Environmental Philosophies & Ethics

EVR 3020

CRN 11672

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Division of Marine and Ecological Sciences

College of Arts & Sciences


Fort Myers, FL




Edward T. "Terry" Wimberley, Ph.D.

Professor, Ecological Studies

259 Whitaker Hall

239.590.7752 (FGCU)

239.405-4164 (Cell)


Office Hours: Thursday, 9:00-10:00 am and 2:00p.m. - 4:00 p.m. & By Appointment

Plagiarism Warning

APA Citations and References

Course Summary & Objectives

Over the past three decades a new area of philosophical study has emerged — environmental philosophy. Philosophers have turned to the environment in practical response to the multitude of ecological problems modern industrial society has spawned. This course will examine several such pressing environmental issues, principally employing pragmatic philosophical methodologies. After having pragmatic approaches to environmental philosophy and policy we will survey the major approaches philosophers and theoreticians have adopted to address a range of environmental problems. This will take us through an inquiry regading anthropocentrism and the concept of “moral community,” i.e., the realm of objects (human “persons”, members of other species, places, things) entitled to moral consideration. We will also examine several so-called ‘radical’ ecological movements whose proponents maintain that the only way to resolve the current spate of environmental problems is by fundamentally transforming modern society and revising how we look at the human-nature relationship. Finally, the course will also explore the impact of two key economic philosophers (A.F. Hayek and John Maynard Keynes) upon our modern attitudes toward sustaining the environment. Objectives include:

  1. Acquainting students with the "history" of ideas from which historical and modern environmental philosophies and ethics emanate. 
  2. Equiping students with critical thinking skills required to analyze complex environmental / ecological issues and to make informed ethical decisions.
  3. Providing students with systematic tools for pragmatically analyzing and comparing various options for action in terms of their ethical implications and consequences.
  4. Enabling students to more consistently replace uncritical bias with reflective consideration in weighing issues of ethical concern
  5. Familiarizing students with economic theory and philosophy as they relate to our modern attitudes toward sustaining the environment.
  6. Enabling student to utilize the APA documentation method to reflect where they draw the material they incorporate into their written assignments.

Texts & Course Requirements

Minteer, Ben (2012) Refounding Environmental Ethics: Pragmatics, Principle and PracticePhiladelphia, PA: Temple University Press. ISBN-10: 1439900841

Wimberley, Edward T. (2009) Nested Ecology: The Place of Humans in the Ecological Hierarchy. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN-10: 0801892899

Competency Exam & Grading

The competency exam will consist of either a set of essay questions or a case study problem handed out during the final class meeting. Exam answers should be prepared with the same care you would take in writing a term paper. Exams will be graded on the basis of grammatical quality (sentence structure, punctuation, spelling), as well as substantive quality. There will also be a strict page limit. You will have one week to complete the exam. All exam answers must be written in Word or in a Rich Text Format and submitted to the instructor by Canvas email submission. All submissions of exams and homework shall specifically tell the instructor the title of the assignment being submitted and this should appear in the Subject box of the email message. No homework may be turned in by typing it directly into the memo field of the email.

Course Essay:

Students are required to complete a course essay on the controversy surrounding climate change and do so entirely from a video perspective. To that each student will be required to watch a total of 13 required videos from below and 1 optional video for a total of 14 videos (* indicates films that "absolutely must be watched!"). Essays must reflect an open minded attitude toward all sides of this issue and must not reflect any preconceptions on your part one way or the other. The essay should reflect both sides of the issue and only come to a conclusion at the end with your candid statement of how the films have influenced your opinion on this issue. The essay MUST conclude, however, with a clear and succinct statement of your own ecological philosophy as it pertains to this issue of climate change. Students are required to present their paper's in a five minute presentation during sessions 13 and 14.

Al Gore Videos: (Watch at least 2 of these videos)

Pro Anthropocentric Global Warming Videos: (Watch at least 4 of these videos)

Anti-Anthropogenic Global Warming Videos: (Watch at least 4 of these videos)

Two-Sided Debates on Climate Change: (Watch at least 2 of these videos)

Climate Change: Science or Religion? (Watch at least 1 video)


Climategate: (Optional)

Climate Change Wit and Wisdom (good stuff!) (Optional)

Essays must be well researched and include citations and references in APA format. The class essay should be no more than 30 pages in length nor any shorter than 20 pages (including references), double spaced with 1 inch margins. It should be typed in Arial font using font size 10. The essay should include a cover page which will include the student's name, the date, the course identification and the student's email address in the upper left corner of the cover page. In the center of the page should be the title of the paper. All pages in the essay must be numbered with the number appearing in the bottom, center of each page. Essays are due in Canvas Email no later than Sunday at 5 pm, the final day of class session 12.

Study Questions & Homework

The principle purpose of weekly homework is to insure students read the assigned materials, view videos and show up in class prepared. Students who regualarly do so and submit thoughtful work cited and referenced in APA style can generally expect to recieve full credit for their work. Students participating in class sessions will, on a weekly basis, prepare their homework assignments and post their responses on the course lesson board by 5:00 p.m. on the Sunday evening immediately following each on-campus class meeting.  However, all reading assigned for each class session must be completed prior to the beginning of each class meeting on campus to insure that all students are prepared to participate in the class discussion. All posted attachments must be in Word or rich text format.  Content written into or cut and pasted into the memo-field of the drop box will not be graded. All work must be attached as a Word or rich text format document. The instructor will review the responses and the homework posted Canvas email as an attachment.


