Detailed Course Outline (pdf): Download the detailed course outline which includes assessment activities, course policies, and a course calendar.
Professor: Arthur Gill Green
Contact Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Hours: Monday 14h00-15h00 or by appointment
Lecture Times and Location: Monday and Wednesday 1130-1250 (E207)
Lab Times and Locations: Wednesday 1430-1720 (C344H) OR Wednesday 1830-2120 (C344H)
Course Website: http://greengeographer.com/teaching/environmentalscience/
Course ID: Okanagan College EESC 101
Student grades are available on Moodle.
The course will introduce students to the science behind important environmental problems. Students will learn environmental science theory and the quantitative basis for the evaluation of the environment. Students will learn practical application of this theory in laboratories.
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Describe the major cycles of materials and energy within and interactions between environmental systems (e.g., organisms and ecosystems, soils, water, air, renewable and non-renewable natural resources)
- Critically evaluate the basic science behind arguments regarding environmental issues and sustainability.
- Describe the impact your way of life has on the environment.
- Describe the structure and function of significant environmental systems.
- Demonstrate an understanding of basic summary statistics, interpretation of environmental data, and the ability to construct graphs from data.
Below you can access lecture notes, activities, and required readings for each week of the course. If you would like to see a more detailed course outline you can download it as a pdf from the top of this page. All materials (videos, podcasts, etc.) posted in the weekly topics below may be on exams.
- Introduction to Environmental Science
- Matter, Energy, and the Physical Environment
- Earth Systems and Ecosystems
- Evolution Biodiversity and Population Ecology
- Species Interactions and Community Ecology
- Soils and Soil Resources
- Midterm Exam Review
- Agriculture, Food, and Biotechnology
- Conservation of Species and Habitats
- Forest Systems
- Water Systems
- Fossil Fuels
- Climate Change and Carbon Credits
- Energy Alternatives
You can download labs using the links below.
- Wastewater treatment tour. Background readings with facts and statistics about local wastewater treatment can be downloaded here.
- Environmental Data Analysis (and Excel Bar Graph instructions) and data as Excel or Google Sheets
- Ecological Efficiency
- Daisyworld | Excel model file | Daisyworld video (NASA)
- Ecological Footprint
- Green Roof | Excel model file
- Carbon Cycle | Excel model file
- Wind Power Lab
Topic: Introduction to Environmental Science
This week we overview course logistics and introduce ourselves. We begin to overview the field of environmental science and introduce some of the environmental issues that we will confront over the course of the semester.
- Chapter 01
- Course Outline
Topic: Introduction to Environmental Science
This week we continue to overview the field of environmental science and introduce some of the environmental issues that we will confront over the course of the semester. We will define the term environment, describe several types of natural resources and explain their importance, discuss some of the pressures on the global environment, and examine the concepts of sustainability and sustainable development.
- Chapter 01
- Read Forget Shorter Showers https://orionmagazine.org/article/forget-shorter-showers/
- Activity 01 Forget Shorter Showers (we will do this activity in class)
Topic: Matter, Energy, and the Physical Environment
This week we will describe how scientists use the scientific method to investigate environmental issues; summarize the basic properties of matter; differentiate among various types of energy, the fundamental properties of energy, and the role of energy in environmental systems; explain how plate tectonics and the rock cycle shape the landscape around us and Earth beneath our feet; and summarize the characteristics of early Earth and the main hypotheses for the origin of life. Our lab this week will take us on a fieldtrip to tour the wastewater treatment facility. See the Labs tab above to download additional readings on wastewater treatment.
- Chapter 02
- Listen to Radiolab’s Cell Mates: http://www.radiolab.org/story/cellmates/
The below podcast explores theories of the origin of life and the possible relation to energy canyons and DNA. In their words, they explore “one of the most underrated mysteries of all time, and present one possible answer that takes us from an unexpected houseguest to a tiny bolt of lightning to every critter you hold dear. It’s the story of one cosmic oops moment that changed the game of life forever.” How did life on Earth get out of the energy canyon? You only need to listen until 22:15.
