From the earliest civilizations man has been a major agent of environmental change. However, from the dawn of the industrial age, when fossil fuels were first tapped for energy, the rate of this change has increased exponentially. In this course, we will dissect environmental issues by first examining the recent geologic record of climate change and how processes that affect climate change operate in modern natural systems. We will then assess how societies have modified such systems and what factors control the trajectory and rate of change. Several environmental case studies will be used to provide insight into the scientific issues associated with specific environmental problems. Case studies will focus on nonrenewable and renewable energy resources and their relationship to climate change. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 60 students. Spring semester. Professor Medina.