Interim 2009: Living "Green"

Professors of Biology: Abercrombie and Davis

last updated 31 January 2009 at 9:21 am





1. Brent Whitehead Carbon Dioxide and Global Warming Debate
2. Jennifer Fisher Green Clothing Clothing origin survey
3. Whitney Walker Practical Choices for Living Greener Scoring system for greenness
4. Brett Barger Is Recycling Always Green? Debate
5. Randall McLeod & Nikki Siebert Options for disposing of unwanted items Site visit
6. Ameet Pall Feeding people at Burwell, an institutional cafeteria Site visit
7. Kirby Stone Energy concerns at BMW, a major manufacturer Site visit
8. Kaitlin Watkins Environmentally-friendly home construction & renovation Site visit and guest speaker
9. Hannah Rapport Seeing through the "Greenwashing" Create a billboard
11. Daniella Fatti & Jackie Dudas Part 1 Living Green in the Kitchen Cost comparisons of food
12. Daniella Fatti & Jackie Dudas Part 2 Sharon Rose: An Emerging Sustainable Local Farm Site visit
13. Geoff Goff Feeding People at Wade's, a Local Restaurant Site visit
14. Carrie Baker Evolution of a Dairy Farm Site vist
15. McCauley James & Sara Blackman E-countability at Milliken and Company Site visit
16. Joe Bailey A trip around the world of Fresh Market Site visit & cost comparison
17. Megan Wellborn & Alexander Drummond Three phases of Recycling Site visit
18. Hailey Dean Intrinsic Value of Wild Places and Wild Things Panel discussion
19. McClain Bryant Fuels and Transportation  
20. Megan Lyons Faith-based Environmental Stewarship Panel discussion
21. Rachel Blackburn Effect of American Consumerism Outside of America Guest speakers



Interim Release Form

Reading Assignments
from Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma

Peer Evaluation Form

Form to complete for each block of reading from Pollan's Book

Self-evaluation for Presenters


Advice for Creating and Delivering Effective Presentations (from students)

Instructions for Final Essay

Project Description

We Americans consume far more energy and resources per capita than even our highly developed European neighbors. In this project we ask: What can I do to live "green?" When I buy a house or appliances, how can I opt for energy efficiency at affordable prices? What should I eat and why does it matter? What should be done with existing energy wasters? What are the costs, consequences, and benefits of living "green?" Since going "all green" costs more than most folks can afford, students will address questions of priority. Furthermore, "green" has become a popular slogan-word for many clever advertisers. Students should learn to evaluate various claims of "green-ness," separating exaggeration and outright hype from valid representation of environmentally responsible goods and services. We'll examine these issues and others from scientific, economic, and moral perspectives. Each student will select a topic of particular personal interest and be responsible for educating the class on that topic. They'll find background readings to share with the class. Students may identify and host an expert based on their particular interests. We may visit experts on site or have them join us on campus. Students will arrange consultations with builders and architects, retailers and designers, politicians and reporters, and consumers and producers of energy and materials and foods. What we learn should influence our decisions for the rest of our lives.

Academic goals and nature of the project: Indicate the ways in which non-traditional, innovative, or experimental methods on content will be involved in the project.

Most of the courses we teach have little demonstrable impact on the way our students live. This interim would provide an opportunity to examine the many decisions we make that affect our environment, our neighbors, our bank accounts, and our health and sense of well-being. Wofford students already make many choices that affect the environment. And after graduation they will be making even more-building homes, purchasing cars, selecting appliances, buying the food their families will eat. It is our hope that students who have participated in this project will consider overall environmental impact (and even environmental stewardship) as they make these choices.

Rather that do all the planning ourselves, we intend to have students decide which topics they find most interesting and pertinent. Thus, over the course of the Interim, each student will be responsible for one 3 hour period, which could consist of hosting an expert, visiting a site, participating in an activity, or such. (For example, many of our students will know persons who would be able to teach us about environmental issues. These students could recruit guest experts, introduce these people to our class, and facilitate interactions with them. These interactions could occur in our Wofford classroom or at some field-site where the resource person lives or works.) We'll rely on the creativity of our students and use our experience to oversee the project and assist with scheduling and transportation and mentor student on the ways in which they might interact with their experts.

