In this course, you will learn about WE CONSERVE and the initiatives of the Office of Sustainability on the UW-Madison campus. Furthermore, your laboratory will meet in the "dream" collaborative teaching spaces of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, ones that showcase sustainable building design.
This course teaches through these and other UW-Madison sustainability projects to the underlying principles of environmental science. In other words, we position ourselves with our feet on the campus and ask questions about the air we breathe, the energy we consume, the food we eat, the goods we purchase, and the waste we create.
In order to help you find answers to the questions you pose, we draw on principles from environmental science, a multi-disciplinary realm. Its core principles include:
- We live on a finite planet.
- Everything connects. Our actions here on campus affect our neighbors near and far.
- The connections may be difficult to perceive. Nonetheless, they have profound implications and are worthy of our attention.
This course deals only with a small part of the wider world; that is, our UW-Madison campus. Nonetheless, our campus connects to our local environment, which in turn connects to our region and to the larger world. Armed with the best knowledge (which admittedly can be frustratingly incomplete), we want to be efficient and effective problem solvers.
Overview of course
The course is divided into two sections: energy & food. The former connects to the buildings, vehicles, and heating plants on our campus, learning about conserving energy and minimizing waste. The latter connects to our food choices and campus dining operations, learning how own health and the health of our planet connect. The laboratory includes hands-on activities and field trips relating to energy efficient buildings, food choices, biodiesel, recycling, and power generation.
Now the fun part. We want you to grow in your ability to do 3 things that, for the purposes of launching a semester-long conversation, we frame as superpowers:
- Extraordinary powers of sight. Use these to "see" hidden steam tunnels on campus (X-ray vision), to "see" what is invisible (CO2 in the air), and to "see" the bigger picture (bird's-eye view).
- The power to travel through time. Use this to learn from people before you as well as from those in future generations.
- The power to hold conversations with animals and plants. Use this to hear another point of view on both local and global issues.
Ultimately, our goal is that you will have a new perspective on energy and food, especially here on the UW-Madison campus.
We who are teaching this course wish you well. Enjoy and please keep in touch.