Global Environmental Sustainability Courses

Advisor hours: By appointment (970) 492-4070 | Johnson Hall room 131

GES 101- Foundations of Global Environmental Sustainability

GES-101 provides an interdisciplinary analysis of the issues associated with applying the concepts, foundations, and metrics of global environmental sustainability applied to global challenges within the fields of environmental sciences in agricultural, urban and rural contexts. The course will first explore the historical development of "sustainability" as a concept and it will then look at how the concept of sustainability has influenced real-world practice in various sectors such as health, agriculture, natural resource management, poverty reduction, and other relevant areas of study.

GES 141 - Introduction to Sustainable Energy

This course, worth 3 credits, combines an overview of energy-related science with the societal, economic, and environmental aspects of energy. The science portion of the course will cover fossil fuels, alternative fuels, extraction, generation, distribution, and storage. The societal context of energy will focus on human behavior, political constraints, and geographic considerations.  The course will also cover the environmental impacts of energy production and use, as well as the economics of energy.  The concepts of sustainability will be introduced as a unifying theme for considering our energy future.

You will be able to:

  • Understand the science of all major types of energy.
  • Understand the relevance of science to energy-related problems and questions.
  • Understand how to evaluate the sustainability of energy resources.
  • Evaluate the pros and cons of a current energy issue in the news.

GES 441 - Analysis of Sustainable Energy Solutions

Energy as a critical resource and its connection to climate change, food production, and water resources. This course examines methods of evaluating sustainable energy technologies, including life cycle assessment, energy return on investment, technoeconomic analysis, and political ecology.

GES 450 - Global Sustainability and Health

This new course is designed for undergraduate and graduate students from all backgrounds to explore current issues in sustainability and how they relate to individual, public and global health. Students will participate in didactic lectures, group discussions and mini projects that will both educate and empower them to understand the relationship between sustainability and health.

GES 460 - Law and Sustainability

This course is an introduction to the domestic and international laws that influence and interact with the implementation of sustainability in the U.S. and abroad.

Course Learning Objectives
Students successfully completing this course will be able to:

  • Describe the role of courts, caselaw, and precedent in the implementation of laws relevant to sustainability.
  • Discuss and describe the major provisions of relevant environmental, natural resource, and international laws that affect sustainability.
  • Identify and discuss some of the most important US Supreme Court cases that influence the interpretation, implementation, and execution of environmental laws and regulations.
  • Know how to research caselaw and laws for academic or professional purposes.
  • Clearly express opinions on the relationship of law and policy to sustainability principles.

GES 470- Applications of Environmental Sustainability

This course will integrate and apply the foundations of environmental sustainability (the environmental, social, and economic dimensions) to achieve a holistic understanding of environmental issues, practices and problem solving. These three dimensions will serve as the sustainability foundations for the course.  Students will learn and apply tools for assessing environmental issues and best practices for working in interdisciplinary teams.  Case studies demonstrating sustainability principles will be evaluated through discussion and writing, and students will conduct a team project that addresses and dissects an important issue related to global environmental sustainability.  Finally, students will assess their personal academic program (Interdisciplinary Minor) in sustainability, and set goals for their future sustainability endeavors.

GES 520- Issues in Global Environmental Sustainability

GES-520 is a graduate level course open to all graduate students across campus. Like GES 470, this course covers a range of topics in sustainability. While similar to GES 101 in overall format, the course accepts a much smaller class size and delves more deeply into a smaller set of topics. Graduate students read from a range of primary literature as a basis for class discussions and lectures. The students develop an understanding of the complexity of problems in sustainability and how to place these issues in a context that structures solutions in economic and social frameworks.

Students complete individual assignments throughout the course and also complete two group projects. The first project involves outreach. With the diversity of student disciplines in the course, the method and subject of the outreach is deliberately broad. For example in Spring 2014, students worked with staff from the Rocky Mountain Institute to address societal benefits for the City of Fort Collins Greenhouse Gas action plan. As part of the group projects, one student group worked with campus organizations on ways to address energy efficiency in rental properties.

For more information on the education programs and courses offered by the School of Global Environmental Sustainability, please contact Dale Lockwood, SoGES Educational Coordinator, at or by calling (970) 492-4070