Since each student will select a topic and activity to prepare for the class, each student must also find appropriate (concise, accurate, informative) background reading material to share with the class. Thus, at this point it is impossible to know what choices students will make regarding reading and topics.

Students will be involved in anonymous peer review so that each will receive feedback on how well they organized their topic and how effectively it was presented.

Practical Matters: Meeting Times and Course Expenses

Meet weekday mornings 9am until-noon and afternoons as needed for field trips

Course fee: $120 not collected in advance. Each student should be prepared to spend up to $120 to cover various expenses exclusive of the book (Omnivore's Dilemma.) Money will be collected as needed.


Requirements expected from students and what constitutes Honors/Pass/Fail

Students are expected to
a) attend and participate in all sessions (absences excused only with advance notification of professors)
b) actively participate in all aspects of the project, to include
i) select (with the assistance and approval of the instructor) a topic to pursue in depth
ii) arrange to effectively address that topic during a 3 hour session by
1) hosting a guest expert (students responsible for introducing their guest)
2) arranging to visit an interesting site and interactions with expert(s)on site
3) organizing and event or activity
iii) select appropriate reading(s) to be shared with the class in advance of their session
iv) interact with guests and other students, exercising courtesy, tact, and
c) complete self- and peer-review evaluations
d) submit a well-composed paper of approximately 5 pages which demonstrates a thorough understanding of one or more topics addressed in this project.

F = failure to complete any of a-d above or less than "C-" work in the judgment of the instructor.
P = satisfactory completion of a-d above in the judgment of the instructor (equivalent to C work or higher in my typical courses)
H = excellent performance in each of a-d above (equivalent to A or A- work)

Attendance policy implemented 15 January for remainder of Interim sessions:
Unexcused absence will result in the assignment of 3 page essays to be composed based on writings of Edward Abbey or Aldo Leopold.

Those with unexcused absences or tardiness prior to 15 January are expected to attend the Sierra Club meeting at 7 pm on Thursday Jan 20th. Those students how have no unexcused absences are encouraged to attend this meeting but are not required to do so.

Specific readings

The Omnivore's Dilemma: a Natural History of Four Meals. M. Pollan $9.60 @ (Paperback)

Other reading assignments will be selected by each student based on the topic they intend to pursue. That reading will be made available to members of the class in preparation for the topic to be investigated.

Off campus activity

Site visits as arranged by students. See Schedule.



Mon Jan 5: Morning session: Defining "living green." Individual and group work.

Afternoon session: Meetings with individual students to discuss project ideas.

Tue Jan 6:

Morning session: 90 minute video: An Inconvenient Truth (95 minutes duration, no discussion).
45 minute discussion of Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" Block 1 (p. 1-65.)

No afternoon session. Students working on presentations.

Wed Jan 7:

Morning session: Brent Whitehead: Google video "Exposed: The Climate of Fear" by Glenn Beck.

Formal moderated debate. Forty-five minutes allocated for group preparations based on the resolve "Global warming is a serious issue with devastating consequences." Two teams: 7 Yes and 15 No. Sequence: Opening statement from Yes team, rebuttal from No team, Opening statement from No team, rebuttal from Yes team, clash with two representatives from each team, closing statements from each team. Declaration of the winner

No afternoon session. Students working on presentations. Some students have follow-up meetings with course instructors.

Thu Jan 8:

Morning Session: Jennifer Fisher: Green Clothing.

Information to bring to Jennifer's presentation:
1.How many different kinds of fabrics can you find in your closet? List a few.
2.What is the most bizarre place a piece of your clothing has come from?
3.What is the oldest piece of clothing you have in your closet? How old is it and is there a reason why you have kept it for so long?
4.Do you have any fabrics that you think are organic?
5.Do you have any clothes from comsignment shops or a thrift store? If so how many pieces?

Afterwards begin Discussion of Pollan Block 2 p. 65-120 (Chapters 4-7.)

Survey for Origin of Clothing

No afternoon session.

Fri Jan 9: Whitney Walker: Practical Lifestyle Choices for Living Greener.

Bring to class:
1. List three things that you can do everyday to "live green."
2. Research your three topics and find out how these things actually help you "live greener."(keep it simple)

Homework Reading: How much does turning the lights off really save?

Spreadsheet of Impact Scores from classroom session

Continue discussion of Pollan Block 2 readings until 11:20 am. Follow-up meetings with several individual students.

