Environmental Studies Program

Courses of Study

ES118s    Environment and Society An interdisciplinary study of human relationships with and impacts on the environment. Examination of important local, national, and global environmental issues by exploring causes and methods for investigating these pressing problems, as well as possible solutions, from scientific and public-policy perspectives. Students explore important literature and ideas in the field to complement the lectures; conduct an original, semester-long, group research project; and complete several writing assignments. Four credit hours. Bruesewitz, Sullivan, Walker
[ES122]    Environmental Impacts of Pandemics on Human and Natural Systems Investigates the environmental impacts of pandemics, on scales ranging from the personal to global, and will place students{ personal experiences with the recent coronoavirus crisis into a larger perspective. This recent crisis has affected the entire planet, precipitating changes in mobility, resource use, and government, with lasting impacts on human and natural environments for decades to come. Changes in fossil fuel use, personal consumption of manufactured goods, the structure of government, and social integration across groups and nations could change the way we live across the planet, with significant lasting impacts on the environment. This course will investigate the scope of those changes. Three credit hours.
[ES126]    Environmental Activism An introduction to the history, theory, and practice of environmental activism, incorporating both global and local perspectives. We focus on individual activists, grassroots groups, indigenous people, and large environmental organizations, analyze their motivations, strategies, and experiences, and determine how their actions have sparked effective social, political, and environmental change. We explore the social phenomena that underlay environmental activism, taking an interdisciplinary approach that encompasses history, environmental justice, social movement theory, political theory, public policy, and communications. We make significant use of primary source narratives by activists and communities on the front-lines of environmental struggles. We will place particular emphasis on climate and energy activism. Energy/Exhaustion humanities theme course. Prerequisite: First-year standing. Four credit hours. S.
[ES143]    Sustainable and Socially Responsible Business Provides a broad overview of sustainable and socially responsible business principles and the ways in which companies incorporate them. Also introduces sustainable and socially responsible investment strategies and reviews their potential impact and effectiveness. Through a series of readings, lectures, guest speakers, and real-world case studies, students are exposed to the issues and opportunities facing green businesses. Includes small-group and individual presentations. Three credit hours.
[ES151]    Landscapes and Meaning: An Exploration of Environmental Writing An exploration of the works of selected 20th-century environmental writers and how their life experiences contribute to a sense of connection with and action on behalf of the Earth. Through readings, film, writing assignments, group discussion, and journaling, students will develop critical thinking and communication skills while reflecting on their own personal relationship with nature. Three credit hours. L.
[ES211]    Taxonomy of Flowering Plants Listed as Biology 211. Four credit hours.
[ES212]    Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing A comprehensive theoretical and practical introduction to the fundamental principles of geographic information systems and remote sensing digital image processing. Topics include data sources and models, map scales and projections, spatial analysis, elementary satellite image interpretation and manipulation, and global positioning systems. Current issues and applications of GIS, with emphasis on environmental topics. Students develop and carry out independent projects using GIS. Prerequisite: Sophomore or higher standing. Not open to students who have completed Environmental Studies 214 or 214J. Four credit hours.
ES214f    Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis An introduction to geographic information systems' (GIS) data management and visualization capabilities as well as the theory and application of spatial analysis techniques. Topics covered include spatial data representation in a GIS, effective map making, coordinate systems and projections, exploratory spatial data analysis (ESDA), and spatial statistical analysis. Prerequisite: Sophomore or higher standing. Not open to students who have completed Environmental Studies 212 or 214J. Four credit hours. Gimond
ES214Jj    Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis An introduction to geographic information systems' (GIS) data management and visualization capabilities as well as the theory and application of spatial analysis techniques. Topics covered include spatial data representation in a GIS, effective map making, coordinate systems and projections, exploratory spatial data analysis (ESDA), and spatial statistical analysis. Prerequisite: Sophomore or higher standing. Not open to students who have completed Environmental Studies 212 or 214. Three credit hours. Gimond
[ES215]    Weather, Climate, and Society Listed as Science, Technology, and Society 215. Four credit hours. N.
