MAE 124/ESYS 103: Environmental Challenges: Science and Solutions

Spring 2011


Time and Place:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:00-10:50, Warren Lecture Hall 2005
Discussion section: Monday or Tuesday
Instructor: Professor Sarah Gille   e-mail:  sgille [at]
Office hours: by appointment. Also available before and after class and by e-mail.
Office on upper campus: 568 EBU2. phone: 858-822-4915.
Office at Scripps: Nierenberg Hall 348. phone: 858-822-4425. (Let me know that you're coming before stopping by. Please note that UCSD distinguishes between long-distance and local phone calls, and teaching funds do not include an extensive budget for long-distance phone calls. I rarely return phone calls to out-of-area phone numbers. E-mail may be a better way to get response.)

Midterm Exam: Friday, April 29, 10:00 am
Final Exam: Monday, June 6, 8:00-11:00 am, tentatively Warren Lecture Hall 2005
Please note that university policy does not allow you to reschedule exams for personal reasons.



This is a course in environmental sustainability and sustainable development.  We will examine environmental challenges including pollution, water resources, energy, global warming, population and land degradation.  Then we will focus on strategies for addressing these challenges, through government intervention, industrial activity, design, and planning.  The course aims to show that it is essential to understand, quantify and embed the environmental dimension (in its broadest sense) at every stage of consideration of industrial and economic activity.  We focus on fundamental issues rather than detailed technical and scientific analysis.  Lectures, in-class discussion, term papers and exams will ask you to think and synthesize material.


Specifically, by the end of the course, you should understand, and be able to discuss:




The course consists of two parts.

Here's the detailed schedule.

Other links

Additional Information on Term Paper 1

Grading Policy

Past Exams

Library resources:  Struggling with access to the journal Science or other journal literature? UCSD has a subscription to Science and to many other journals relevant to this class. You should be able to access these library resources from any computer on campus, or from home if you use the UCSD proxy server or VPN. See here or here for details.

Over time, assignments, and other resources will be posted here. You will need a pdf reader (such as Adobe Acrobat reader, which is free) to view many of the files. Please check back frequently, as much of the assigned work will expect significant research on environmental issues, some of which will be facilitated by suggested links and resources posted here (or if copyrighted, on WebCT).