Fall 2021 environmental science, policy, management courses at UC Berkeley

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Lisi Ludwig/Senior Staff
Environmental science, policy and management courses being offered this fall explore how remote sensing, animal interaction and soil chemistry each contribute to the earth’s functions and reactions.

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ESPM C172, ESPM 150 005 and ESPM C128 are among the many UC Berkeley environmental science, policy and management, or ESPM, courses offered this fall.

ESPM C172, “Remote Sensing of the Environment,” will be taught by ESPM assistant professor Manuela Girotto. The course is intended for junior and senior undergraduate students to learn about the “basic physical concepts of remote sensing” in relation to various processes of the earth’s surface, according to the Berkeley Academic Guide.

Students will also be introduced to various satellite, airborne and ground instruments and their applications to examine environmental processes, Girotto noted.

Girotto explained that the course will be taught in person with a lab component. The in-person lectures will enable instructors to answer students’ live questions and monitor their screens.

In addition, Girotto noted that she is most excited about conversing with students and seeing them return to campus. Girotto added that she is looking forward to seeing students’ faces, as their expressions help her gauge their understanding of the course’s topics.

ESPM 150 005, “Thinking with Animals,” is offered in the fall through the “Special Topics in ESPM” series and will be taught by ESPM assistant professor Sunaura Taylor.

The course examines how centering focus on animals challenges human exceptionalism and traditional critical discourse, according to Taylor.

ESPM 150 005 will also define the concepts of animals and humans, examine the boundaries that lie between species and “denaturalize hierarchical taxonomies,” while recognizing the relational, political, imaginative and ethical implications when thinking with animals, according to Taylor.

“I’m excited about spending the semester thinking about animal studies with students!” Taylor said in an email. “It is an important field — particularly in a time of environmental crisis — and also a really fun one. I look forward to sharing that breadth of content with students.”

Additionally, ESPM assistant professor Laura Nielsen Lammers will be teaching ESPM C128, “Chemistry of Soils,” in the fall. Lammers called the course “an exciting introduction” to the chemical processes that regulate the natural environment.

ESPM C128 will start by introducing the fundamentals of soil chemistry, such as identifying reactions and building blocks in sediments and soils. Students will gain a “holistic understanding” of soil ecosystem services, Lammers added.

Due to the global challenge in greenhouse gas mitigation, Lammers described the need to understand soil chemistry as more critical than ever.

“I’m most excited to introduce to students the essential services that soils provide in our daily lives, as well as the key role soils will play in the coming decades to help us avert a climate catastrophe,” Lammers said in an email.

The course highlights the ways in which soils regulate the carbon cycle in addition to how sequestration and carbon storage in sediments and soils can be “enhanced” by altering management practices, according to Lammers.

ESPM C128 will be taught in person. Lammers noted that the in-person format will enable interactions among students when working on scientific problems together.

“My course involves a lot of team science problem solving,” Lammers said in an email. “Having in-person learning will facilitate the peer-peer interactions that are essential for solving major scientific challenges.”

Contact Rina Rossi at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @RinaRossi8.