[ES216]    Philosophy of Nature Listed as Philosophy 216. Four credit hours.
[ES217]    Environmental Chemistry Listed as Chemistry 217. Three credit hours.
ES218s    Exploratory Data Analysis in R Exploratory data analysis employs methods such as robust data summaries and data visualization to isolate important patterns and features in the data to shed light on the phenomena being investigated. Students will learn the building blocks of effective graphic design for data exploration and for publication using the R programming environment. They will also learn how to manipulate and restructure complex data sets (including spatial data) for data analysis. Students will use R and RStudio to generate dynamic reports that will integrate both analysis and presentation with a strong emphasis on reproducible research. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. Four credit hours. Gimond
[ES219]    Architectural Design Workshop Listed as Art 218. Three credit hours.
ES224j    Creative Environmental Storytelling Explores the roles of awe, mindfulness, and active imagination in environmental writing. Students will be encouraged to access their "inner hermit" and explore how, as biological beings, we can create effective storytelling to envision a future where all life thrives. Students will explore the writings of others and practice writing their own stories. Introduces the idea of the evolutionary body and how it can relate to effective engagement for positive environmental change. Previously offered as Environmental Studies 297C (Jan Plan 2019). Three credit hours. Williams
[ES228]    Nature and the Built Environment Listed as American Studies 228. Four credit hours. H.
ES231s    Environmental and Natural Resource Economics Listed as Economics 231. Four credit hours. Meredith
ES233f    Environmental Policy A comprehensive and interdisciplinary introduction to the process and challenges of developing, implementing, and evaluating environmental policy. The roles of costs and benefits, uncertainty and risks, science and technology, and attitudes and ethics are explored. Historic and contemporary case studies are used to examine major institutions and actors, laws and regulations, incentives and enforcement approaches, and their role in addressing our nation's most pressing environmental problems. Students complete a semester-long research assignment. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118 or 126. Four credit hours. Sullivan
[ES234]    International Environmental Policy Examines how communities, nations, and international organizations govern the use of natural resources including water, land, forests, fisheries, and the global climate. Through case studies and international environmental treaty analyses we will develop an understanding of global environmental issues; explore complementarities and tradeoffs among local, national, and global approaches to environmental governance; highlight the environmental justice implications of various resource management regimes; and assess the effectiveness of policies to address major environmental problems. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118 or 126. Four credit hours. I.
ES237j    Advocating for the Environment Listed as Jan Plan 237. Three credit hours. Inches
ES238s    Renewable Energy Systems Introduces students to major themes of renewable energy systems. Students will analyze alternative energy solutions for a sustainable future. Emphasis will be on the different forms of renewable energy, within the context of the existing energy mix, energy policy, resource potential, and institutional opportunities and barriers. We will explore renewable energy potential and solutions through textbook and supplemental readings, current event briefings, group work and activities. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118. Four credit hours. Bates
ES239f    Seafood Forensics: Uncovering Fraud in Ocean Food Systems Seafood is a critical component of the global food system. However, the sustainability of ocean resources hinges on the veracity with which seafood is labeled, and mislabeling is on the rise. We will explore the varied impacts of fraud in ocean food systems. Students will learn how mislabeling affects the management and conservation of marine resources, supply chain economics, and risks to human health. Students will study how new molecular tools are being used to combat fraud, and explore the broader policy implications of forensic science. Students will grow their scientific literacy and enhance their writing and presentation skills. Previously offered as Environmental Sciences 298 (Spring 2019). Prerequisite: Biology 163. Four credit hours. Rasher
[ES240]    Microbes in the Environment Listed as Biology 240. Three credit hours. N.
