Ecological and Social Sustainability

Winter 2015 quarter

Taught by

chemical oceanography, biogeochemistry, freshwater ecology
economics, political economy, statistics
climate justice, climate policy and politics, political ecology, environment and development

Addresses central issues in contemporary sustainability studies on theoretical and practical levels. Emphasis is on ways to promote both environmental and social sustainability. Areas covered may include environmental quality at regional, national and global scales; energy use and alternative energies; resource availability and access to resources; social and cultural issues of sustainability; and indicators to guide policy. As part of this program, students write and present a research paper to provide evidence of their readiness to advance to candidacy .

Faculty Biographies
Peter Dorman, Ph.D., is an economist with a background in environmental and public health policy, data analysis, and political economy.  He completed a doctoral thesis at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he examined the use of occupational safety and health data to impute monetary values for risk of death in cost-benefit analysis; this work was eventually published as a book by Cambridge University Press, Markets and Mortality: Economics, Dangerous Work and the Value of Human Life.  Over the following two decades he has continued research into the economics of occupational health, focusing especially on child laborers in both the US and developing countries.  Much of this work was supported by the International Labor Organization, for whom he has also recently completed a study on the global economics of AIDS.  He has worked as a consultant on carbon policy for environmental advocacy groups and has written and spoken widely on strategies to mitigate climate change.  He has also written on various aspects of economic theory, including welfare economics, the theory of the firm, and international political economy.  In Summer 2014, his introductory economics textbooks in macro- and microeconomics were published by Springer.

Shangrila Joshi Wynn, Ph.D., is a political ecologist with a particular focus on questions of justice and development in the context of climate change policy and politics. Recent research (Dissertation: Justice, Development and India's Climate Politics: A Postcolonial Political Ecology of the Atmospheric Commons ) has examined climate politics from a North-South environmental justice perspective. Her current research extends this focus by examining climate policy implementation as it intersects with development policy and practice in South Asia, most recently in the form of the Clean Development Mechanism. She is also interested in questions of diversity in higher education, and has conducted NSF-funded collaborative research on the experiences of US geographers of color. Shangrila is originally from Nepal, where she studied Environmental Sciences at St. Xavier’s College in Kathmandu, followed by a year of full-time work as an environmental reporter for The Himalayan Times. She came to the US for graduate studies in International Affairs with a focus on environment and development studies at Ohio University. She continued these interests in an interdisciplinary doctoral program in Environmental Science, Studies and Policy at the University of Oregon with Geography as the focal discipline.  While a doctoral student, she was awarded an OUS-SYLFF fellowship for international research and a Wayne Morse ‘Climate Ethics and Equity’ Dissertation Fellowship in support of her dissertation research and writing. Shangrila comes to the Graduate Program on the Environment with rich teaching experience at the private liberal arts college as well as the public research university educational environments.

Erin Martin, Ph.D. , is an aquatic biogeochemist whose research focuses on examining the role of rivers in the global carbon cycle. Rivers are large sources of carbon to both the atmosphere and the ocean and are consequently critical to our understanding of the global carbon cycle.  While working in the Amazon Basin, her research demonstrated that bacteria living in the river produce high levels of carbon dioxide through respiration, and this carbon dioxide is subsequently lost to the atmosphere.  Her current research in the Mekong Basin (i.e. Cambodia) focuses on characterizing the type of organic carbon that is exported by large rivers to the ocean.  Specifically, she uses molecular tracers to determine where in the watershed the carbon originates from, and uses radiocarbon analyses to determine the age of this material.  Such information is necessary in order to understand the preservation of terrestrial carbon in the ocean, which can affect atmospheric carbon dioxide levels over long time scales.  Through her training (master’s and doctoral degrees from the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington), Erin has research experience working in streams, rivers, lakes, and the ocean.  Additional interests include ocean acidification, estuarine ecology, evaluating the impacts of dams on downstream processes, and microbial ecology.  Her past and present research has been conducted through collaborations with colleagues in Brazil, Cambodia, and the Pacific Northwest.

Program Details

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Evening

Advertised schedule: 6-10p Tue/Thu


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Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Registration Information

Credits: 8 (Winter)

Class standing: Graduate

Maximum enrollment: 50


Course Reference Number

(8 GR credits): 20129

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