GES 470 - Applications of Environmental Sustainability

  • 3 credits

This course will integrate and apply the foundations of environmental sustainability (the environmental, social, and economic dimensions) to achieve a holistic understanding of environmental issues, practices and problem solving. These three dimensions will serve as the sustainability foundations for the course.Students will learn and apply tools for assessing environmental issues and best practices for working in interdisciplinary teams. Case studies demonstrating sustainability principles will be evaluated through discussion and writing, and students will conduct a team project that addresses and dissects an important issue related to global environmental sustainability.

This course can be applied toward:


GES 101 (Foundations of Environmental Sustainability).

Important Information

Must have completed 12 credits of GES interdisciplinary minor; junior or senior standing. Required field trips.

Textbooks and Materials

Textbooks and materials can be purchased at the CSU Bookstore unless otherwise indicated.


  • Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet (2017)
    Bloomberg, M. and Pope, C.
    ISBN: 978-1250142078
  • Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive (2013)
    Diamond, J.
    ISBN: 978-0141976969
  • Environmental Problem Solving: A How-To Guide
    Hughes, J.W.
  • Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution… (2008)
    Friedman, Thomas L.
    ISBN: 978-0374166854
    Not available at the CSU Bookstore
  • Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution… (2008)
    Friedman, Thomas L.
    ISBN: 978-0374166854
  • Thinking in Systems: A Primer (2008)
    Meadows, D.H.
    ISBN: 978-1603580557


Susan Melzer
Susan Melzer

(970) 491-1323 |

Susan Melzer is an instructor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Colorado State University. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the geological sciences from the University of Colorado and her doctorate in soil science from Colorado State University. Her background in sedimentary geology has laid the foundation of her current research interest, which is to study how physical, chemical, and biological processes in differing environments around the world influence soil genesis. The susceptibility of soils to alter in response to climatic and land-use conditions is of top priority as she investigates the impact of cultivation on the biogeochemistry of biogenic silica along native and cultivated grassland ecosystems.

Susan also works in close collaboration with the USDA-NRCS and the NPS to develop accessible data and educational material that will enable a link among educators, researchers, students, and park managers. As an educator, Susan is a firm believer in developing top-quality science courses for the live and virtual classroom. She currently teaches courses in the earth sciences (soils and geology) as well as in environmental sustainability.

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