ES241s    Development and Environmental Issues in Contemporary China Listed as East Asian Studies 242. Four credit hours. S, I. Zhang
ES242f    Marine Conservation and Policy Human activities and effects—including overfishing, water pollution, climate change, and benthic habitat destruction—have all had major impacts on ocean ecosystems. Through lectures and discussions we will investigate global, regional, and local threats to marine biodiversity and ecosystem function. Potential conservation solutions will be considered. Independent and group research projects will investigate the science and policy of marine conservation issues and will evaluate and synthesize information from scientific literature, popular media, and online discussions. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118 or 126. Four credit hours. McClenachan
ES243f    Environmental Ethics Listed as Philosophy 243. Four credit hours. Stephano
ES244s    Marine Communities Introduces students to key ecological interactions in marine communities around the world, including kelp forests, coral reefs, sea grasses, and the open ocean. A key learning goal is improved scientific literacy through in-depth reading and synthesis of scientific papers and the development of a research proposal. Prerequisite: Biology 271 or Environmental Studies 271. Four credit hours. Neal
ES245f    Land, Sovereignty, and Art Listed as American Studies 245. Noncredit. U. Hickey
[ES259]    Plants of the Tropics Listed as Biology 259. Three credit hours.
ES261s    Chemistry of Aqueous Environments Listed as Chemistry 261. Four credit hours. King
ES263f    Atmospheric Chemistry Listed as Chemistry 263. Four credit hours. McKinney
[ES265]    Global Public Health An introduction to the principles and measures of global health, disease burdens, and environmental determinants of health, including poverty, climate change, pollution, population, violence, and lack of safe food, clean water, and fuels. We will also study international health institutions, key actors, and environmental regimes for the regulation of environmental health hazards. Through small-group presentations and discussion we will explore global case studies that highlight the complex relationship between human health and the environment. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118, 126 or a course in the natural sciences. Four credit hours.
ES271f    Introduction to Ecology Listed as Biology 271. Four credit hours. N, Lb. Barner, McDonough MacKenzie
ES276s    Global Change Ecology Provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the principles of climate, ecosystems, and biogeochemistry needed to understand human impacts on the natural environment. Students will study the impacts of climate warming, our changing atmosphere, land-use change, altered hydrologic and nutrient cycles, and other global changes. We will examine key elements of global ecosystem function and investigate how human activities have altered global ecosystems since the Industrial Revolution. We will critically assess scientific evidence for anthropogenic changes, and consider both impacts and solutions to the challenges of global changes. Relies heavily on reading of primary scientific literature and group participation and discussion. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118 or 126, and one college-level science course. Four credit hours. Neal
[ES277]    Vertebrate Natural History Listed as Biology 277. Four credit hours.
[ES279]    Geology of Bermuda Listed as Geology 279. Three credit hours.
[ES282]    Extreme Climate Change in the Gulf of Maine Listed as Biology 282. Three credit hours.
ES283f    Environmental Humanities: Stories of Crisis and Resilience Listed as English 283. Four credit hours. L. Walker
ES297j    Conserving the Western Maine Mountains Conserving the Western Maine Mountains (WMM) is a multi-disciplinary seminar that will engage students in solving real-life problems confronting a region of global ecological significance that is struggling to reach its economic potential. The class will examine the biological, economic, social, and cultural dimensions of conserving the WMMs landscape and way of life. Each student will conduct a research project that analyzes a challenge facing the region and proposes a policy or economic solution. Examples might include: recognition of the regions Indigenous People and culture, benefits and costs of motorized recreation, forest carbon credits in land conservation, and the future of the ski industry in a changing climate. Prerequisite: Environmental Science 118. Three credit hours. Gauvin
ES297Bj    Climate Geoengineering: Evaluating Strategies to Sequester CO2 Human emissions of CO2 are changing Earth)s climate. Increased attention is focusing on ways to actively remove and sequester atmospheric CO2. Such approaches carry ethical and technical risks, as well as costs and benefits that must be carefully evaluated if we are to make informed decisions about their potential use. We will review geoengineering approaches to atmosphere CO2 removal, including technical and biogeochemical bases and potential financial costs. We will consider the risks of action and inaction, as well as governance structures that could regulate geoengineering activities. Discussion and presentation of primary literature will be the focus of the course, culminating in a final paper advocating for a specific course of climate action. Prerequisite: Chemistry 121, 141 or 147 and a 100-level biology, environmental studies, or geology course. Three credit hours. Emerson, Twining
