Sustainability and the Modern World II

Sustainability and the Modern World II

HONR 1037

Sustainability and the Modern World II

Spring 2013


Director of Academic Sustainability Programs:Dr. Nanette Chadwick:


Dr. David Bransby: 224 Funchess Hall, 844-3935,

Dr. Liz Brite: 0303MHaley Hall, 844-7843,

Dr. Nathan Hensley: 0303H Haley Hall, 844-7758,

Professor John Pittari: 105 Dudley, 844-5424,

The bestway to reach us is by email, but feel free to also use telephone. Office hours by appointment.

Lecture Meeting Times:

Tuesdays at9:30-10:45, Corley Hall307

Section Meeting Times:

Thursdays at 9:30-10:45:
001: Haley Center 2328, Prof. Pittari & Dr. Hensley

003: Haley Center 2442, Dr. Bransby & Dr. Brite

DESCRIPTION and OBJECTIVES: This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary study of sustainability, with an emphasis on energy use, current modes of transportation and future alternatives, and climate change. We will consider the interconnectedness of the current infrastructure and cultural and personal habits and behavior, and will explore alternatives to our current unsustainable practices including: redesigning communities; biofuels, solar and wind power; and reducing consumption and waste. The course will invite students tothink critically about the interconnectedness of natural, technological, cultural, and economic issues of sustainability. Also, students are exposed to topics that may helpthem develop a better understanding of how individual and societal actions can work toward achieving sustainability.

REQUIRED READINGS AND FILMS:Weekly reading and film assignments will be postedon Canvas section websites, or through library reserve. All readings and film viewings must be completed before section each Thursday.


In-Class Participation 60 points

Vehicle footprint 30

Green building assignment 30

How we move is how we live 30

Consumption/waste diary 30

Midterm exam #1 75

Project outline 30

Midterm exam #2 75

Poster & presentation 120 (rough draft 15 points; oral explanation15 points; poster 90 points)

Final exam 120 (focuses on weeks 11-15, plus questions from entire semester)

Total points possible: 600

Point breakdown: 270 for 3 exams, 120 for 4assignments, 150 for project [outline due 2/21,rough draft due 4/4,poster due 4/18, oral explanation 4/23 & 4/25],60 for participation/attendance

Final gradesare on a 600-point scale: A= 540-600 points (90-100%), B= 480-539 points (80-89%), C= 420-479 points (70-79%), D= 360-419 (60-69%), F=less than 360 points (<60%).

Extra credit: Will be awarded for attendance at selected events during the semester (campus-wide lectures, films, etc.). Records of extra credit will be used to decide borderline course grades.

Exams: Exams will consist of multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, short answer, and essay questions.

Short Assignments: Each student will complete 4short exercises: Vehicle footprint, green building assignment, consumption and waste diary, and how we move is how we live.

Final Project: The final project is a semester-long assignment in whichyou will apply what you learn in class to a specific sustainability issue of your choice (subject to instructor approval; we will provide lists of possible topics). You will identify a local, regional, or worldwide issue pertaining to energy, transportation, consumption, and/or waste, research relevant literature, possibly interview experts or collect data about the issue, and propose sustainable solutions. You will construct an outline, with references, about your topic, then investigate your topic, synthesize your findings, create a poster and present your findings.Specific project guidelines, a rubric, and other details will be posted online and discussed in section.

Class Participation and Attendance:

The success of this class depends in large part on the full participation of each student and the exchange of ideas and perceptions. Participation can take various forms and will be different for each person. Some examples of “participation” include: asking relevant questions, verbally examining a concept or perception, and listening actively. For those of you who feel insecure about speaking up in class, you can fulfill your class participation requirement by bringing to class relevant current event articles or emailing to the instructors questions and comments. Obviously, behavior like sleeping, texting, internet surfing, and chatting indicate a lack of attention and focus. Likewise, civility in the classroom is crucial to enlightened discussion. Students who show disrespect for the ideas and expressions shared during lectures and discussions will fare poorly in their discussion grade. Your participation grade will be evaluated based on your preparedness for class and the frequency and quality of your comments.We will gladly discuss with you, during office hours, our assessment of this aspect of your grade.

Attendance will be taken during each lecture and discussion period, in the first 10 minutes of class. Tardiness >10 minutes after class has begun will be considered ½ absence. If you leave class early, this will also count as ½ of an absence. Poor attendance and tardiness will affect your class participation grade. In addition,each week of unexcused absences greater than 1 week’s worth (i.e. 2 class sessions) will result in lowering of your course grade by one letter (ie: A to B, B to C, etc.).For example, 2 unexcused tardies (>10 minutes late each time) plus 1 full class unexcused absence (beyond the one week of “free” absences) will lower your course grade from a B to a C.


