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Signature Courses


SC Conservation

01:450:214 (4 credits)
Core: CC, SCL
Professor Richard Schroeder, Geography

What do we owe the future? The amount of land contained in conservation areas has more than tripled worldwide over the past three decades, now enclosing roughly 12% of the earth’s land surface. Despite this massive intervention, countless species of plants and animals are rapidly declining to the point of extinction, as are valuable habitats that support human populations.

Why do parks and protected areas so regularly fail in their mission to protect the environment? Are they just poorly designed, or do they suffer because of local resistance? Do we need more parks, or fewer? What else can be done? And, who should do it? Global organizations? Governments? Environmental organizations? Local people? Is stewardship a moral obligation? Is conservation necessary? Should we focus on human needs, or on nature's? Which humans? Which nature? Can we afford not to do both?

“Conservation” considers the scientific, moral, political, and economic dimensions of the 21st century global challenge of balancing nature conservation and human needs, and the debates surrounding whether and how to do this.

This course is particularly recommended for students who intend to pursue majors or minors in geography, anthropology, area studies, biological sciences, chemistry, ecology, economics, geological sciences, philosophy, political science, and public policy. It carries credit toward the major and minor in geography. Conservation can be used to meet the SAS Core Curriculum goals in 21st Century Challenges [21C] and Social Analysis [SCL].

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