ES297Cj    Fate and Effects of Organic Pollutants in the Ocean Listed as Chemistry 297. Three credit hours. Aeppli
ES319s    Conservation Biology Concepts of conservation biology are examined in detail. Topics include patterns of diversity and rarity, sensitive habitats, extinction, captive propagation, preserve design, and reclamation of degraded or destroyed ecosystems. Interdisciplinary solutions to the challenges of protecting, maintaining, and restoring biological diversity are discussed. Offered in alternate years. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118, 126 or 271 or Biology 263, and sophomore or higher standing. Four credit hours. Sullivan
ES323s    Sustainability Science: From Theory to Practice Focuses on interdisciplinary aspects of the field of sustainability science, drawing on multiple disciplines to address current societal challenges. The course provides a foundation in historical and modern thinkers in the field; an introduction to sectors that are commonly pursued by sustainability professionals (food systems, water, energy, urban environment, transportation, waste systems). The course will provide students with skills and tools to create positive change in society. We will develop skills through several hands-on projects that build on one another throughout the semester, using real world examples in various sectors as the basis for our learning. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118. Four credit hours. S. Bates
[ES328]    Radical Ecologies Listed as Philosophy 328. Four credit hours.
[ES331]    Natural Resource Economics Listed as Economics 341. Prerequisite: Economics 223. Four credit hours.
[ES332]    Chemical Methods of Analysis Listed as Chemistry 331. Four credit hours.
ES333s    Environmental Revolutions in American Literature and Culture Listed as English 333. Four credit hours. L. Sibara
ES337s    Climate Fiction Listed as English 337. Four credit hours. L. Walker
ES338s    Forest Ecosystems Forest ecosystems regulate climate, store and filter water, provide food and fiber, and serve as recreational areas and sacred spaces. These ecosystems are undergoing dramatic changes with important ecological, economic, and social consequences. We will examine these changes through the lenses of terrestrial ecosystem ecology, forest ecology, and ecosystem management. Using primary scientific literature as our guide, we will examine the status of forests around the world and how forest composition drives forest ecosystem processes. We will discuss how forest management and restoration can be used to increase the resilience of forest ecosystems and harness their productivity to mitigate carbon emissions and climate change. Prerequisite: Biology 271 or Environmental Studies 271. Four credit hours. N. McDonough MacKenzie
[ES341]    Community, Economics, and Conservation An interdisciplinary examination of sustainability through the intersection of communities, economics, and conservation. Students will gain critical thinking and leadership skills by examining strategies, policy frameworks, and decision support tools for evaluating trade-offs between economic interests and the environment. Case studies will focus on providing tools in land conservation, finance, recreational planning, GIS, and ecosystem services, with an eye towards application in a student project. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118, 126, or Economics 231. Four credit hours.
ES344s    Marine Fisheries Management Managing marine fisheries represents one of the most significant challenges in the conservation of global resources. We explore political, cultural, and ecological factors essential for successful management. Through lectures, discussions, and readings, students become familiar with global fisheries issues, including high seas management, initiatives to protect the food security and biodiversity of tropical island nations, and management of marine and anadromous fish in the United States. Prerequisite: Biology 263 or Environmental Studies 118, 126, or 271, and sophomore or higher standing. Four credit hours. McClenachan
[ES346]    Global Food Policy Examines the emergence and development of global food systems and food policies starting with the earliest agricultural societies and continuing to the present day. We explore the economic, nutritional, and environmental justice implications of agricultural systems and critically analyze the intended and actual outcomes of food policies for nations and agricultural communities. Case studies, films, and independent research further highlight the role of food and food policy in degrading the environment, exacerbating ethnic tensions and social inequities, and even spurring conflict. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118 or 126 and sophomore or higher standing. Four credit hours. I.
