Timothy Lincoln, Geology
Climate change, soaring fuel costs, loss of biodiversity, and exponential population growth are among the indicators that we are pressing the limits of our planet to sustain simultaneous economic and population growth. Estimates suggest that it would take five planets to sustain the world's population if everyone lived like the average American...and the standard of living is rising rapidly in some of the world's most populous nations. Against this challenging background, this seminar introduces students to the hopeful solutions offered by the sustainability movement. We will look at human impact on the planet and then learn to estimate our individual environmental footprints. We will move on to discuss easy things such as recycling, more appropriate diet, and simple energy conservation measures that can dramatically lessen our impact. We will also explore the connections between sustainable living and healthful living. Finally, we will examine calls for regional, national, and international reorientation toward sustainability. Grounded in some basic texts, videos, and lectures, much of this class is experiential. Activities include estimating and working to lower our individual footprints, helping with projects in the College's E-House, visiting local sources of food, exploring local healthful recreational opportunities, and touring energy efficient homes in Michigan.