200: Introduction to Environmental Science
EVSC 200 students on field trip to Burns Bog.
Students with credit for ENPL 200 may not take EVSC 200 for further
credit. Recommended: REM 100 (formerly ENPL 100).
The role of science in developing solutions to a mix of global and
local environmental problems.
Description: This role will be illustrated through discussions
of several past, current, and emerging environmental issues. These
discussions will also be used to explore, in the specific context
of environmental studies, key aspects of both science and the scientific
method. These will include, e.g., the fate of chemicals released
into the environment, and the role of experimentation vs. modeling.
The following specific issues will be explored:
- pollution problems
associated with DDT, PCB’s, phosphates, and dioxins and furans,
- greenhouse gas
emissions and global warming,
- potential impacts
of forestry on caribou and salmon,
- other human impacts
on Pacific salmon,
- biodiversity and
- environmental standards
for industry, and
- impacts of environmental
change on human health.
The lectures will explore these environmental issues, developing associated
scientific concepts and principles, and demonstrating the role of scientists
in developing solutions. Weekly tutorials (starting in the second week),
assigned readings, compositions, and quantitative exercises will provide
opportunities for students to familiarize themselves with these ideas
in a more active way. Two field trips will also be organized. There will,
in addition, be a mid-semester test and a final examination.
Tentative destinations for the field trips are (i) the Squamish area and
(ii) Burns Bog. These field trips will be strictly optional. They will
be organized as car pools. (i) The Squamish area is world-renowned for
its overwintering eagle population, wind surfing, and rock climbing. Humans
have also extracted copper, trees, salmon and hydroelectric power from
the area. It is furthermore becoming an increasingly popular place to
live. The field trip will focus on some of the conflicts surrounding these
multiple uses. (ii) Burns Bog is a unique part of our natural heritage.
We shall hike into the heart of the bog, exploring along the way the natural
ecosystem with its unique bog vegetation, floating peat mats, and bog
Students will be required to participate in laboratory-style exercises,
excursions, and discussions in tutorials, and to submit one or two exercises
in Excel, a short, written critique, and an essay. There will also be
a mid-semester test and a final examination. Both will be closed-book,
and both will involve a combination of short-answer questions and other
problems involving fuller explanations.
The weighting scheme for determining final percent scores will be as follows:
- Excel Exercise(s)
- Critique 5%
- Essay 15%
- Mid-semester Test
- Final Examination
Final percent scores will then be converted to letter grades
using the following criteria:
- A: Solid grasp
of virtually all concepts and a strong ability to manipulate them in
- B: Good understanding
of the bulk of the material. Some ability to use the concepts in novel
- C: Basic understanding
of the course material, but substantial weaknesses that need to be addressed
if the ideas are to be useful at a later stage.
- D: Minimally acceptable
performance. Major deficiencies that must be addressed before continuing
in the area.
- F: Unacceptable
Unless other arrangements
are made, compositions and exercises will be returned in the tutorials,
the mid-semester test will be returned in a subsequent lecture, and
the final grades will be posted by student number outside the instructor’s
office. Students wishing to make alternative arrangements to further
protect confidentiality should consult the instructor.