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Living in a Polluted World


ENVS 361
Spring 2017
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: E&ES 361, E&ES 561
Certificates: Civic Engagement, Environmental Studies
Course Cluster: Health Studies, Service-Learning

"Living in a Polluted World" (LPW) treats the occurrences and origins, natural pathways, toxicologies, and histories of the major environmental contaminants. We all know about Pb and its effects on humans, but how about cadmium and hexachromium, or the many unpronounceable organic contaminants, usually referred to by some acronym (DDT, POPs)? To be effective in this course, you will need basic college level proficiency in chemistry and math. I will dwell into aspects of geochemistry, geology, toxicology, environmental law, and some math. The class consists of lectures, one major problem set, the Hg-in-hair class study, and a class project on pollution records from a 125 year old tree slab that has year rings. We will drill all rings and analyze the wood for Hg, Pb, nuclear contaminants, and several stable isotopes. Some will do a paleoclimate record on the rings as well. You will jointly write various sections of a report on this original research. There is a midterm (35%), the problem set (10%), the project work with report (20%), and a final exam (35%). An occasional movie night, a pollutant tinged culinary event, and guest speakers will be scheduled outside the regular class time. We may decide on a fixed time slot for the lab activities. This is also a service learning course, providing environmental outreach to the larger Middletown community on local pollution over the last 125 years (the tree slab with its records will go on display at Wesleyan).
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: NSM ENVS
Course Format: LectureGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CIS)(E&ES)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on SEP-19-2017
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