Global Environmental Challenges
Course Syllabus: Winter 2014
Instructor: Professor Eric Crighton Office Hours: Tue 12:30 to 2:30
Simard Hall Room 06 OR by appointment
email: [email protected]
Teaching Assistants: see Blackboard course page for names and contact info
Lecture Times: Tuesdays, 10:00 to 11:30; Thursdays, 8:30 to 10:00
Location: Lamoureux Hall (LMX) Room 122
The principal objective of this course is to introduce students to a range of environmental concepts and
issues as they pertain to global (and local) environmental challenges, and to begin to unravel some of the
complex relationships between the environment and human activity. Major topics that will be covered
include environmental sustainability, ecology, human population growth, renewable and non‐renewable
resources, food production and security, environmental health and livable cities. These and other topics will
be examined using current Canadian and international case studies. While the physical science behind these
environmental issues will be explored, the course will adopt a primarily social science perspective.
The course will follow a lecture style format, however, questions and discussions will always be encouraged.
Required Course Readings:
Withgott J, Brennan S, Murck B. (2013). Environment: The Science Behind the Stories: 2 Canadian Edition.
Toronto: Pearson Canada. ISBN: 978‐0‐321‐73936‐0
This textbook (new and used) is available at Benjamin Books, 122 Osgoode Street (Tel: 232‐7495) just a few
steps from campus. It is also available through on‐line booksellers. I have not requested the uOttawa
bookstore to stock it. Note: the First edition may be available used elsewhere. The book is pretty much the
same. Use the first edition if you can find it.
Students are also recommended to purchase the following guide to research and writing, which can be
ordered new or used through on‐line booksellers or Benjamin Books:
Northey M, Knight DB, Draper D. (2012) Making Sense in Geography & Environmental Science: A
student’s guide to research and writing. New York: Oxford University Press.
Lectures require the involvement of students, and you are expected to have read the assigned chapter(s)
before class. I will not simply repeat material from the readings in my lectures. You will be responsible for all
assigned reading materials, unless specified otherwise, even if it is not mentioned specifically in a lecture.
While PowerPoint slides will be used to guide lectures, these slides will provide the major points but NOT the
details. You will be tested on the details! Slides will available to students on Blackboard before the class.
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Course Assessment and Important Due Dates:
Value Due Date
Mid‐term test 20% Tuesday Feb 11 (in class)
Assignment 1 (Background report + data) 10% Thursday Feb 13 by 11:59 pm
Assignment 2 (Survey Report) 35% Monday March 17 11:59 pm
Final Exam 35% Exam Period (date/time TBD)
*Detailed information on each of the assignments will be provided in class.
The assignments are closely related and will involve doing background research on a selected environmental
theme (themes to be provided in class), collecting primary data on that theme, analyzing the data and
writing a final report. A series of questionnaires have been developed for each environmental theme, and
each student will administer the questionnaire to a small number of students/professors/other employees
to determine their views and practices relating to it. Data from each student will be submitted and pooled
together to ensure a large sample and meaningful results. This project will be discussed in detail on January
21 ….don’t miss it!
All assignments (and exams) can be written in either French or English. A specific referencing style must be
used (more on this in class). Clear, concise, persuasive, and grammatically correct writing is expected, and
will affect the grade a paper receives.
This project is being conducted in collaboration with Jonathan Rausseo from the Sustainable Development
Office on campus (http://www.sustainable.uottawa.ca). Your participation in this class will automatically
enroll you in the Community Service Learning Program (http://www.els‐sae.uottawa.ca/els/students/csl‐in‐
course.php) and this assignment will be counted as volunteer hours that will appear on a formal transcript if
requested. If you have questions or would like more information about this service, please visit the website.
For students registered in the Environmental Studies Program, you are required to accumulate related
volunteer hours to graduate – this project will get you started. For others, it is great experience and it will
look good on your CV.
A paperless course:
This course has moved to a paperless format (for assignments and the syllabus at least). All assignments will
be submitted electronically. A demonstration of how to do this will be given in class.