E-Mail and Telephone Communications:Auburn University recognizes e-mail as an official form of communication. BE SURE to regularly check yourTigerMail account for communications about this course. If the nature of a student e-mail is too complex to answer electronically, you will be asked to come during office hours or to make an appointment at a mutually convenient time.

Late Assignments and Make-up Exams: Assignment due dates are rigid and all assignments are due at the start of class unless otherwise noted, or unless you have an excused absence. If you anticipate a problem turning an assignment in on time please discuss it with us in advance. Late submissions will receive 10% off per day late, including those turned in later than the start of class (ie: at the end of the class period when they are due). So, an assignment turned in at the end of class on the due date will be 10% off. Then 50% off after 5 days, and 100% off (no points awarded) after 10 days.

Make-up exams will be all essay format and will be givenonly with prior permission upon submission of a university-accepted excuse at least one week in advance. In case of sudden illness, a written excuse from a doctor on letterhead must explain that you were not able to attend class during the time of the exam, and must be turned in within 3 days after the exam. All other circumstances will result in a zero for the exam.

Attendance and Behavior: Attendance is mandatory and assumes that you have read required materials or viewed required films in advance, and participate. Cell phones must be silenced during class. Laptop and tablet computers may be used only to facilitate class participation; students who engage in other uses will be asked to turn off all devices during class.This class will include lots of discussion, and you will have many opportunities to share your opinions. However, you are expected to show respect for your classmates, instructors, and guest speakers by not talking amongst yourselves, unless we are engaged in group discussion.

Honesty: Auburn University expects students to complete your academic work with honesty and integrity. The Academic Honesty Code is in online, and explains actions considered to be cheating and the possible consequences. Violations of the Academic Honesty Code will not be tolerated in this course.

Students with Disabilities: Any student needing special accommodations should inform the instructors during the first week of class and contact the Program for Students with Disabilities in Haley Center 1244, 844-2099 (V/TT) or email: .


Week Date Activities [Note: Assignment due dates and exams are highlighted in BOLD]

1 Jan. 10 Section: Introductions, syllabus, team building,receive vehicle footprint assignment

2 Jan 15 Lecture: Sustainability & systems thinking (Nanette Chadwick) [reading on electric cars

andeco-ethics reading]

Jan 17 Section: Discuss lecture, readings, team building, receive information on final projects,

Turn in vehicle footprint assignment

3 Jan 22 Lecture: Are societies sustainable? (Liz Brite) [readTainter article]

Jan 24 Section: Discuss lecture, reading,research tips.Turn in topic ideas for final project

4 Jan 29 Lecture: Climate change (Matt Williams) [climate reading, receive green bldg. assignment]

Jan 31 Section: Solar panels, electric and solar cars tour,receive project topics

5 Feb 5 Lecture: World energy resources (David Bransby & Nathan Hensley)[energy reading]

Feb 7 Section: Discuss lecture and reading/tour, Turn in green building assignment

6 Feb 12 Lecture: Bioenergy (David Bransby) [view film for Feb. 19]

Feb 14 Section:Exam 1 [covers material from weeks 1-5]

7 Feb 19 Lecture: Discuss lecture and film

Feb 21 Section: Switch grass and solar house tour, Turn in outline for poster project

8 Feb 26 Lecture: Wind and solar solutions (David Bransby) [reading]
Feb 28 Section: Discuss lecture & reading, receive outline comments & consumption diary assnmt

9 Mar 5 Lecture: Energy conservation (Nathan Hensley) [view film]

Mar 7 Section: Biotruck demonstration, Turn in consumption diary


10 Mar 19 Lecture: Consumption and waste (Jerrod Windham) [reading]

Mar 21 Section: Discuss lectures and reading/film, progress on project posters

11 Mar 26 Lecture: Consumption and waste tour

Mar 28 Section: Exam 2 [covers weeks 6-10]

12 Apr 2 Lecture: Climate change mitigation and adaptation (Chandana Mitra) [reading/film]

Apr 4 Section: Discuss lecture and tour, receive how we live & move assignment, peer edits

Turn in rough drafts of posters

13 Apr 9 Lecture: How we move is how we live (John Pittari) [view Taken for A Ride film]

Apr 11 Section: Walkable city tour, receive written comments on poster drafts,

Turn in how we move is how we live

14 Apr 16 Lecture: Sustainable communities (John Pittari) [view Nature of Cities film]

Apr 18 Section: Discuss lecture and film, course wrap-up,

Turn in final projectposters: hard copies + electronic via Canvas

15 Apr 23 Student poster presentations

Apr 25 Student poster presentations

Friday, May 3, at 8-10:30am: Final exam [focuses on weeks 11-15, plus comprehensive questions—from entire semester]

Note: The instructors reserve the right to make changes, as necessary, to this document. Any changes will be announced and published on the Canvas page.