Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies

Catch the Environmental Studies wave with Dr Steven Martin [click to visit the Surf Tourism Research page]


Course Description

Concepts, objectives, and development of environmental studies; systems approach to environment; interaction between life and surroundings; patterns of environmental problems in both physical and biological aspects involved in society and economics; guidelines for designing environmental education processes, including theories and philosophy of environmental management that mitigate or solve environmental problems leading to the sustainable development.



  1. Choose an environmental researcher with deep experience and present his or her personal and education background leading to their research. Emphasize his or her area of expertise, including fieldwork. Identify the significance of the research in the field of Environmental Studies.
  2. Develop an academic poster using PowerPoint or other software with the ability to incorporate text boxes, maps, tables and images.

Student Research Poster – Environmental Studies

2017 Best Posters

The 12 posters listed below were shortlisted out of 40 submitted. Click to open or download PDF (6 to 8 MB each).


Welcome to "Food Environment", an emerging paradigm in Environmental Studies – A new way to think about food.

Food Environment is a concept which expresses a wide-range of topics and system boundaries related food production, distribution and consumption. Students learn from the personal perspective – That is, how human relationships with the environment are most intimate in our choice of what we put into our bodies.

Class projects and presentations develop an understanding of personal and social food environments as we explore how the environment flows into us in the food we choose to eat. The topic expands through class discussion to include contemporary dimensions, such as sustainable, toxic, local, or regional food environments, including private and public food networks and food deserts.

Intended learning outcomes include students gaining the ability to talk about personal and public health, diet and nutrition, and how personal choices and responsibility impact sustainability and the environment.

Food environment - Central Ohio, USA [click on photo to visit Food Environment]


In 2014, Hollywood super star, Leonardo DiCaprio, was appointed as a United Nations representative on climate change. Dedicated to shedding light on global environmental issues, his works include The11th Hour and Before the Flood.

As our class works together to uncover global environmental issues, we learn about the individual scholars featured in these and other films produced by DiCaprio. Representing social, economic, political and scientific interests and communities, experts lead us through stories and examples from around the world, sharing personal insights, history, scientific data and innovative solutions.

Students in 805-283 Environmental Studies are asked to select one of the scholars featured in any of these movies for an in-depth report and presentation on their life, education, and the events leading to the position they defend in the film. Scholars' current projects, research, challenges, and advancements in the field are discussed.

The course is designed so that student projects bring to light the interdisciplinary context of Environmental Studies in social, physical, and applied sciences.

Leonardo DiCaprio at the United Nations Climate Change Summit with Ban Ki-moon

DiCaprio's UN Speech

Before the Flood

The 11th Hour Movie Trailer


Taking into consideration that 805-283 Environmental Studies is taught in Phuket, Thailand, course content includes contemporary local and regional issues concerning national and trans-boundary park systems and management.

Students are encouraged to gain personal experience and conduct field research at terrestrial and marine national parks. Nearly any topic is worth sharing with our class, including history, current events, successes, failures, and challenges in park management.

Khao Yai – Thailand's first national park

As the first national park founded in Thailand, the significance of Khao Yai has matured and expanded to include five important protected areas in the region. Combined, these natural areas form the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex, a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO.

Deer at Khao Yai National Park, Thailand

Landscape at Khao Yai National Park, Thailand

Monkey at Khao Yai National Park, Thailand


The sport of surfing is fundamentally dependent on limited coastal resources which are more than physical and tangible settings—they encompass the people who interact with the coastal environment and each other.

From the perspective of sustainability and conservation, coastal resources are normally discussed in the scheme of Coastal Resource Management (CRM).

CRM is an increasingly in-style field of study which integrates our understanding of natural and human elements, much like the discipline of geography includes physical and human geography (Martin, 2010).

La'a Loa, Hawaii – Surf Resource System Boundaries [click on photo to visit Surf Tourism Research]

Surf Resource System Boundaries

A ‘system boundary’ is a theoretical concept in environmental science representing the intersecting and interrelated human and physical elements in the natural world at a given site. This lecture, based on Martin and O'Brien (2017), develops a system boundary discussion on surf sites, recognizing ‘surf system boundaries’ as more than the beach and sea; they encompass numerous stakeholder interests and factors related to the scope of the ‘whole’ surf system as a sustainable and dynamic model.

Martin, S. A., & O'Brien, D. (2017). Part 2: A systems approach – Chapter 2. Surf resource system boundaries. In G. Borne and J. Ponting (Eds.), Sustainable surfing. Routledge: London.

Thailand Case Study

The tropical resort island of Phuket Thailand has exotic beaches, a dynamic tourism economy, and a distinct new surfing culture. In recent years, recreational surfing in Phuket has gained rapid popularity—It has also gained attention in domestic and international magazines and on the internet. Nonetheless, Thailand’s Andaman Coast remains a mysterious and nostalgic place—in the minds of the people who make up the tapestry of coastal cultures—and in the memories of the tourists who come each year (Martin, 2010).

Martin, S. A. (2010). Coastal resource and surfing in ThailandThailand Surfrider, (1) (pp. 42–50). Thalang, Phuket: Purple Diamond Ltd.


One of the most rewarding experiences that I have had in Environmental Studies was the opportunity to visit the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Amazon Basin, and the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific in 2004. The research was supported in part by the University of San Francisco De Quito (USFQ), Ecuador, and the Study Abroad Journal.

Through sharing my photos and National Geographic videos with students, key topics and issues are opened for discussion.

Parrot in Coca, Ecuador

Napo River near Coca, Ecuador

Quechua Indian guide, Tiputini, Ecuador

Seals resting on the beach at San Cristobal, Galapagos

Galapagos Brown Pelican

Galapagos Marine Iguana, San Cristobal

Galapagos Islands Ecuador - USFQ - Dr Steven Andrew Martin

I hope you have enjoyed my Environmental Studies page.

Please also visit my other Teaching pages.

Thank you for your time,

Steven A. Martin