Typically, students should be prepared to spend 2 - 3 hours of preparation & study for every 1 hour of classroom time. This formula, which applies to general time commitment for both classroom and distant learners, should yield approximately 6 to 9 hours of course effort weekly. Some week's assignments may entail less time investment, while other class periods may entail more effort.  


Final semester grades for this course will be based on several criteria. Throughout the semester, grades will be assigned on a numerical basis. Only in determining the final semester grade will the numerical grades be translated to letter grades. The total possible points amounts to 1000, distributed as follows:

Grade Breakdown


Course Requirements

Point Totals

Grade %




Course Exam

500 points





Final Class Paper

200 points






300 points






1,000 points


Students can earn an additional 2% course credit by completing the SALG evaluation form, scanning it into a pdf form and emailing it to the instructor at twimber@comcast.net. If you are using a Mac you can download "Type On PDF" to complete the assessment form. If you are using a computer utilizing a Microsoft base you can download "Soda PDF" or "PDFill Pdf Editor." All three of these applications can be downloaded for free.

Missing (i.e. nonparticipation or inadequate participation in class activities on the course lesson board) for 3 classes or more without instructor permission will result in students being withdrawn from the class. Homework submitted later than 5:00 p.m. on the final date of each class  will will be considered late homework and will not be credited toward class attendance and participation. The instructor is not obligated to grade your assignments. Distance learning course are considered to operate over a seven day week period. The rationale for this rather strict policy is quite simply that the total volume of the instructor's students in three classes makes it impossible for the professor to keep abreast of the weekly homework unless the student places the homework in the drop box so designated. Likewise, with many students and courses proceeding simultaneously in distance format the instructor simply lacks the time to search all over the web for your homework.


Grading Scale


























59% and Below



For students taking this course as a distance learning course, text and case study homework submitted later than 5:00 p.m. on the final date of the class session will will be considered late homework and will not be credited toward class attendance and participation, otherwise homework is due before each class. Distance learning courses are considered to operate over a seven day week period. NOTE: For all students, course assignments and schedule, course objectives, and grading criteria, distributions and weights may change as circumstances dictate and at the discretion of the instructor.

Attendance Policy

Attend class weekly online, participate in class, and submit homework on a regular basis. Students must participate fully during each class session. Attendance is also measured in terms of turning in homework in a timely fashion. In every case, students must answer weekly assigned questions and post their responses to all questions before class commences weekly. Students failing to log on to the course lesson board and successfully submit their homework on a weekly basis will be dropped from the course.  

From time to time students may be required to attend one or more personal conferences with the instructor. Whenever feasible, the consultation should happen in person at FGCU. However, if distance proves to be an obstacle then students may be required to meet at an off-campus location or to schedule and attend a telephone conference with the instructor. These conferences contribute toward the student's attendance and participation grade. Students do not have the option of not attending conferences when the instructor so instructs them to. Students failing to attend conferences can expect to experience a significant reduction in credit for their participation and attendance portion of the grade, or may be awarded an incomplete grade that can revert to an F if the student continues to refuse participating in a student/faculty conference.

Finally, it is important for all students to remain cognizant that all of their interactions with the instructor must maintain a civil, respectful and cordial tone. Incivility, rudeness and disrespect directed toward the instructor will not be tolerated. Students may be asked to withdraw from the class if they cannot honor this expectation, and can expect to see significant deductions to the attendance and participation portion of their grade.

Consequently, attendance and participation consists of (1) regular online and weekly classroom attendance in the class (2) regular online and classroom participation in the class as demonstrated by the regular and timely submission of complete homework / exams and the demonstrated capacity to convince the instructor that one has read all text and web assignments and is prepared to discuss them in class, (3) regular and appropriate posting of homework on Canvas email appropriate format, (4) meeting all criteria for homework submission, such as use of APA citations and references, (4) prompt attention to email and telephone messages from the instructor, (5) attendance and civil participation in all scheduled consultation meetings. Failure to comply with any of these factors will result in a reduction in credit for this portion of the course at the discretion of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

All assignments must include citations for each question sufficient enough for the instructor to determine where the answers were drawn from, as well as complete references at the end of each question set. Citations and references must be in APA style. I will expect every student to be familiar with this approach since it is taught in virtually every middle school and high school in the U.S. So, in the interest of not losing any course credit and to insure you don't find yourself plagiarizing any of your work, you would be strongly advised to purchase this book and learn how to cite and reference appropriately from the onset.Answers and questions must be included in homework, to include the correct numbering of assigned questions. Any work that has been copied verbatim from a source or that has been "cut and pasted" as responses to questions will be ignored. Such verbatim responses included in work that is not fully cited and referenced will be considered to be plagiarized and the student will receive an F for the course. All work submitted must be written in the student's own words.

APA Documentation Method:

I strongly encourage every student to take the time to complete the following online APA Citation and Reference Tutorial offered by Harvard University. One of the objectives of this class is that you learn how to use the APA documentation style. You can learn everything you need to know about how to use this method by studying the material at the following sites. Please understand that any of your discussion questions or your student presentation papers that are lacking in complete APA styled documentation will be returned to you and will not be graded until they are in order.

APA Documentation Aids:

Citation Styles: APA (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

APA Crib Sheet (Georgia Southern University)

Citations in the APA Style (Indiana University)

Citing Sources Using APA Manual (6th ed.)

APA Samples for a Bibliography from the Ithaca College Library

APA Guide to Electronic Resources

APA Guide, Concordia University Library

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding APA Style

APA Tutorial: The Basics of APA Style

APA Tutorial (Harvard)