Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

UCSF 137 The Scientific Basis of Environmental Issues

Summer 2016 - Session I

UCSF 137 - The Scientific Basis of Environmental Issues


Summer 2016


Office Hours: by appointment.


TEXTBOOKS: The Environment and You, 2e.

           Taking Sides, Easton, Thomas A., 15th ed.


GRADING: 90% and above = A

         87% - 89%     = A-

         84% - 86%     = B+

         80% - 83%     = B

         77% - 79%     = B-

         74% - 76%     = C+

         70% - 73%     = C

         67% - 69%     = C-

         64% - 66%     = D+

         60% - 66%     = D

         Below 60%     = F



COURSE DESCRIPTION: Many of the most important policy and societal decision of the 21st Century will be driven by environmental issues.  These critical issues include (but are not limited to) climate change, loss of biodiversity, pollutants and toxins in the atmosphere, water and soil, and the growing difficulty of providing food, water, shelter and energy to an ever increasing and energy using population.  This course is designed to provide the scientific background needed to understand these issues in order to allow students to be able to meaningfully participate in the policy discussions of the next several decades.



COURSE OUTLINE: There are 8 class meetings.  Typically, I will lecture for half the period and the other half will consist of student groups leading discussions on issues from the Taking Sides readings.  Four or five class sessions will begin with a short, 10 point quiz. There will be two exams on lecture material.  The class outline is listed below:



This schedule is tentative and subject to change.  Changes will be announced in class and posted to Sakai



DATE                  LECTURE TOPIC              C&L)

5/24  The Environment, Sustainability, and Science Chs. 1-3

      Environmental Ethics, Economics, and Policy

      The Physical Science of the Environment

      An Inconvenient Truth

5/26 Organism and Population Ecology and        Chs. 4,5


      Human Population Growth

      Taking Sides

5/31  Communities and Ecosystems                Chs. 6,7

      The Geography of Life

      Taking Sides                    

6/2  Biodiversity Conservation                  Chs. 8,9

      Climate Change and Global Warming

      Taking Sides

6/7  Exam I

      Air Quality                               Chs. 10,      Water                                      11

6/9   Agriculture and the Ecology of Food       Chs. 12,      Forest Resources                         13

      Taking Sides

6/14 Non-Renewable Energy and Electricity      Chs. 14,      Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation   15

      Taking Sides

6/16 Urban Ecosystems                          Chs. 16,

      Waste Management                          17

      Taking Sides

6/21 The Environment and Human Health                Chs. 18,     The Environment and You                    19           Taking Sides                       

6/23 Exam II                                  



Potential Points:

     2 Exams @ 100 points each                       =  60 pts.

     4 (appx.) Quizzes @ 10 points each              =  40 pts.

     Class participation                        =  30 pts


                                  Total              = 130 pts.



There is no “extra credit” in this course nor are there any “bonus points” of any sort.  So don’t ask.


Laptop or tablet computers are permitted for note taking only.  Students who are surfing the web, texting or using any electronic device for any non-course related purpose will be asked to leave the class.  All cellphones, PDAs, etc. must be turned off during class.


It is every student’s responsibility to check Sakai for any announcements or other important information, especially regarding any necessary corrections, amendments, etc. to this syllabus.


All students are expected to be in class and prepared to begin working at the start of class.  Anyone who is chronically late for class may be denied admission to the classroom until such time as the instructor deems fit.


Cheating or any other form of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated.  Students are advised to refer to the university policy on academic dishonesty which can be found at http://www.luc.edu/cas/faculty_resources.shtml