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Environmental Sociology


The technology we need most badly is the technology of community—the knowledge about how to cooperate to get things done.    There is no way forward, at least if we’re serious about preventing the worst ecological nightmares, that doesn’t involve working together politically to make changes deep enough and rapid enough to matter.

Bill McKibben, NY Review of Books, Nov 16, 2006: 25

sailboats in a harbor at night

Gloucester, MA



Environmental Sociology examines the interaction between nature and society—how lives are shaped by environmental conditions and, in turn, how social decisions impact the environment. We explore the role of government, the economy, and social institutions in causing and/or addressing environmental crises. We also study how social inequalities (class, race, gender, ethnicity) operate in the creation and aftermath of environmental disasters. We define environmental justice and consider how it might be realized.

Environmental Sociology is an elective course in both the Environment and Society minor and the forthcoming Climate Change/Sustainability minors. Both minors are supported by UML’s Climate Change Initiative



  • Students will master relevant concepts including world-systems theory and zones of destruction; treadmills of production and consumption; population and demographics, externalities, and social determinants of environmental health.
  • Students will become familiar with a range of environmental news sources.
  • Students will learn to map environmental networks in a geographic community.
  • Students will design a climate change project appropriate for college campuses.