No afternoon session.

Mon Jan 12: Brett Barger: When is recycling "green?"

Link to a paper to read in advance: Eight Great Myths of Recycling

Penn and Teller Bullshit Recycling 24 minute video

Formal debate followed with the resolve: "Recycling is important to preserve the environment." Judges wereAmeet, Sara, and Hannah.

After-class meetings with students who present this week.

No afternoon session.

Tue Jan 13: Randy McLeod and Nikki Siebert
1st thing in the morning: Discussion of Pollan Block 3 readings(Chapters 8-10.)

Morning Session on campus: What is trash? Options for disposing of things no longer needed or wanted.
Website about Freecycling

Come to class with this information:
1. Give a definition for the word trash.
2. What factors do you think of when deciding on if you should throw something away or give it away? What kind of things do you throw away and what kind of things to you give away?
3. How many things do you own that are considered hand me downs? What kind of things?

Afternoon Session: Tour of Goodwill Headquarters in Greenville. Carpool and bring items to donate.

Goodwill Do's and Don'ts.

Wed Jan 14:
Morning session -Ameet Pall: How do food providers at an institutional "restaurant" decide what to feed people?

Food Quiz

Afternoon session - Kirby Stone: Energy considerations in a major manufacturing facility-- A tour of the BMW plant.
Arrange carpooling, students provide $3.50 each for cost of tour. Kirby to provide information on what to wear for the tour.

Background reading to prepare for the BMW factory tour.

Instructions from Kirby:

The purpose of this tour is to see all the energy efficient ways BMW powers their facility. The class will split up into two groups of thirteen or so and one group will go on the tour at 2:45 pm and the other group will go at 3:00 pm. There is also an entrance fee for $3.50 a person so Kirby will need to collect that in class at some point. There is a dress code: You MUST wear close-toed shoes, no high heels, and you must have a closed heel on the shoe as well.
.....Bring $3.50 for entrance fee
.....Bring release form signed by parents to class
.....Closed toed shoes, no heels, and shoe must have a closed heel as well

Thu Jan 15

Morning: Kaitlin Watkins: Can an environmentally-friendly home be both cost and energy efficient?
Guest Speaker- An expert home inspector Danny Kay with classroom presentation followed by an on-site home tour.

Afternoon: Hannah Rapport: Seeing through the "Greenwashing."

Preparatory Reading for Afternoon Session

Fri Jan 16:

1st thing:
a) turn in money owed for BMW trip to Kirby and
b) turn in clothing surveys to front table
c) turn in peer evaluations for Kaitlin and Hannah
d) create lists of do's and don't's for creating and delivering presentations.

Prior to student presentation, class will discuss Chapters 11-14 of The Omnivore's Dilemma. about Polyface Farms.

Part 1 for Daniella Fatti and Jackie Dudas: Living Green in the Kitchen and Is eating "locally" ultimately beneficial for the consumer and the environment - A cost analysis.

Preparatory Reading

Meetings with the professors:

11:30 Geoff Goff

1:00 Hailey Dean and Megan Lyons, together with Professor Powers

Reading assignment: Omnivore's Dilemma Section III by Tuesday.

Mon Jan 19

Monday morning meetings with the professors:

9:00 Sara Blackman and MaCauley James
9:30 Joe Bailey
Between 10 and 10:30 McClain and Rachel to finalize their topics, describe plans, and commit to a date on the schedule.

10:45 Carrie arrives early for setup.

11:00 Carrie begins session to prepare us for afternoon visit to Happy Cow Creamery and 12 Aprils Farm with Tom Trantham.
Carrie collects $3.00 per person entry fee.

Afternoon: Carrie Blanton: The Dairy Farm as an example of Industrial Agriculture.
Trip to a dairy farm in Pelzer, SC requiring carpooling.
Class will drive as "convoy" of vehicles departing from Memorial Auditorium Parking Lot at 12:30 pm.
Farm tour is set to begin at 1:30.

What students recorded as the "Take Home Message" from the tour of the Dairy.

Tue Jan 20 morning and afternoon sessions.

Morning session 9:00 McCauley James & Sara Blackman Part I: Carbon footprints, carbon offsets, and Milliken and Company.

Preparatory reading

Discuss the remainder of The Omnivore's Dilemma (Section III of the book).

