Course - The Joy of Garbage

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  • Course description
    Around the globe, human and non-human populations are feeling the effects of bad “garbage” policies – from electronic waste, recycling practices, landfills, incinerators, the dumping of hazardous materials, reckless or even unintended pollution of terrestrial and aquatic environments, and so forth.

    This course aims to highlight some of the major trends and issues wrapped up in these crises. We will look at policies here on the UC Campus, in the Bay Area, as well as national and international issues. Further, we will constantly be returning to the questions of why such problems exist as they do today, trying get to the roots of the matter. This requires a very multi-disciplinary approach, as these issues certainly are complex and often rooted in subtle cultural attitudes. Thus, we hope to bring ethical, political, economic, social, and other perspectives into our discussions and search for solutions.
        Guest speakers will talk to us about issues they specialize in, from environmental-justice, landfill design and operations, zero-waste philosophies, the pros and cons to recycling, composting, etc.
    Course Requirements

        Class participation is essential for this decal to flow. Whatever perspectives and insights a student can bring into the class are very welcome and encouraged –  we will not be looking for “answers,” but instead critical thinking.  In addition, any relevant outside materials a student wishes to bring into class are welcome.
        The first hour of class we will present the weekly “Garbage in the News,” have student presentation on the weekly readings, and open up for discussion. The second hour is generally reserved for a guest speaker or the viewing of a documentary.

    More than three absences will result in an automatic fail. Attending only part of the two hour period will result in half of an absence. In addition, everyone must go on one field trips to pass the course. If it is not possible to attend the field trip because of a time conflict, arrangements can be made, like visiting the location on your own, or doing a personal research paper.
    Reflections on weekly readings, the midterm and final are required. Unsatisfactory homework will not be counted. In addition, students must give one reflection on a weekly reading to the class.  The midterm and final will both be some sort of take-home paper or project.  

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