Introduces students to ethical theory as applied to current environmental issues. As a service-learning class student projects will assist a selected agency working locally on environmental issues. Projects may include trail work, aiding community recycling programs, improving wildlife habitat or raising environmental awareness among local school children. Agencies selected will reflect the range of the environmental spectrum from the Sierra Club to the Division of Wildlife Resources. The class is worth four credit-hours and includes three hours of service each week.
Meeting Service-Learning Criteria
1) provides needed service to community: Service projects will either directly help manage or improve environmental quality or work to understand or change people's attitudes toward environmental issues.
2) service/subject matter relation: As a course in applied ethics, service shows students the challenges of application–the difficulties in matching theories to situations and the 'grey' nature of complicated moral decisions. Service gives further understanding of topics discussed in class, providing an empirical grounding.
3) comtemplate learning through service: Learning is enhanced through 'hands on' activities which show students the complexity of environmental issues–both in conflicting worldviews and in logistics–and emphasizes the role of the individual moral agent. Students will keep a journal and share their experiences in bi-weekly reflections, and submit a 2-3 page summary on what their service experience taught them about the readings.
4) credit given for learning through service: Students keep a journal relating their service experiences with the readings, taking note of difficulties in applying theories and comparing what different theories might suppose regarding the issue they are working on. Students will be required to submit the reflective journal and a final summary of their experience.
5) service recipients evaluate service: Organizations which the students work through will assist the TA, professor and students in selecting appropriate projects. Agencies will report to TA regarding effectiveness of volunteers and suggest appropriate adjustments.
6) service develops civic education: Students learn the importance of action, of applying their principles and of 'right livelihood'; students learn about the variety of ways they, as individuals and collectively, can effect change and strengthen their environment.
7) knowledge enhances service: Students are able to see the 'big picture' issues involved and how different ethical theories define the environment, resources, and humanity's role in nature.
8) learning from other class members: TA leads bi-weekly reflection relating service to the assigned materials and in which students share their journal entries; students present final project to the class.
Course goals: to acquaint students with basic approaches to environmental ethics and ecophilosophy; to discuss ethical perspectives in relation to these ecophilosophies; to consider the application of these perspectives to particular environmental issues, such as wilderness preservation, population policy., waste disposal and recycling, urban forestry, habitat conservation., and environmental civil disobedience.
Edward Abbey, _The Monkeywrench Game_ ( 1975)
Aldo Leopold., _A Sand County Almanac_ (1949)
Michael E. Zimmerman, J. Baird Callicott, George Sessions, Karen J. Warren,, & John Clark, eds., _Environmental Philosophy_ (Prentice-Hall, 1993)
hour exam (20%) and final exam (30%); service activities, discussions, journal, and summary (2-3 pp.) (30%); problem analysis (5 pp.) (20%). Students are expected to come to class and to participate in class discussions. The service learning component of the class will involve approximately 30 hours in an approved service project, the journal and summary, and weekly class discussions that apply the theoretical materials to the service projects undertaken by class members. The problem analysis may be a critique of one or more of the readings assigned in class, an application of one or more of the readings to a service project or a problem discussed in the course, or an analysis of a problem discussed in the course. It is not intended to be a research paper. I strongly encourage you to discuss your topic with me by May 16th.
Unit I: Introduction; the environment and traditional moral theory
March 28: Introduction to the course
March 29: What's new about environmental ethics? (Zimmerman, to p. 21) March 30: service opportunities
March 31: service sign-up and expectations
April 4: utilitarian theory (Singer in Z, pp. 22-32) April 5: rights theory (Regan in Z, pp. 33-48 April 6: moral subjects and moral patients (Goodpaster in Z.pp. 49-65 April 7: service discussion: competing values and environmental ethics in your own lives
Unit II: Holism
April 11: respect for nature (Taylor in Z. pp. 66-83) April 12: animal liberation vs. ecological ethics (Sagoff in Z, pp. 84-95) April 13: Aldo Leopold's land ethic. A Sand County Almanac, Part I
April .14: service discussion: individualism and community
April 18: Sand County, Part II and Part III April 19: Sand County "The Land Ethic"
April 20: Sand County, "Wilderness" and "Conservation Esthetic" April 21: service discussion: community decisionmaking and wilderness preservation
April 25: Callicott's understanding of the land ethic (Z. pp.110-135) April 26: Rolston's understanding of the land ethic and preservation (Z. pp. 135-158)
April 27: review
April 28: hour exam
Unit III: Deep ecology
May 2: Deep ecology (Z, pp. 1 59-1 92)
May 3: the metaphysics of deep ecology (Z. pp. 193-212) May 4: implications of deep ecology (Z, p. 213-250) May 5: service discussion: is your placement "deep" or "shallow"
Unit IV: Ecofeminism
May 9: ecofeminism (Z, pp. 251-283)
May 10: rationalism and control (Z. pp. 284-319) May 11: ecofeminism and feminist politics (Z. pp. 3 1 9-341 ) May 12: service discussion: competing values: how do you deal with others who disagree with you?
Unit V: Social ecology
May 16: social ecology (Z. pp. 345-373) May 17: Marxism and social ecology (Z, pp. 374-405) May 18: deep ecology and social ecology (Z., pp. 406-437)
May 19: service discussion: should recycling be mandated–or should we take other stronger measures to increase the percentage of waste that we recycle? How clean is clean enough?
Unit VI: environmental activism and disobedience
May 23: Abbey, The Monkeywrench Game, Prologue-Ch. 5 May 24: Abbey, Ch. 6-1 6
May 25: Abbey, Ch. 1 7-25
May 26: service discussion: at the edge of disobedience: when should you step over?
(May 30–Memorial Day holiday)
May 31: Abbey, Ch. 26-Epilogue; when is environmental civil disobedience justified
June 1: Review and summary. Problem discussion due
June 2: service evaluation: what did you accomplish? what frustrations did you encounter? how were they handled? was the resolution satisfactory? Service journal and summary due
Final exam as listed in course schedule
Professor: Leslie Francis
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