Suggestion: Consider selling or freecycling the book. Drs. Davis and Abercrombie will be sure to see that any books donated will be placed in the hands of appreciative readers.


Wed Jan 21 Morning through lunch: Geoff Goff: How do food providers at a buffet restaurant decide what to feed people? A trip to Wade's Restaurant with lunch at Wade's (at student expense.)

Start time in the class room is 9:00 am. Appointment at Wade's to speak with as staffmember at 10:45. Students to have lunch at Wade's at your own expense after the informational session. Wade's does not accept debit or credit cards so be prepared to pay in cash. You can check their menu at their website: Wade's.

Reminder: Bring grocery store survey to Joe.

Prior to Wade's trip, discuss Garrett Hardin's 1968 essay "The Tragedy of the Commons."

Thu Jan 22

Morning ---Part 2 for Daniella Fatti and Jackie Dudas: Trip to Sharon Rose working farm in Woodruff, SC
Host: Rollie Knoke (
Websites: and Sharon Rose Farm

Pasture raised poultry and pork, grass-fed labm and beef.

Reminder: Dress warmly in layers (borrow appropriate clothing if you don't possess your own.)

Our tour time is at 9:00. Please be there by 8:45 so plan on leaving around 8:15.

Directions to the Sharon Rose Farm :
Take 221 (Church Street north) to I-85 South
From I -85 south,
Get off at Exit 60
(Left off the exit onto SC 101 and go about 3 miles)
At intersection of 101 and 296, turn left onto 296 and then immediately right onto Sharon Road.
Once on Sharon Road and go about 1.5 miles and the farm will be on the right. A large white house with red barns on the left and a tree-lined paved driveway.

Our cell numbers if you get lost
Daniella: 704-779-9779
Jackie: 443-880-0327

Afternoon: McCauley and Sara: Part II - Corporate Greenness: Trip to Milliken and Company World Headquarters

Start time for tour is 2:00 pm. Meet in Parking Lot of Milliken Visitor Center at 1:50 pm
Hosts: Cassidy Carlisle and Sally Hammet

Mandatory event (those students with no unexcused absences or tardies are not require to attend.)
The Spartanburg Sierra Club will meet Thursday, January 22, 2009, at 7:30 PM at the Unitarian Universalist Church (210 Henry Place, off Henry St. in Spartanburg). Allyn Steele will speak on REDUCING CARBON FOOTPRINTS: MOVING TOWARD SUSTAINABILITY AT WOFFORD COLLEGE AND THE SPARTANBURG DAY SCHOOL Hear what these institutions are doing to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide, one of the main gasses causing global warming. You will probably learn how you and the institution(s) you are associated with can reduce carbon emissions also. The meeting is open to the public.

Student attendees: Kirby, Geoff, Brett, Hannah, Rachel, McCauley, Hailey, Ameet.

Directions to Sierra Club Meeting: South on Church Street through downtown Spartanburg. Cross Henry Street and take next left just past Main Post Office (on the right) onto East Lee Street. Cross Hudson Barksdale Blvd and take second Left onto Henry Place. Unitiarian Church is at the end of this short street on the right side.

Fri Jan 23

Joe Bailey: The sources of foods - a trip to Spartanburg's Fresh Market for tour with produce specialist.
Start time 9:15 at Fresh Market.

Directions: East Main Street to Right on Fernwood Drive. Fresh Market on left just past the 1st light on Fernwood.

Return to campus classroom to finish the morning session.

Grocery Price Comparison for Organic and Conventional Produce at Four Chain Stores

Origins of Seafood at Fresh Market on Jan 23, 2009: Shrimp from Vietnam, Orange Roughy from Hong Kong, Salmon from Norway and Chile, Tuna from Indonesia and Barbados, Tilapia from Columbia, and Grouper from Mexico.

Around the world at Fresh Market of Spartanburg.

The Spartanburg location of Fresh Market sells 10 types of tomatoes (from NC, FL, Mexico and Holland), 8 types of pears, 5 types of onions (from Columbia, Brazil, Canada, and USA), 7 types of oranges. Chile provides blueberries, cherries, peaches, grapes, plums, and nectarines. Mangos come from Ecuador. Kiwis are shipped from Italy. Pineapples come from Honduras and Costa Rica. Snow peas and 3 types of canteolopes originate in Guatemala. Asparagus comes from Peru. The closest source of any type of produce (lentils) was Sunny Creek Farms in Tryon, NC.