Topic: Earth Systems and Ecosystems
This week we introduce systems theory and overview the earth system, ecosystems, and different natural cycles.
- Chapter 03
A video from our lecture that very quickly goes through a number of important concepts including gross primary productivity, net primary productivity, photosynthesis, chemosynthesis, energy flows, and ecological efficiency pyramids. Phew! I am tired just from writing all that!
Topic: Evolution, Biodiversity, Population Ecology, Species Interactions, and Community Ecology
This week we overview evolution, ways of understanding and measuring biodiversity, and examine principles and patterns of population ecology, community ecology, and species interaction.
- Chapter 04
Topic: Species Interactions and Community Ecology (cont) and Soil Resources
This week we finish our examination of species interaction. We then turn our attention to soil resources.
- Chapter 05
Topic: Soil Resources (cont.)
This week we finish our examination of soil resources. The Midterm Exam is this week. The Midterm Exam review notes can be found under the Lectures tab above.
- Chapter 07
Topic: Agriculture, Food, and Biotechnology
This week we examine the history of agriculture, the Green Revolution, the debate over genetic engineering, agricultural impacts on the environment, and agrobiodiversity.
- Chapter 08
Topic: Conservation of Species and Habitats; Forest Systems
This week we examine biodiversity, the benefits of biodiversity for ecosystems and for humans, and common management strategies for maintaining biodiversity. This week we also examine forests, forest fires, and forest management.
- Chapter 9
- Chapter 10
- Watch CBC The Nature of Things The Beetles Are Coming (45 minutes long, only available in Canada): http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episodes/the-beetles-are-coming
- Listen to Radiolab’s From Tree to Shining Tree: http://www.radiolab.org/story/from-tree-to-shining-tree/
Topic: Wind Power
This week we learn how wind power works. We have two guest speakers that will tell us about the process of locating, financing, and building wind farms. We will learn about Open Wind, a software used for modelling wind farms sites. We will visit the Pennask Wind Power Project.
- See the wind power lab above.
Topic: Water Systems
This week we examine freshwater systems and water resources. The hydrologic cycle, water pollution, fisheries, and aquifers. We have two activities, one on freshwater and one on marine fisheries.
Activity 1: You will make a presentation on a freshwater issue using the activity outlined in this document.
Activity 2: You are to watch The End of the Line (a documentary that can be found via our library) and complete this viewing guide which links to several online resources. The goal of this viewing guide is to assist you in finding reliable research resources as well as encouraging you to reflect on issues in the film. You do not need to turn in the viewing guide to the instructor, but you should expect to see questions from it on the final exam. We will go through answers to the questions in the following class.
- Chapter 11
- Chapter 12
Topic: Fossil Fuels and Climate Change
This week we examine global environmental change, climate change, how to make a carbon credit, the science underlying international agreements like the UNFCCC Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement, fossil fuels, hydraulic fracturing, geoengineering, and the implementation of pipelines – with particular focus on issues relevant to British Columbia.
- Chapter 14
- Chapter 15
Topic: Energy Alternatives and Mineral Resources/Mining
This week we examine the positives and negatives of alternatives to fossil fuel, such as wind, hydroelectric, solar, nuclear, and other sources of energy. This week we will also examine mineral resources, mining methods, and options for turning current waste into resources that we can reuse without mining new areas. We examine the social, economic, and ecological impacts of mining through case studies from several countries.
- Chapter 16
- Chapter 17
The final exam is this week. A review for the final exam can be found in the lectures tab above. There is no lab, but your lab exam project is due. Details for the lab exam are below in the Lab Final Project tab.
You lab final project is due Tuesday, 6 December 2016, 11:55 PM. It must be uploaded to Moodle.
Clear and creative communication of ideas and research is an important skill in any career, whether it be in academia, government, industry or any other sector. Sometimes, how you deliver information is as important, or even more important, than what you want to communicate. Different approaches to communicating information are required to reach different audiences, with some audiences being much harder to reach than others. When it comes to educating the general public about complex environmental issues, simple infographics that help tell a story through visual storytelling supported by data visualization can be an effective approach.
