Earth Ethics Institute
Miami Dade College
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Earth Literacy and Sustainability 1 Course Competencies


IDS 1153

This interdisciplinary course is designed to help students explore Earth Literacy and environmental sustainability. Students will learn principles of Earth Literacy and ecological sustainability, identify current issues in Earth ethics, and demonstrate an understanding of individual responsibility in contributing to a sustainable world through lectures, presentations, projects, guest presenters, and field experiences.

CREDIT HOURS: 3 lecture hours, transferable, part of the 24 hour elective block

PREREQUISITES: none; permission of Earth Ethics Institute


Course Competencies

The student will demonstrate an understanding of the principles of Earth Literacy and the basic components of a cosmology by: 

  • defining and exploring the basic principles of Earth Literacy

  • comparing and contrasting the principles of Earth Literacy with the prevailing scientific views on origins of the universe and operations of natural systems

  • defining cosmology and identifying factors that create and modify an individual's worldview

  • summarizing the connections between one’s worldview and nature

  •  examining one's own cosmogeny and evaluating its implications

The student will identify issues in Earth ethics facing the world today by:

        defining cultural paradigms; comparing and contrasting their roots and connections to patterns of consumption

        summarizing how loss of habitat, resource depletion and human population growth have ethical components

        defining environmental justice and its application to ecological issues

         explaining the concept of "the Commons" and the importance of equitable access

The student will demonstrate an understanding of the principles of ecological sustainability by:

  • defining ecological sustainability

  • describing the characteristics of an ecosystem; an ecological community; and ecological sustainability.

  • identifying strategies that communities, governments and businesses can use to become more environmentally friendly.

The student will explain the connections between consumption, waste and environment by:

  • comparing and contrasting methods of food production and their impact on the environment.

  • defining the basic National Organic Standard and what it means to be "certified organic."

  • describing the importance of access to clean water, soil and air.

  • comparing and contrasting methods of energy production and conservation and their impact on the environment.

  • explaining how lifestyle choices contribute to pollution and depletion of natural resources. .

The student will demonstrate an understanding of the role of individual responsibility and action in contributing to a sustainable world by:

  • defining roles of individual and community action in bringing about a healthier planet.

  • relating the role of service learning in influencing an individual’s sense of socio-environmental responsibility.

  • identifying and adopting at least three personal practices that move the student toward a more healthful, environmentally mindful lifestyle.

  • researching and appraising how systems are affected by individual and collective action.

  • bringing ecological awareness to both existing community groups and or any group of which one is a part.




  • IDS 1150  (3 credits / 12 points) will meet (Fall and / or Spring) in the classroom for 32 hours with 16 additional hours of required weekend field activities.

  • Students will apply for admission into this course through the Earth Ethics Institute so that students can be advised of the colloquium format and weekend field activity requirements. The permission of instruction shall consist of a personal interview with designated EEI faculty or administrator.

  • Class size shall be between 15-25 students in order to maximize instructor – student – student interaction.


Course activities in the colloquium format include but are not limited to:

  • guest presenters from the MDC faculty, EEI National Advisory Board, local environmental agencies and groups, and Environmental Fellowship alumni working in fields addressing areas of specialty including group dynamics, environmental economics, environmental issues in other nations, renewable resources, as well as specific South Florida environmental issues.

  • student presentations on selected cosmology readings

  • A council of All Beings using the John Seed/Joanna Macy model

        sustainable agriculture-focused Saturday trips to natural food markets,
Coconut Grove Farmers’ Market, and organic farms in the Redlands

        bioregional-focused weekend trips to Everglades National Park (both Shark Valley and Homestead entrances) and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary (Immokalee)

        capstone student team presentations on a selected topic; students present, facilitate and peer review the 45-60min presentation

        presentation of service experiences and / or recognition of outstanding service by the Fellows

        at least one meeting, either in the classroom or in the field, for students in all sections of IDS 1920 across the College to share their learning experiences

        suitable Earth Literacy textbooks and reading materials are currently under review


Students will be evaluated on their mastery of course competencies through the following:

        unit exams

        oral presentations on selected cosmology readings. Students will be evaluated on their ability to relate the reading to the principles of Earth Literacy and to create questions for the ensuing discussion.

        a course journal with weekly topics provided by the instructor

        a 45-60 minute small group, technology-mediated presentation on a mutually agreed upon topic. This presentation will be evaluated by the instructor and other students by means of evaluation rubrics.

        an essay final exam



 Chandra links pulsar to historic supernova 


Earth Ethics Institute • An Earth Literacy Resource Center Serving MDC Administrators, Faculty, Staff,  and Students, as well as the South Florida Community
Miami Dade College • 300 N.E. 2nd Avenue, Room 1201, Miami, FL 33132-2204 • t: 305-237-3796 • f: 305-237-7724