Society and the natural environment are vitally linked in a number of ways. In this course, students will explore these connections at various levels from the local to the global, but with a focus on the students’ lives and local communities as important case studies. This course focuses on the social causes of environmental problems, the social consequences of environmental degradation, and social responses to environmental issues. The course is designed to provide students with the sociological tools and hands-on experiences that will help them gain a better understanding of local and global earth systems related to food, energy transportation housing, waste, and water, as well as the qualities of ecological integrity, social and racial justice, resilient communities, and economic well-being.
- Explain the value of a social ecological perspective and the new and different ways of looking at familiar worlds.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the role institutions and human actions play in shaping relationships with the non-human environment.
- Explain the importance of key environmental sociology concepts and terms to develop and understanding of social/environmental issues, defining the importance of place and community, sustainability, consumption and production, externalities, social construction of nature, and environmental justice.
- Evaluate the importance of the social structure (society’s framework) and social interaction (face-to-face/personal space) in defining the nature of the human experience and the relationship to the natural world.
- Demonstrate understanding of the significance of the sweeping changes in society and the environment brought about by the social evolutionary process of technology, capitalism, globalization, and other catalysts.