What do you think is most expensive food at Fresh Market? What is it and how much does it cost per pound? Answer


Mon Jan 26

Morning: Alexander Drummond and Megan Wellborn: Part 1 --The fate of recycled material.
Site visit to Total Product Destruction.

Start time is 9:00 at Total Destruction.


Take a left out of campus onto North Church street
It will turn into South Church street (stay on that) For about 3.5 miles
Veer right onto highway 295
Take your first right onto Carolina Dr.
Take your first right onto Discovery Drive
Veer left through the gate
The address is 160 which is posted on the door.

Allow 20 minutes drive time from Wofford.

Call Megan or Alexander at (704) 562- 0643 if you have any problems

1:00 pm: Hailey Dean: Intrinsic worth of wild places and wild things.
Panel discussion with Professors Lane, Kusher, and Rayner.

Readings as recommended by Professor Lane:

Wolves and Deforestation (the 2 page essay containing Leopold's description of shooting a wild wolf and seeing the "fierce green fire."

Where the Wild Things Are by John Lane
A Wilderness Letter by Wallace Stegner

Exerpts from writings of Aldo Leopold as prepared by Hailey Dean

A brief biography of Aldo Leopold (in lieu of the 224 page biography by Marybeth Lorbiecki entitled "A Fierce Green Fire."

An even shorter Leopold biography from Wikipedia

Tue Jan 27

Reminder: Final Essay is due Thursday at 5 pm.

9:00 am Morning session with Alexander Drummond and Megan Wellborn: Part 2 --The fate of recycled material.

Websites: MyEcoville and Earth911

1:00 pm session with McClain Bryant. Fuels and Transportation... What are the options?

Preparatory Reading Energy (p. 492-497) in Environment: an interdisciplinary anthology. Edited by Adelson, Engell, Ranalli, and Van Anglen 2008 ISBN 978-0-300-11077-7

Wed Jan 28

Preparatory Reading Alexis de Tocqueville, from Democracy in America (1935-1840) as excerpted in Environment: an interdisciplinary anthology. Edited by Adelson, Engell, Ranalli, and Van Anglen 2008 ISBN 978-0-300-11077-7

10:00 am Start time.....with Megan Lyons:
Environmental stewardship from the perspectives of various faith communities.
A Panel Discussion with representatives from various communities of faith:
Judaism....Rabbi Yosi Liebowitz
Protestantism....Campus Chaplain Rev. Dr. Ron Robinson,
Buddism.......Tim Brown

Preparatory Readings:

Ecology: A Jewish Perspective in which this quote is found: "The root of the problem lies in a selfish world view which inflates personal consumption beyond the essential."

Pinetops by Gary Snyder


Afternoon session Rachel Blackburn: Effects of American Consumerism Outside of America...The case of child labor
Special guests: Allyn Steele and Vanessa Lauber (both are Wofford Presidential Scholars with global travel experience.)

Preparatory Readings on Child Labor

Thu Jan 29 (last day of interim)

Morning session: Davis and Abercrombie host concluding session.

"I travel the roads of nature until the hour when I shall lie down and be at rest; yielding back my last breath into the air from which I have drawn it daily, and in sinking down upon the earth from which my father derived the seed, my mother the blood, and my nurse the milk of my being - the earth which for so many years has furnished my daily meat and drink, and, though so grievously abused, still suffers me to tread its surface."
Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor AD 161-180), Meditations Book 5, no. 4.

"Do not be distressed, do not despond or give up in despair, if now and again practice falls short of precept.
Return to the attack after each failure, and be thankful if on the whole you can aquit yourslef in the majority of cases as a person should."
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations Book 5, no. 9.


Hard copy of final essay due before 5:00 pm.

No afternoon session scheduled.


Reading Assignments from The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

Block 1: Introduction - Chapter 3, p.1-64.

Block 2: Chapters 4-7, p. 65-122

Block 3: Chapters 8-10, p. 123-207

Block 4: Chapters 11-14, p. 208-276


A 1ounce package of dried Morel mushrooms from the USA costs $19.99. That comes to $319.84 per pound!

Resources for Living Green