ES348s    U.S. Environmental History Listed as History 348. Four credit hours. H, U. Jacobson
[ES354]    Marine Ecology Listed as Biology 354. Four credit hours.
ES356s    Aquatic Ecology Concern over the impact of human activities on aquatic communities and ecosystems has brought aquatic ecology to the forefront of public attention. Through lecture, discussion, writing assignments, and laboratory work, students will explore the major ecological principles that influence the physical, chemical, and biological organization of aquatic ecosystems. Experimental approaches and sampling techniques used by limnologists will be employed in local lakes, streams, and rivers, as well as in the laboratory to investigate topics of concern in freshwater ecosystems, including eutrophication, pollution, land use change, invasive species, and the impact of climate change. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 271, a W1 course, and sophomore or higher standing. Four credit hours. W2. Bruesewitz, Pearson
[ES358]    Ecological Field Study: Belize Ecology, and conservation of the meso-American barrier reef. Involves qualitative and quantitative field studies of the biological diversity and ecology of local ecosystems; field-based investigation of the environmental challenges facing these ecosystems; discussions with conservation practitioners about innovative conservation solutions and the efficacy of conservation activities; and exposure to regional culture and history. Lectures, pool-based field technique training, and student research prior to departure followed by an off-campus field trip. Cost: $3100. Financial aid available for qualified students. Prerequisite: Biology 164 or Environmental Studies 118 or 126, and permission of the instructor. Three credit hours.
[ES362]    Energy and Utopia Listed as English 362. Four credit hours. L.
ES363f    Paleoceanography Listed as Geology GE363. Four credit hours. Koffman
ES364s    Climate Change, Justice, and Health Examines the impacts of changing climate dynamics on human livelihoods, rights, health, and well-being. Through interdisciplinary readings, class discussions, research projects, and innovative communications, students will engage deeply with data from the natural and social sciences about human impacts, adaptations, and vulnerabilities, as well as explore climate justice activism. Key learning goals include improved information literacy and written and oral communication skills and increased understanding of the ways climate change is impacting the world in which we live. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118 or 126. Four credit hours. Carlson
[ES366]    The Environment and Human Health How human health is affected by physical, chemical, biological, and social environments; how we use science to measure effects of these determinants at the level of cell, tissue, individual, and population; how we assess these determinants to make regulatory decisions. Topics include introductions to toxicology, epidemiology, and risk assessment; health effects of pollution, synthetic chemicals, consumer products, climate change, and the built environment; the etiology of health outcomes including cancer, obesity, endocrine disruption, and respiratory diseases. Students use primary scientific literature for independent research and, when appropriate, engage in environmental health policy debates in Congress and/or the Maine legislature. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118 or 126, and sophomore or higher standing. Four credit hours. N.
ES368s    Global Climate Policy Climate change is a global problem. How and whether a world of sovereign states can cooperate to reduce climate change risks to manageable levels are critical questions, but there is no political or expert consensus around the best way forward. This course will study global climate politics and policy, particularly within the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Students will work individually and in groups to critically assess the complexities and effectiveness of international governance responses relating to climate mitigation, adaptation, finance provision, technology transfer and capacity-building. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118 or 126. Four credit hours. S. Robinson
[ES371]    Current Topics in Environmental Science: Corals Explores emerging and cutting-edge topics in the field of environmental science, with a focus on the global crisis in coral reef systems. Students will focus on contemporary scientific literature reviewing emerging topics from leading journals in environmental science and ecology journals, as well as engaging a variety of experimental designs, laboratory methods, and statistical approaches to investigate and understand environmental processes and human impacts in these ecosystems. An independent research assignment will enhance writing skills. Prerequisite: Biology 271 or Environmental Studies 271. Four credit hours.
