Economics and the Earth's Environment

Economics and the Earth's Environment Domain (54 credits)

Mentor

jeanne [dot] paquette [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca (Jeanne Paquette) , 514-398-4402
Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences

This Domain is open only to students in the BA Faculty Program in Environment.

How does economics influence the decisions we make as a society about resource extraction and waste management?

The resources necessary for human society are extracted from the Earth, used as raw materials in our factories and refineries, and then returned to the Earth as waste. Human society is dependent upon geological processes and the resources they produce. Our use of resources creates waste, and geologic processes determine the fate of wastes in the environment. Understanding Earth's geologic processes provides us with the knowledge to mitigate many of our society's environmental impacts due to resource extraction and waste disposal. This knowledge is not always enough because economics in society often plays a controlling role in how we use and abuse our environment. Economics frequently affects what energy sources power our society and how our wastes are treated. Economics also contributes to our understanding of how we value Earth's environment. Earth sciences and economics are essential for our understanding of the many mechanisms that affect Earth's environment.

This domain educates students in the fundamentals of each discipline. The student's education in economics provides the fundamentals of this discipline and their application to the resultant effects of economic choices on Earth's environment. Examples of these applications include the economic effects of public policy towards resource industries and methods of waste disposal, and the potential effects of global warming on the global economy. Students learn of minerals, rocks, soils and waters which define much of Earth's environment and how these materials interact with each other and with the atmosphere. Courses in specific subdisciplines of Earth Sciences combined with courses presenting a global vision of how the Earth and its environment operate provide the student with the necessary knowledge of geologic processes. Examples of this knowledge include the effects of mineral and energy extraction on the environment and how industrial waste interacts with solids and liquids in the environment. The Earth Science and economics pedagogic paths merge in the final year when the students apply what they have learned in the domain to current environmental issues. In addition, students are required to take an introductory-level Ecology course, and have options to take courses in Sociology, Anthropology, Geography, Biology, Engineering and Law that are relevant to the Domain.

Pre-requisite or Co-requisite Courses for Program

To graduate from the Faculty Program in Environment, students are required to complete two pre-/co-requisite courses. These courses should be completed by the end of your U1 year. These 100-level courses, if taken exclusively for the purpose of fulfilling this program pre-/co-requisite requirement, may be taken using the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Option. Contact Kathy Roulet, the MSE Program Adviser for more information.

Numeracy course:
One of the following courses, or equivalent (e.g. CEGEP objective OOUN) -
MATH 139 - Calculus 1 with Precalculus
MATH 140 - Calculus 1

AND Science course:
One of the following science courses, or equivalent(e.g. CEGEP objective Chemistry OOUL) -
AECH 110 - General Chemistry 1 (M)
CHEM 110 - General Chemistry 1
Note: freshman chemistry is the pre-req for one of the domain's Required courses, EPSC 210


See also Student Resources for information concerning:

  • Majors and Domains
  • Suggested First Year courses
  • Taking courses Outside your Faculty or on the "Other" campus (Science students, in particular, need to be aware of the Restricted Courses list)
  • ENVR course sections - beware!
  • Numeracy requirement for B.A. Faculty Program Environment students
  • Statistics course(s) overlap
  • Your Faculty's Student Affairs Office


Program Requirements

NOTE: Students are required to take a maximum of 34 credits at the 200 level and a minimum of 12 credits at the 400 level or higher in this program. This includes Core and Required courses.

Core: Required Courses (18 credits)

ENVR 200 - The Global Environment
ENVR 201 - Society,Environ&Sustainability
ENVR 202 - The Evolving Earth
ENVR 203 - Knowledge, Ethics&Environment
ENVR 301 - Environmental Research Design
ENVR 400 - Environmental Thought

Core: Complementary Course — Senior Research Project
(3 credits*)

AEBI 427 - Barbados Interdisc Project (6 cr) (M) (in Barbados)
AGRI 519 - Sustainable Development Plans (6 cr) (M) (in Barbados)
ENVR 401 - Environmental Research (3 cr)
ENVR 451 - Research in Panama (6 cr) (in Panama)
* Only 3 credits will be applied to the program; extra credits will count as electives.

Domain: Required courses (15 credits)

ECON 230D1 - Microeconomic Theory
ECON 230D2 - Microeconomic Theory
ECON 405 - Natural Resource Economics
EPSC 210 - Introductory Mineralogy
EPSC 240 - Geology in the Field

Domain: Complementary courses (18 credits)

3 credits of Statistics:
AEMA 310 - Statistical Methods 1 (M)
GEOG 202 - Statistics & Spatial Analysis
MATH 203 - Principles of Statistics 1
or equivalent such as PSYC 204 - Intro to Psychological Stats
6 credits of Economics:
AGEC 333 - Resource Economics (M)
ECON 209 - Macroeconomic Analysis&Applic
ECON 326 - Ecological Economics (offered on both campuses)
ECON 347 - Economics of Climate Change
ECON 416 - Topics in Econ Development 2
ECON 511 - Energy, Economy & Environment
9 credits of Advanced Courses chosen from two Areas:
Area 1: Development / Environmental Management
*Note: You can take ENVB 529 or GEOG 201 but not both; you can take BIOL 451 or NRSC 451 but not both; you can take ANTH 451 or GEOG 451 but not both.
AEBI 423 - Sustainable Land Use (M) (in Barbados)
AGRI 550 - Sustained Tropical Agriculture (M) (in Panama)
ANTH 451 - Res in Society & Dev in Africa * (in Africa)
BIOL 451 - Res in Ecol&Develop in Africa * (in Africa)
ECON 305 - Industrial Organization
ECON 313 - Economic Development 1
ECON 314 - Economic Development 2
ECON 408 - Public Sector Economics 1
ECON 409 - Public Sector Economics 2
ENVB 437 - Assessing Environmental Impact (M)
ENVB 529 - GIS for Natural Resource Mgmt * (M)
ENVR 421 - Mtl:Envr Hist & Sustainability (offered alternate years)
ENVR 422 - Mtl Urban Sustainability Anal (offered alternate years)
GEOG 201 - Intro Geo-Information Science *
GEOG 302 - Environmental Management 1
GEOG 404 - Environmental Management 2 (in Africa, Panama)
GEOG 451 - Res in Society & Dev in Africa * (in Africa)
GEOG 498 - Humans in Tropical Envirnmnts (in Panama)
HIST 510 - Enviro. Hist. of L. Am (Field) (in Panama)
MIME 320 - Extraction of Energy Resources
NRSC 451 - Res in Ecol&Develop in Africa * (M) (in Africa)
URBP 507 - Planning and Infrastructure (in Barbados)
URBP 520 - Globaliz: Planning & Change (in Barbados)
Area 2: Environmental Resources
*Note: You can take BREE 217 or GEOG 322 but not both; you can take ENVB 305 or BIOL 308 but not both.
AGRI 452 - Water Resources in Barbados (M) (in Barbados)
BIOL 308 - Ecological Dynamics *
BREE 217 - Hydrology and Water Resources * (M)
ENVB 305 - Population & Community Ecology * (M)
EPSC 355 - Sedimentary Geology (offered alternate years)
EPSC 549 - Hydrogeology
GEOG 305 - Soils and Environment
GEOG 322 - Environmental Hydrology *
SOIL 300 - Geosystems (M)