Sci 321 U – Energy and Society
CRN 13341
Tues/Thurs 10-11:50 CH 287

Instructor:         Candace Gossen
office hours:    Epler (SEH 103) T/Th 12:30-1:30 and by appt.
grad asst:        Kristin Schou

Conceptual content: An environmentally sustainable society is one that meets the current needs of its people for food, clean water, clean air, shelter and other basic resources without compromising the ability for future generations to meet their needs. Problems arising from the human need for energy and the environmental degradation that follows has created problems generating from a local to global scale. The na-ture and success in resolving these problems starts with a proper under-standing of the scientific causes and effects of the problems, as well as their socio-economic and politi-cal context.

The premise of this course energy and society is that energy is a social issue with a technical component. We will evaluate the idea of natural capital including free capital like solar and wind while examining the fossil fuel era we are living in. The life cycle of energy including extraction, methods of production, use and disposal are all things that affect our society, and the choices of conservation, economics and policy direct the outcome.

This course will include team projects and fieldwork, as well as fieldtrips to be announced.

Prerequisite: Recommended: Natural Science Inquiry

Reading Requirements:
Edward Abbey – The Monkey Wrench Gang
Additional articles in the online calendar for the class as assigned

An Atlas will be very useful
A 3 ring binder (for journal articles)
Access to a computer will be very important, If you do not have an ODIN account with PSU please set up an account.

Abbey book:
Each week the last 20 minutes of class each Thursday will be devoted to a class discussion for the reading requirements of Abbey for that week. You are expected to outline relevant passages from the book, be ready to share and discuss, as well as give some insight into current issues with energy and what Abbey may do! The last day of class you will turn in a 5 page character story on a scenario of a NW energy issue that Abbey may have written. Details will be added to web calendar. Worth 50 pts.

Journal articles:
By beginning of class each Tuesday of every week (at latest) you will submit by email to the instructor, a 100 word review of an article on the energy topic of the week. Typing it as text into the body of the email is good enough.  The journal article must be a credible journal with proper citation written into the text of the email.  You get 5pts for each article per week for a total of 50 pts at end of term.

Proper reference citing would go something like this:
Wilcox RV. Shifting roles and synthetic women in Star trek: the
     next generation. Stud Pop Culture. 1991;13:53-65.

Reasons for proper reference:
Why sources should be cited
• To show that your edit isn't original research.
• To ensure that the content of articles is credible and can be checked by any reader or editor.
• To help users find additional reliable information on the topic.
• To improve the overall credibility and authoritative character of Wikipedia.
• To reduce the likelihood of editorial disputes, or to resolve any that arise.
• To credit a source for providing useful information and to avoid claims of plagiarism.

Peer review articles are: (click on this link for a full disclosure of what a peer reviewed journal is, AND a link to click on Ulrich’s directory to double check yourself)
-- We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.  ~Albert Einstein

topics of the week
week 2    consumption of energy
week 3    household energy use
week 4    oil
week 5    nuclear decommissioning
week 6    coal
week 7    natural capital/biodiversity
week 8    global warming
week 9    solar/wind
week 10    alternative fuels

1. A one-day tour of renewable energy sites in Portland, date TBA. (expected)
2. A one or two-day tour of energy production in Oregon. Including a coal fired power plant, a hydro-electric dam, nuclear plant and a wind generation site. A typical 2 day tour would leave on a Thursday afternoon and return on a Saturday evening. a one day tour if possible would be on a Friday. For the overnight tour, participants pay for shared accommodations, food, and (perhaps) some travel costs. Details will be arranged in class. The cost for this trip is in the neighborhood of $60. Everyone is expected to take notes during the field trip and prepare a 3-5 page written report within one week of the end of the field trip. The report should include both details and personal impressions. Those with an irresolvable time conflict must submit a typed report on an ap-proved book dealing with energy and environment. (strongly encouraged)

Team Project:
Instead of submitting a term paper that would require the use of lots of paper, or content useful to the individual, you are going to work on a team project that will be useful to all in the class. We will group into teams of 4, with each team picking a subject relevant to energy, preferably renewable energy and a northwest issue, A criteria and timeline will be given in class. As a term project this will count as 20% of your grade. You will be assigned a date for your final presentation which must be in powerpoint, and all relevant material required shall be submitted on a CD. All students will then receive a final CD with all term projects on the CD that can be used as a teaching tool or relevant research material to take with you for future use.
Topics will be randomly chosen.

1. Turning health clubs into renewable energy using human power as batteries
2. Renewable vehicle options or lack thereof – Portland options
3. Garbage is not garbage – renewable energy from portland households using compost.
4. Growing local food on rooftops – a feasibility study
5. Solar options on all households in the city of Portland
6. Renewing a city of 100,000 – water options
7. Saving trees – alternative use of tree products, leave the trees as pollution scrubbers
8. Wind power – land use in Oregon

9. wave and tidal energy is it a new solution?

10. kill the television - what are the savings beyond energy alone?

500 points possible
Term Project                  150 points
Abbey book review              50 points
weekly journal articles              50 points
field trip                      50 points
two fieldwork exams @ 100pts each     200 points
class attendance and participation will be considered for borderline grades

Be on time and turn assignments in promptly

Course Outline
found on the online calendar at

Conceptual diagram of class

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