This course is a discussion-based seminar exploring the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary natural resource challenges. Topics covered will vary each semester.
The Spring 2010 course will focus on natural resource issues related to energy development. The laws and policies regarding both renewable and nonrenewable energy resources will be examined, along with their corresponding environmental impacts. A research paper is required, and students will provide presentations based on their research. Field trips will be included throughout the course to investigate local issues relevant to the class.
Much of the focus of the course will be on where we have been and where we are going in terms of energy consumption. The notion of “Peak Oil” will be examined, along with policy efforts to address global climate change in the face of growing demand for fossil fuels. Traditional energy sources including oil, natural gas, and coal will be examined with regard to their continued viability and corresponding ecological costs. Emerging energy sources such as nuclear power, biofuel, wind and solar will also be examined. The underlying political, legal and economic structures of all these energy sources will be examined.