Jan 18, 2020  
2019-2020 UMaine Undergraduate Catalog 
2019-2020 UMaine Undergraduate Catalog

EES 351 - Energy, Wealth, and Power: a Biophysical Systems view of Nature and Society

Within the biophysical economics paradigm, energy is the unseen arbiter that drives ecological and economic processes. Biophysical systems of nature and human society are organized according to seemingly universal laws that govern the concentration, conversion, and degradation of energy over space and time. These laws explain historic patterns in ecological and societal evolution and provide a framework for responding to planetary crises of climate change, peak energy, and unpayable ecological debt. Students will apply biophysical systems principles of energy return on investment (EROI), energy hierarchy, transformity, embodied energy (eMergy), and maximum eMpower to better understand the past and better prepare for the future in a rapidly-degrading ecosphere. Students will read historic and current literature, participate in (and sometimes lead) interactive class discussions, and complete individual- or group-projects.

General Education Requirements: Population and the Environment

Prerequisites: Junior standing or instructors permission.

Course Typically Offered: Spring

Credits: 3