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Ecology, Economics, and Ethics Bulletin Board, Fall 2014


Edition #15: 12/9/2014

The due date for the experiential learning assignment has been deferred until on or before the end of the day on Wednesday, December 17. 


Our class session on December 10 will be devoted to the final presentations of your term projects.  We will present in the same order that we used on December 3 for our rehearsals.


In class on December 3, I referred to a sample social science paper to illustrate a model for the format of your final paper. Use your College English handbook to guide your formatting of the final paper.


Edition #14.1: 12/1/2014

Below is the agenda for our class on December 3:


Part IWorkshop on term research papers and presentations. In seminar format, we will discuss each student's project and the theory and substance contained within it to draw out its potential. The discussion provides a group learning opportunity.


Part IIEach student will orally rehearse a short preliminary presentation of the final work. PowerPoint slide shows are welcome but not required. We will constructively critique each others' work.


Please examine a sample paper for its format.


Paul Rosolie's being eaten by an anaconda will be broadcast on the Discovery Channel at 9 P.M. on Sunday, December 7. Paul has been sighted recently, so he is alright.


Edition #13: 11/13/2014

Our agenda for class on November 19 is:

  1. Announcement and attendance
  2. End PowerPoint presentation: Economics of sustainability
  3. Break
  4. PowerPoint presentation on Sachs: Fairness in a Fragile World
  5. Discussion of draft of term paper project and closure of Ecology, Economics and Ethics: Be prepared to provide a status report.
  6. Adjournment 


Edition #12: 11/6/2014

You should be sending me your response to the essay on the Story of Stuff if you have not done so yet. You should be working on your term paper draft now. Please be prepared to discuss your progress and status in class on November 12. 


Our agenda for class on November 12 is:

  1. Announcement and attendance
  2. Overview of  essay on Story of Stuff
  3. My PowerPoint presentation on intersection of economics and sustainability
  4. Break
  5. Resume PowerPoint presentation on intersection of economics and sustainability
  6. Discuss draft of term paper: progress and status 
  7. Set up for Sachs, Fairness in a Fragile World article
  8. Adjournment. 


I will be travelling from late Thursday until Sunday, but will review your essays shortly upon my return. 


Edition #11.1: 11/5/2014

Take a look at an article on the external costs of coal in China in the New York Times 11/5/2014: Counting the Varied Costs of China’s Dependence on Coal by Becky Davis. We will explore the article in class.


Our agenda for class on November 5 is:

  1. Announcements, roster
  2. Overview of  essay on Story of Stuff
  3. DVD: Economics of Happiness as a gateway to the intersection of economics and sustainability  
  4. Break
  5. Economic Strategies for Sustainability, PowerPoint presentation
  6. Set up implementation of term paper draft
  7. How to approach Sachs, Fairness in a Fragile World
  8. Adjournment 


Edition #10.1: 10/29/2014

Our agenda for our class on October 29 is:

  1. Announcements and roster
  2. End  Story of Stuff and Story of Cosmetics 
  3. Break
  4. Economic Strategies for Sustainability
  5. Summers Memo 
  6. Discussion on paper on Story of Stuff
  7. Next week and adjournment 

See the Bloomberg article on why oil will rise to $100/barrel, especially the section on marginal costs. 


Edition #9.1: 10/22/2014

Please try to attend the Sustainability Day events at the Trustees Pavilion from 9:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.


Our agenda for our class on October 22 is:

  1. Debrief on last class and on Sustainability Day
  2. Announcements and roster
  3. Discussion of Story of Stuff and my notes: See the course schedule
  4. Break and consultation
  5. Resume discussion of Story of Stuff
  6. Overview of term paper proposals 
  7. Next week: Economic Strategies for Sustainability
  8. Adjournment 


 The Department of Defense has commissioned a report on the military aspects of climate change, summarized by high-level strategists in an article in Politico. I give heed to military reports and their strategic insights.


Edition #8: 10/2/2014

Our agenda for class on October 8 is:

  1. Announcements and roster
  2. Confirmation of the revision of the schedule 
  3. Video of Story of Stuff and discussion of the materials cycle
  4. Break
  5. Story of Stuff, Introduction and notes
  6. Story of Stuff, Extraction and notes 
  7. Companion video,  The Story of Cosmetics 
  8. Next week and adjournment.


Examine a map of the recent spread of drought in the American southwest. 


Edition #7: 10/2/2014

The changes we ratified have been embedded in a revised schedule, now live on our class web site. They are:

1. The 16-point paper on the intersection of economics and sustainability has been cancelled, although all of the substance will still be delivered.

2. We will give greater emphasis on the final paper and the presentation, although the due dates have not changed. The final version of the term paper now counts 32 points and expands to 12 pages (or more if needed). The presentation will count 10 points and will be rehearsed on December 3. I will provide more coaching for both the construction of the term paper and the presentation.

3. The term paper proposal now counts 10 points and is due on October 15.

4. Your response to the Story of Stuff and related material, now due on November 5, will count 16 points, reflected in the memo re-defining the assignment. The literature and thought that presents the intersection of economics and sustainability will accompany the review of Story of Stuff.


