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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

ENVS 3991: Environmental Studies: Sustainability

This upper-level course is a Web seminar offering special topics in environmental studies for in-depth study. Students focus on topics that are important to Canadians: the impacts of population and pollution on global climate change and the effects of exploiting our natural resources. Emphasis is placed on water, energy, and biodiversity and on the attempts to balance the impact of our activities with the environment's capacity to absorb them. This course is suitable for learners completing degrees in a number of discipline areas including science, engineering, humanities, social science, business or general studies.

Learning outcomes

After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Develop a reason and science-based approach to assessing environmental issues.
  • Critically analyze information to make informed judgments about Canadian and global environmental issues.
  • Communicate effectively with learners from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds, including presenting ideas in writing.
  • Demonstrate a greater awareness of the importance of active citizenship.
  • Adopt and demonstrate a critical but receptive attitude toward alternative perspectives on environmental issues.
  • Find and assess validity and reliability of environmental information on the Internet.
  • Think and read critically about key environmental issues.
  • Synthesize data into information and knowledge to critically assess a situation or problem and identify potential actions and outcomes.
  • Identify your environmental values.

Course topics

  • Module 1: Key Concepts--Introduction, Social Approaches, Physical and Biological Approaches
  • Module 2: Sustainability--Sustainable Development, Sustainable Communities
  • Module 3: Global Sustainability--Population, Climate Change
  • Module 4: Natural Resources--Water, Air Pollution and Quality, Energy, Biodiversity, Food and Agriculture

Required text and materials

There is no course textbook, as students will be directed to a variety of current web resources and articles from the TRU Library article databases. Students will also be required to do their own research for the major topic.


To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% on the mandatory final project.

Assignment 1: Online Discussion Posts: First six posts 15%
Assignment 2: Online Discussion Posts: Last seven posts 25%
Assignment 3: Essay 20%
Quiz 10%
Final Project (mandatory) 30%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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