ES371Jj    Current Topics in Environmental Science: Corals Explores emerging and cutting-edge topics in the field of environmental science, with a focus on the global crisis in coral reef systems. Students will focus on contemporary scientific literature reviewing emerging topics from leading journals in environmental science and ecology journals, as well as engaging a variety of experimental designs, laboratory methods, and statistical approaches to investigate and understand environmental processes and human impacts in these ecosystems. An independent research assignment will enhance writing skills. Prerequisite: Biology 271 or Environmental Studies 271. Three credit hours. Neal
[ES373]    Life in Times of Extinction Listed as English 373. Four credit hours. L.
[ES378]    Geologic Environments in the Marine Realm Listed as Geology 378. Three credit hours. N.
[ES382]    Ecological Modeling Listed as Biology 382. Four credit hours.
ES397f    Environmental Justice An examination of the historical and contemporary roots of the unequal distribution of environmental benefits and harms, focusing on the broad social and political processes that perpetuate inequity. Throughout this course, we explore how issues like race, gender, and wealth influence the allocation of the world's natural resources and how those inequities have resulted in the rampant environmental destruction and health disparities we see today. This course is designed to help students foster a nuanced understanding of environmental conditions and, through the analysis and development of case studies, encourage creative and impactful storytelling about the causes and consequences of environmental injustice. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118 or equivalent. Four credit hours. Sullivan
ES398As    Conservation Paleobiology Managing for a changing climate challenges conservation in the Anthropocene and requires practitioners and ecologists to think beyond static historic baselines. Conservation paleobiology seeks to fill the gap between the short-term nature of most ecological studies and the long-term goals of conservation to bring long temporal perspectives to conservation practitioners. Students will explore primary literature from paleobiology, conservation, and their intersection. After reading broadly in foundational to modern literature, we will focus on the place-based local case study of alpine plant communities in the northeastern United States and the conservation challenges of managing small, disjunct populations with assumed high vulnerability, but unknown paleo-histories. Prerequisite: Biology 271 or Environmental Studies 271. Four credit hours. McDonough MacKenzie
ES401f, ES402s    Environmental Studies Colloquium Attendance at selected program colloquia during the fall and spring semesters; written reflections to be submitted. Required of all senior environmental studies majors. Typically taken in addition to a normal four-course semester. One credit hour for the year. Prerequisite: Senior standing in environmental studies. Noncredit. Bruesewitz
ES483Jj    Honors in Environmental Studies Noncredit. Bates
ES484s    Honors in Environmental Studies Intended for majors approved for admission into the Environmental Studies Honors Program. Requires research conducted under the guidance of a faculty member and focused on an approved topic leading to the writing of a thesis. A maximum of eight credits may be earned in honors work. Upon successful completion of the thesis, an oral presentation, defense and all requirements for the major, the student will graduate with "Honors in Environmental Studies." Prerequisite: Senior standing and a 3.70 grade point average in the major at the end of the junior year or permission of the program. One to four credit hours. Faculty
ES491f, 492s    Independent Study Independent study devoted to a topic chosen by the student with the approval of the program committee. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing as an environmental studies major or minor. One to four credit hours. Faculty
ES493f    Environmental Policy Practicum An in-depth analysis of current issues and policies affecting the environment. Students work individually and collaboratively on a project with a common theme and are assigned unique roles as researchers, editors, and technical coordinators. Reading and discussion of primary literature is augmented with invited speakers, field trips, and student presentations. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 233 (for domestic emphasis) or 234 (for international emphasis), and senior standing as an environmental studies policy major. Four credit hours. Bates, Robinson
ES494f    Problems in Environmental Science Causes of and solutions to selected environmental problems are investigated through lectures, laboratory and field work, discussions, and guest presentations. Focuses on completion of a group research project with methods used by private consulting firms and governmental agencies to investigate freshwater (section A) or marine (section B) environmental problems. Research results are presented in a public forum at the end of the semester. The civic engagement component provides useful information to the community and the state and gives students experience interacting with interested stakeholders. Skill development includes research, communication (both oral and written), and collaborative work skills. Prerequisite: Biology/ Environmental Studies 271, and senior standing as an environmental science major. Five credit hours. Bruesewitz, Neal