CCOG for ESR 141 Summer 2024

Course Number:
ESR 141
Course Title:
Introduction to Individual Sustainability
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces theory, principles and practices of sustainability and their applications at the individual scale. Addresses a wide range of topics at the individual level including the built world, water, and energy; transportation options; wise purchasing; sustainable agriculture and food choices; recycling and waste reduction; recreation and its effects on the environment; restoring natural environments and connections between health and the environment. May include off-site field trips, physical activity, and hands-on learning opportunities. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

1. Evolution Statement

To clarify the teaching of evolution and its place in the classroom, the Portland Community College Science Departments stand by the following statements about what is science and how the theory of evolution is the major organizing theory in the discipline of the biological sciences.

A. Science is a fundamentally nondogmatic and self-correcting investigatory process. In science, a theory is neither a guess, a dogma, nor a myth. The theories developed through scientific investigation are not decided in advance, but can be and often are modified and revised through observation and experimentation.

B. The theory of evolution meets the criteria of a scientific theory. In contrast, creation “science” is neither self-examining nor investigatory. Creation “science” is not considered a legitimate science, but a form of religious advocacy. This position is established by legal precedence (Webster v. New Lenox School District #122, 917 F. 2d 1004).

Science (ESR) instructors of Portland Community College will teach the theory of evolution not as absolute truth but as the most widely accepted scientific theory on the diversity of life. We, the Environmental Studies and Resources (ESR) Subject Area Curriculum Committee at Portland Community College, therefore stand with such organizations as the National Association of Biology Teachers in opposing the inclusion of pseudo-sciences in our science curricula.

2. Field-based Learning Statement

Field-based learning is a professional competence in many areas of environmental sciences. Field-based learning includes use of all the senses to make observations in natural and built environments. Field-based learning is experiential often leading to unique sets of observations/data in particular locations. Field-based learning experiences include inherent risks and physical challenges, such as uneven terrain, variable weather and environmental irritants.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Apply an understanding of sustainability at the individual level.
  • Identify the challenges of achieving sustainability on the individual scale.
  • Apply problem-solving and critical thinking skills to identify sustainable solutions and to build resilient communities.
  • Articulate a comprehensive worldview that integrates personal impacts on global sustainability.
  • Empower individuals to incorporate sustainable practices into their lives and communities.

Course Activities and Design

May include: lectures, guest lectures, field trips (off-site, on-site, during class, and/or out of class time), student projects, group projects, class presentations, and community-based learning.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Essay, short answer, and/or multiple choice exams
  • Write-ups of field experiences/Journaling and reflection
  • Research paper(s) or project(s) on sustainability topics

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Basic concepts of environmental systems and sustainability
  • Personal impacts on sustainability
  • Learning about sustainability plans and how individuals can develop a person plan
  • How personal choices and activities affect sustainability
  • How personal consumption influences sustainability
  • The true costs of consumption
  • The roles of individuals in driving change toward sustainability
  • The power of civic engagement in influencing sustainability
  • Uses of technology in sustainability, such as, energy, construction, business, water systems, etc.
  • Roles of culture, community, and governmental processes in sustainability
  • Sustainable solutions incorporate how natural, economic, and social systems interact
  • Locate, access, and evaluate information
  • Collaborate with peers to effectively work in groups
  • Present information and conclusions logically