Seminars in this learning community will examine the importance of place, the human role in the environment, and actions that foster sustainability. Questions we will ask include: What is the relationship of people to the environment? How do our attitudes towards nature change over time? And how is Austin making efforts to become more sustainable?

Signature Events: 

CapMetro Transit Adventure- We get to know some of Austin's popular sites like SoCo, Zilker Park, and downtown, by using the city's mass transit system. Once you know how to catch the bus, you'll be able to explore the whole city.

Where's My Food From?- Compare food sold at grocery stores and farmers' markets. Learn how global our corporate food distribution system is, and how local farmers have created a healthier and more sustainable alternative.

Hike, Bike, and Paddle- Barton Springs, Lady Bird Lake, Zilker Park, Wild Basin, Blunn Creek - Austin is full of great outdoor spaces. You'll have the chance to get to see how the city preserves and uses its natural beauty.

Becoming Ecoliterate: Sustainability and Austin

Becoming Ecoliterate: Sustainability and Austin 
Faculty member teaching this course: Annette Lucksinger

This class celebrates the uniqueness of places, examines sustainable ways of living, and leads us to experience Austin’s fresh, ambitious approaches to reversing climate change. The environmental literature we read will inform our adventures into Austin’s unique locales and vibrant community. As we delve into the areas of food, transportation, water, ecology and social justice, we will journal about ideas, train the eye to see the “invisible” in our community, analyze personal habits and lifestyles, actively engage in our shared place, and uncover a broad spectrum of creative, sustainable solutions.

A History of People and the American Environment

A History of People and the American Environment 
Faculty member teaching this course: Dan Glenn

This course examines the history of the relationship of Americans to their environment from the creation of the nation to the present.  It chronicles their changing attitudes towards nature, the evolving ways they used nature, and the impact that the American economy has had on the environment.  Specific topics will include Americans' conceptions of wilderness, industrialization and industrial waste, the development of an environmental consciousness, and environmental justice.

Sustainable Austin: Exploring Sustainability on Campus and in the Austin Community

Sustainable Austin: Exploring Sustainability on Campus and in the Austin Community
Faculty member teaching this course: Peter Beck

Over the past decade, the city of Austin has become a living laboratory for sustainable development as it has grown significantly while attempting innovative programs to become more sustainable.  In this course, we will examine these different sustainability initiatives and explore how they are attempting to meet their environmental, economic and social objectives.   Selected topics will include examining the City of Austin's initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases and achieve zero waste, environmental justice issues arising from East Austin's transformation and St. Edward's initiatives to reduce resource use on campus.  The course will incorporate guest speakers from Austin environmental leaders, field trips and campus projects such as working in the campus garden and measuring student composting and recycling behaviors.