ENVR 200 · Introduction to Environmental Science

Seminars and field trips introducing the major global, regional, and local environmental issues facing human societies. [3-0-0] Prerequisite: Open to all students with second-year, or higher, standing.

Course Availability & Schedule

Course Syllabus

Learning Goals

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

Basic scholarly skills:

  • Iteratively monitor and improve your own process of learning
  • Find information regarding environmental science topics from a variety of media types (newspaper, radio, TV, blogs, position papers, research reports, journal articles)
  • Evaluate whether or not information is relevant and useful, and any potential biases
  • Read scientific papers for key concepts, and to identify the basis for the authors’ conclusions in the data and analysis
  • Synthesize environmental information from a variety of sources and viewpoints
  • Formulate and ask relevant questions

Communication skills:

  • Communicate a coherent synthesis of a topic in environmental science, both orally and in writing
  • Defend a position, on an environmental issue, that is not necessarily your own viewpoint

Group Work skills:

  • Effectively contribute to group projects
  • Evaluate the work of other groups, using detailed rubrics
  • Evaluate the work of other individuals


Understand at least three areas of environmental science at some depth, including the social relevance of each (e.g. climate change, air pollution, waste disposal, biodiversity, etc.).


Fall: Tara Ivanochko and Michael Lipsen
Spring: Michael Lipsen and Gunilla Oberg


Textbook:  Custom text revised from Withgott et al. 2017, "Environment: The Science Behind the Stories" Third Canadian Edition.  Pearson Canada.

Course Content

All the documents related to this course are on Canvas.

Also check out the Environmental Sciences home page. 

Lecture Topics

Our emphasis in this course is on developing and practicing skills to gather, evaluate, and sythesize relevant information about environmental science.  The content topics vary from year to year, and from term to term, and different students will likely emerge with different "knowledge" about environmental topics. The topics below may or may not be included in a particular term. 

1. Course Introduction, Learning Outcomes, Education and the Environment
2. Global Climate Change
3. Environmental Values
4. Potable Water Supply
5. Human Energy Use and Energy Sources
6. Local, Regional, and Global Air Pollution
7. Loss of Biodiversity
8. Human Exploitation of Renewable Resources
9. Waste management
10. Politics of the Environment