ENVR E-107: Natural Resource Materials: Origins and Issues

This course is a geologic and environmental treatment of the materials used in everyday life. We discuss how these materials are obtained from Earth, what the sustainability impacts are, how much energy is involved, what possible impacts on human health occur from using these materials, and how we might use more intensive recycling redesign to make them more environmentally friendly. We use a number of case studies to underscore the importance of understanding where materials originate and how to choose them based on health impacts, sustainability, and other impacts. Topics include but are not limited to building materials, minerals and mining, fossil fuel and renewable energy, planned obsolescence, innovations in zero waste products, economics of materials use, and mineral use in agriculture.


Jennifer Cole







Course ID: 

  • [Course titles in brackets] indicate that the course is not scheduled to be taught during the 2019-2020 academic year, but may be offered in an alternate year.
  • An asterisk (*) before a course number indicates that a student must obtain the instructor's permission in order to enroll in the course.

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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