For your project, you will create a visually-appealing and informative summary of your research in the form of an infographic. These graphic representations are designed to present data and information quickly to a broad audience. Well-made infographics combine text, imagery, graphs and charts and are organized to flow naturally in the order you want to present them. This will require deciding what information (and data sets) you will use and careful planning of the best way to display it.
You will be graded on the design of your infographic (data presentation), on your selection of data and information, on your use of non-copyrighted images, and on the overall coverage of the topic area you choose. A grading rubric for the infographic is provided below.
You will have a couple lab sessions at the end of the semester to share your work peers, talk to the lab instructor about possible changes, and request any guidance.
Due Date: Before 06 December 2016 at midnight.
- Choose a topic from one of the labs. Lab topics can be found above. If you would like to do a different topic (e.g. arctic ice melt, loss of biodiversity, wind power in the Okanagan, etc.) please speak to your lab instructor to verify that the topic is acceptable.
- Post your topic choice here: Lab Project Sign Up Sheet
- You can work as an individual or in groups to create your infographic. You can decide what works best for you. However, each student is responsible for uploading their final infographic image to the course website.
- Review the below resources and guidelines.
- Find your data.
- Create your infographic (you will need computer access).
- Share it with peers to make sure people are getting the overall message(s) and facts that you want them to understand. You will present and explain your infographics in lab on 30 November 2016 so that you get feedback.
- Upload your final project to our course website (Moodle) before 06 December 2016 midnight.
Resources and Guidelines
There are many examples of effective infographics on the internet. Here are several from a project I did with students at UBC. Below are a few resources with free templates, icons, and images you can use. Please read the design tips and browse sample infographic images before choosing the layout for your own infographic.
Many of the templates use PowerPoint, but you are free to use any software you find easiest to use. Just make sure that you can save or export the final product as a .jpg (.jpeg) or .pdf as these are the only formats that will be accepted through the course website. Although there is no limit to the physical size of your infographic, the text must be easily visible under 100% zoom.
Design, Graphic Tips and Examples
- Venngage examples (requires sign-up, but you can look at their examples without registering): https://venngage.com/templates/
- Venngage design principles: https://venngage.com/blog/9-types-of-infographic-template/
- What Makes the Best Infographics So Convincing (Harvard Business Review article): https://hbr.org/2014/04/what-makes-the-best-infographics-so-convincing/?utm_content=bufferfced7&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
- Complete Guide to Visual Content: http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/complete-guide-visual-content-science-tools-and-strategy-creating-killer-images
- How to make a PowerPoint Infographic in Minutes: http://louisem.com/16671/make-powerpoint-infographic
- Pinterest examples (requires free sign-up): https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=infographics&term_meta%5B%5D=infographics%7Ctyped
- Hubspot: Hubspot infographic templates
- Hubspot: Hubspot how to create infographics
- Easelly (requires free sign-up): http://www.easel.ly/
Free Icons and Chart Tool
You cannot use copyrighted images. If you do you will not pass this assignment. Use Creative Commons licensed images and cite creators unless the images are public domain.
- Flickr Creative Commons: https://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/
- Free Images: http://www.freeimages.com/
- Morgue File: http://www.morguefile.com/
- Stock Vault: http://www.stockvault.net/
- Google Images has filters for licensed images. For example here is a search for “hydraulic fracturing” that results in images you could use for a project. Here is how to use the search filters: https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/29508?hl=en
If you can’t find graphics using the above resources, use the following chart to decide to decide if you can use it in your infographic:
For more information on Public Domain, Creative Commons and other copyright terms, see the Harvard Law School’s website: http://guides.library.harvard.edu/c.php?g=310751&p=2072816
If you need ideas about topics and different layouts: http://environment.geog.ubc.ca/infographics/
The grading rubric and be viewed and downloaded from the below link: