Offered in 2016


Engaged Ecology

Ecology is the study of relationships between organisms and their environments. But what about the practice associated with the study? Many of us sense that we live in a critical time for the future of the planet, yet we’re unsure how to act. This course examines our environmental predicament with the goal of figuring out how to fix it.

Using “ground-truthing” to discover a place worth saving, we will examine new approaches to our old ideas about nature. Expect no easy answers, and know that personal strategies will vary. Together we may not solve the climate crisis, but we will form a clearer idea of where we stand in reclaiming our environmental destiny.

A $59 discount will be applied automatically for adults 55+.

Currently not available for registration.

What will I learn?

Week 1: Nature is here.

Ecology is a relatively new term but its roots date back thousands of years to the idea that everything is connected, and we are nature too.

Week 2: Wilderness is within.

We don’t have to go to remote areas to find wilderness places worth saving when the wild still roams in our midst, including within our own minds and bodies.

Week 3: Cities are alive.

Cities are the problem, burning through the Earth’s resources and creating waste, so cities must be the solution.

Week 4: The Earth is our witness.

Ground-truthing as a way to understand the ecology of a place is a simple practice with profound implications for rediscovering nature all around us.

Week 5: We have the right to clean air, pure water, healthy soil.

Nature meets politics when we search for legitimacy in deciding to act for a greener planet.

Week 6: Engaged ecology creates a community.

No hero works alone, so in the final week we discuss what we’ve learned about ecology and action to see how common cause brings people together.


How will I learn?

  • Lectures
  • Discussion (may vary from class to class)
  • Papers (applicable only to certificate students)

How will I be evaluated?

For certificate students only:

Your instructor will evaluate you based on an essay, which you will complete at the end of the course. You will receive a grade of “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.”

Textbooks and learning materials

Reading material (if applicable) will be available in class. Some course materials may be available online.

If you're 55+, you may take this course as part of

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