Environmental Justice & Citizen Science

Environmental Justice & Citizen Science

Environmental Justice is concerned with making sure that (A) no community takes on an unfair share of environmental burdens and (B) environmental benefits are shared in an equitable way regardless of race, class, gender, or orientation. Citizen Science is a fast-growing field that can contribute to EJ work.

Introduction to Media Studies

How have contemporary media, such as comics, film, literature, video games, data visualization, and architecture, been used to shape popular conceptions of the environment, to challenge those conceptions and to propose radical alternatives? In this class, students will learn to analyze media representations of the earth, nature, sustainability, wildlife and wilderness in creative work across domains: a film by Hayao Miyazaki, a short story by Ursula K.

The Rhetorics and Poetics of Dirt

This course asks students to examine what we talk about when we talk about “dirt,” and how do the things we communicate about dirt change its presence in our lives. The major assignments facilitate learning goals through four units: dirt vs. soil, earthworks, dirt stories, and trendy dirt. The primary texts in this course will largely deal with a North American perspective on dirt. We will engage with American film (ex: Grapes of Wrath, Waterworld, Noma, Interstellar, The Martian, the Mad Max megaverse), and contemporary American literature.

Proctor Creek Wildlife Assessment Course

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is collaborating with Georgia Tech's College of Sciences and Serve-Learn-Sustain Program to create a summer course that introduces students to ecological monitoring techniques through collecting wildlife data within the Proctor Creek watershed. Located less than a mile from Georgia Tech's campus, the historic Proctor Creek neighborhood has been the focus of a community-led effort to restore streams within the watershed.

Ecology Lab

Ecology Lab covers basic ecological phenomenon using urban ecological settings as the backdrop. As a class, we visit areas in the metro-Atlanta community to understand human-environment interactions within our ecosystem. We immerse ourselves in these communities to understand the short- and long-term consequences of environmental change and what ecologically can be done to keep ecosystems-- and related neighborhoods-- thriving.

Semester in the City: Engaging Westside Communities

“Semester in the City” seeks to familiarize students with nearby Westside communities that have historically faced, and continue to face serious sustainability challenges – even as they continue to develop significant strategies for positive change.  Students learn how ecological, social, and economic systems have operated in these neighborhoods and explore how policy and community mobilization approaches might be re-envisioned to improve liveability.

Chemical Principles II Laboratory

The laboratory portion of this course focuses on foundational principles and essential techniques of chemistry.  These conceptual and technical tools have great relevance to many issues of importance to society, including climate change, human health, economic security, and more. SLS-related experiments in CHEM 1211K will be related to five threads of sustainability in chemistry: Green Chemistry, Chemistry and Society, Everyday Chemical Analysis, Computational Chemistry, and Climate Change.

Regenesis Case Study: Chemical Safety & Ethics in Relation to Communities

This tool explores the principle that environmental health impacts are a function of the inherent risk multiplied by exposure. In chemical processes we have become better at managing inherent risk, but we also have a significant legacy of mismanagement. One such example occurred in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where local politician Harold Mitchell and community organization ReGenesis tackled the problem of their community's long-term exposure to hazardous waste.

The tool below uses a video of Rep. Mitchell to explain the events in Spartanburg. It explores how local chemical plants mismanaged and deliberately covered up risks, nearly leading to a chemical disaster that they were not equipped to contain. Through this activity, you will explore and discuss how chemical engineering professionals should respond to similar situations, and what responsibilities such professionals have to the communities around them.

Society, Equity, and Sustainability

SLS approaches sustainability as an integrated system, linking environment, economy, and society. As an initiative focused on “creating sustainable communities,” we especially emphasize the role that SOCIETY plays in sustainability – and particularly issues of social equity and community voice. You can see a visual outline of SLS’ approach to sustainable communities here. The purpose of this tool is to help students begin to understand the SOCIETY part of sustainability. It includes two exercises and resources for learning more.

Rodent Control

This is a collection of assignments around the problem of rodent infestation in cities, which has become a pressing problem following the mild winters in 2015-16. The assignments are designed to 1) develop mapping and data analysis skills, 2) give meaningful ideas for application prototyping, and 3) foster thinking about community engagement. This is based on an up-to-date (2017) dataset of rat sightings in New York City and an on-going collaboration between Georgia Tech and the community of English Avenue.