Book Reading Requirement

During this course, we will touch upon a number of modern environmental issues.  Science is not a set of separate disciplines, but rather an interconnected web of ideas and principles which continue to expand as new discoveries are made.  Modern emerging fields of environmental science are interdisciplinary areas that require understanding a broad range of physical principles that govern the universe.  Society’s increased reliance on modern technology also makes it important for educated citizens to understand science in order to make informed decisions on their impacts on our environment.

To provide the opportunity to examine a broader and more in-depth view, you are asked to read one book from the assigned reading list.  These books describe some of the most important environmental issues confronting modern societies. They are not textbooks, but rather pieces tailored for educated citizens who wish to further their understanding of science through a self-directed process.  It is my fervent hope that you enjoy your selection; if past experience is any indication, I believe that you will.  I also hope this will spark a life-long personal interest in reading (and learning) about environmental science.

Taking the time to read well (what is worth reading well) involves asking basic questions in a specific order (I am taking this from the introduction to the Gateway to the Great Books).  There are four basic questions which the reader should ask:

1.  What is the author's main point?

2.  How does the author express this central theme?

3.  Is what being said true? Do you agree?  If not, what specific reasons do you have?

4.  What meaning does this reading have?  How has it shaped your opinions or attitudes?

Specific Instructions:  For each assignment, you are to read one selection of your choice from the list.  Then prepare a 2-3 page typed report that summarizes what you have read using the four questions cited above.  The due date for this are noted in the syllabus.