Future Courses

  • Innovative technologies in sustainable agriculture and food production
  • Water –hydro(geo)logy, technology, economics, sociology and politics
  • Renewable energy site analysis, system design, and installation
  • Sustainable urban design[0] Insert you content here [/0]
  • SEED Literacy Courses: Ronnie Lipschutz, Politics Department, UCSC

SEED 2A: Scientific and Sociological Literacy for Sustainability: Problem solving the energy conundrum  Syllabus

Energy is ubiquitous. Energy is used by everyone. But what is it, exactly? From where does it come? How much energy is there, of what kinds and where? How do we use energy? Why does it cost so much? And could we use less and not suffer a lowering of our standard of living?

This is a 5-unit course designed to introduce students to and train them in technological and sociological literacy as a prelude to more in-depth study of issues related to sustainability. The focus of the course is problem solving energy. Assignments consist of a number of problem sets and several short papers.

The course provides an overview the technical-scientific, quantitative and social aspects of energy production and consumption through a problem-solving approach. It will introduce concepts associated with energy, such as the Three Laws of Thermo-dynamics, quantitative and qualitative measurements and indicators (what’s the difference between an erg and a watt, and which energy source is of greatest quality), how to calculate and transform energy stocks and flows, and other matters. The course will also address political, sociological and economic understandings of energy, its uses, flows and conservation: determining the costs of various types of energy; energy as a social project; conservation; pollution; greenhouse gas emissions, etc. At the end of the tutorial, you should have sufficient working knowledge and skills to be able to do straightforward calculations, discuss why we are so dependent on oil and explain what would be required to deploy a fully-renewable energy system.

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