Edition #6.1: 10/1/2014

I have extended the due date for the term paper proposal to October 8. However, please be prepared to discuss your proposal on October 1.


Our agenda for our class of October 1 is:

  1. Announcements and attendance
  2. Discussion of proposed changes in class schedule and due dates for assignments
  3. Discussion of term paper proposals and topics 
  4. Wrap up Anthropocene
  5. Introduction to the origins and significance of the Brundtland Commission Report
  6. Break
  7. PowerPoint presentation on Brundtland Commission Report
  8. Start Story of Stuff
  9. Next week
  10. Adjournment and consultation. 


Take a glance at an article about the recently released  Coca Cola Global Sustainability Report. Such reports reflect the more general Corporate Social Responsibility reports and are often externally validated.


Edition #5: 9/23/2014

Meghan Dransfield, a student in my Environmental Internship, works with the Mahwah Environmental Volunteer Organization (MEVO). She is organizing a fall trash clean-up to take illegal dumping out of Stag Hill.


If you wish to participate in a fine Course Enrichment Component project, meet at the Ramapough Lunaape Community Center at 189 Stag Hill Road, Mahwah, NJ, on Saturday, September 27th 10 A.M. to 4 P.M.


See the description at the MEVO Facebook page.


Edition #4: 9/18/2014

We have some catching up to do at our class meeting on September 24. Our agenda is:

  1. Announcements and current events:  the climate movementcoal, Scotland plebiscite, Alibaba, and the Oxford Institute for New Economics among them
  2. Lecture and discussion of the Anthropocene
  3. Framing the significance of the Brundtland report and comparison to Keynesian Revolution  in economics
  4. Break
  5. Brundtland report, see schedule for September 17 
  6. Discussion of Course Enrichment Component and term paper topics
  7. Introduction to Story of Stuff 
  8. Set up for next week and adjournment. 


Edition #3.2: 9/17/2014

Remember that the due date for the Course Enrichment Component, the experimental learning log, has been pushed back to September 24. We will discuss the Course Enrichment Component in class on September 17. 


The schedule makes adjustments for our attendance of the film Disruption. The email message indicating your focus for the Course Enrichment Component and the term paper topic is deferred a week, until class time on September 24. At the same time, please provide a writing sample: a paper you have written in the last academic year. I will explain how to frame the Course Enrichment Component and the choice of topic for the term paper in class on September 17.


Our agenda for September 17 is:

  1. Announcements and attendance
  2. Workshop: How to frame the Course Enrichment Component and the topic for the term paper.
  3. Discussion of relevant literature, including the articles suggested for your review last week, below. I will discuss several important books in the history of thought for Ecology, Economics and Ethics: Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations; John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money; Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century; and Jorgen Randers, 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years, with special attention to the plebiscite on independence for Scotland on September 18. 
  4. Discussion of the Anthropocene;
  5. Break
  6. Lecture and discussion of the Brundtland Commission Report
  7. Set up for next class 


Edition #2.0: 9/5/2014

Please peruse several relevant articles and videos for our class meeting of September 9:

  1. BP was hit with a massive fine for the mega-spill in the Gulf, a case of the impact of Peak Oil. See Campbell Robertson And Clifford Krauss, BP May Be Fined Up to $18 Billion for Spill in Gulf, New York Times, September 4, 2014.
  2. I announced in our first class that we would follow the stock of several companies, including Tesla Motors. See the article Nevada a Winner in Tesla’s Battery Contest by Matthew L. Wald in the New York Times, September 4, 2014. Listen to a short video from Elon Musk's press conference. The Scientific American provides informative background.
  3. View the Bloomberg video coverage of the interest rate cuts installed by the President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi. Note that the Euro immediately lost about 1.5% of its value and will likely fall further. We will discuss the significance of this economic policy in class.
  4. While these are baby steps, the steps are in the right direction. Gues who is collaborating on sustainability in the all important realm of supply-chain management: Wal-Mart and Target. We need to discuss such ambiguities.
  5. View the initial Bloomberg coverage of the important, but disappointing, jobs report. We will discuss this briefly in class and connect it to our book of the week. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes. You can peruse the Gutenberg.net reprint, but I am not recommending it. I will explain how it fits with Ecology, Economics and Ethics in class.)


Edition #1.0: 9/2/2014

Welcome to Ecology, Economics, and Ethics, ENST30501, for the fall 2014 semester. Please see the course syllabus for a description of what happens here. The schedule provides a map for the unfolding of the course and will adapt to the flow of the semester.


Check this Bulletin Board in advance of each class meeting for notes and detailed agenda.  The agenda for our meeting on September 3 is:


  1. Introductions and roster check;
  2. Course material overview and discussion: Syllabus, Schedule, Bulletin Board; 
  3. Break and consultation; 
  4. Choice of Course Enrichment Component and how Ecology, Economics and Ethics relates to your career and lifestyle. See Joel Makower, Are students getting the sustainability skills they need?, GreenBiz, September 2, 2014.
  5. Ecology, Economics and Ethics as Writing Intensive: What to expect. 
  6. Overall discussion of course and expectations; 
  7. Next week's assignments: Hitana Bay and Anthropocene.


I look forward to meeting you in class on September 3. 


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