA, Endangered Species Act, The Paris Accord, and The Kyoto and Montreal Protocols).
9. Demonstrate proficiency in understanding, interpreting, applying, and evaluating the accuracy of data and information sources, and extrapolating quantitative data.
10. Explain how knowledge created in the natural sciences has contributed to the creation, maintenance and dismantling of social inequalities and discuss the impacts of diversity and inclusion on scientific research and practice.

Required Technology

More information on general computer and internet recommendations is available on the CCV IT Support page. https://support.ccv.edu/general/computer-recommendations/

Please see CCV's Digital Equity Statement (pg. 45) to learn more about CCV's commitment to supporting all students access the technology they need to successfully finish their courses.

Required Textbooks and Resources

This course uses one or more textbooks/books/simulations.

Spring 2024 textbook details will be available on 2023-11-06. On that date a link will be available below that will take you to eCampus, CCV's bookstore. The information provided there will be specific to this class. Please see this page for more information regarding the purchase of textbooks/books.

The last day to use a Financial Aid Advance to purchase textbooks/books is the 3rd Tuesday of the semester. See your financial aid counselor at your academic center if you have any questions.


A Typical Week in this Class

Each week I will post a Weekly Overview that lays out the objectives, assignments, resources, and expectations for the week. I will also include any "upcoming important dates" to be aware of. Students should begin each week by reading the Weekly Overview. In general, each week you should expect to do the following:

  • Read 100-150 pages in one of the books.

  • Read articles, watch videos, or use interactive modules posted to the Weekly Overview.

  • Participate in the class discussion (please read discussion rubric carefully).

  • Attend Zoom office hours (Date and time TBD) or by appointment (optional)!

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria

Discussions 40%

Short Research/Response Assignments (4) 30%

Final Project 30%

Discussion Participation

Each week students are assessed on their participation in the discussion forum. Due to the lack of traditional assignments (quizzes, labs, etc.) these discussion forums are where you demonstrate your learning and represent 40% of the overall grade. Posts should be thoughtfully composed, reference the resources for the week, cite as needed, include a bibliography, and be carefully proofread. The first three weeks I will complete a rubric for each student and provide specific feedback regarding progress. After the third week I will only enter these grades (with minimal written feedback) in the Canvas gradebook. As with anything, please contact me if you have questions or concerns regarding your progress. Please see the Discussion Rubric to see how students will be assessed.

Short Research/Response Assignments

In this class there will be four short research assignments. I have not done group assignments online before but would like to make one of these a group/collaboration assignment. Each of these assignments will address one of our four overarching themes (water, waste, climate change, and food systems).

Final Project

Students will complete a final project for the course that will be based on environmental justice for marginalized populations. Specifically, the topics in one of our choice books. More information on the final project will be provided in March.

Grading Criteria

CCV Letter Grades as outlined in the Evaluation System Policy are assigned according to the following chart:

A Less than 9893
A-Less than 9390
B+Less than 9088
B Less than 8883
B-Less than 8380
C+Less than 8078
C Less than 7873
C-Less than 7370
D+Less than 7068
D Less than 6863
D-Less than 6360
FLess than 60 
NPLess than 600

Weekly Schedule

Week/ModuleTopic  Readings  Assignments


Research and Real Science


Available online







Where the Water Goes and other Online readings







Where the Water Goes and Online resources


Discussion and assignment proposal





Where the Water Goes and other online resources


Discussion and work on Assignment 1





The Omnivore's Dilemma and online resources


Discussion and Assignment 1 due





The Omnivore's Dilemma and Online Resources


Discussion and Assignment proposal 2



Energy and Climate


The Climate Book and other online resources


Discussion and Short Assignment 2 (about Food topic)



Energy and Climate


Hot, Flat, and Crowded and other online resources


Discussion and Introduce Group Assignment



Energy and Climate


Hot, Flat, and Crowded and other online resources


Discussion and Group Assignment



Pollution (Plastic)


Plastic Free and other online resources


Discussion and Final Project Stage 1



Pollution (Plastic)


Plastic-Free and other online resources


Discussion and Final Project Stage 2



Environmental Justice and Marginalized Populations - Final Project Work Week


Optional Book of Choice and Online Resources


Final Project


Attendance Policy

Regular attendance and participation in classes are essential for success in and are completion requirements for courses at CCV. A student's failure to meet attendance requirements as specified in course descriptions will normally result in a non-satisfactory grade.

  • In general, missing more than 20% of a course due to absences, lateness or early departures may jeopardize a student's ability to earn a satisfactory final grade.
  • Attending an on-ground or synchronous course means a student appeared in the live classroom for at least a meaningful portion of a given class meeting. Attending an online course means a student posted a discussion forum response, completed a quiz or attempted some other academically required activity. Simply viewing a course item or module does not count as attendance.
  • Meeting the minimum attendance requirement for a course does not mean a student has satisfied the academic requirements for participation, which require students to go above and beyond simply attending a portion of the class. Faculty members will individually determine what constitutes participation in each course they teach and explain in their course descriptions how participation factors into a student's final grade.

Participation Expectations

In this course discussion forums are a critical component of assessment and participation. In the absence of real-time, in-person interaction, I rely on discussion forums to gauge student understanding of and engagement with the content. The expectation is that students will engage in the discussion forum three times each week; one initial post and two substantive interactions with classmate posts. The discussion rubric provides specific expectations around this assignment type.

Missing & Late Work Policy

Late work is not accepted in this course. However, every student gets a one-time "life happens" consideration for which, under extenuating circumstances, they may be granted an extension with prior permission.

Accessibility Services for Students with Disabilities:

CCV strives to mitigate barriers to course access for students with documented disabilities. To request accommodations, please
  1. Provide disability documentation to the Accessibility Coordinator at your academic center. https://ccv.edu/discover-resources/students-with-disabilities/
  2. Request an appointment to meet with accessibility coordinator to discuss your request and create an accommodation plan.
  3. Once created, students will share the accommodation plan with faculty. Please note, faculty cannot make disability accommodations outside of this process.

Academic Integrity

CCV has a commitment to honesty and excellence in academic work and expects the same from all students. Academic dishonesty, or cheating, can occur whenever you present -as your own work- something that you did not do. You can also be guilty of cheating if you help someone else cheat. Being unaware of what constitutes academic dishonesty (such as knowing what plagiarism is) does not absolve a student of the responsibility to be honest in his/her academic work. Academic dishonesty is taken very seriously and may lead to dismissal from the College.