Earth systems that have supported human civilization for the past 10,000 years are becoming increasingly destabilized. A growing consensus argues that we now live in a time of environmental crisis that requires action. Climate change, ocean acidification, ozone depletion, global freshwater use, species extinctions, loss of biodiversity and chemical pollution are a result of complex interactions between human societies and the natural world. To understand the current environmental crises, we need to understand these interactions.
- Teacher: Tracy Glynn
"Welcome to the Anthropocene. It's a new geological era, so take a look around. A single species is in charge of the planet, altering its features almost at will. And what [is] more natural than to name this new era after the top of the range anthropoid, ourselves?" (Pearce, 2007:58).
This course focuses on the different perspectives or theories that help explain the environmental transformations that constitute the Anthropocene. While we can agree on some scientifically-explained 'facts' about the way human society has changed the natural world, there is a great deal of divergence on how these 'facts' should be interpreted, and therefore understood. In this course, we will explore those theories. This will help us to understand the public discourse on environmental problems, and how both governments and individuals respond to them.
This course does not study environmental problems per se, although students are expected to have a good grasp of the current ecological and climate crisis. Therefore, ENVS 1013 - Introduction to Environmental Problems - is a prerequisite for this course. Special permission may be given by the instructor if the student has taken an equivalent course elsewhere.
- Teacher: Janice Harvey
We are at a critical moment in the history of human civilization. Global warming, ecological degradation, toxic contamination and genetic engineering are shaping a future that bears little resemblance to the past. How should governments and civil society respond? In this course, we examine governance and policy as it relates to the struggle for a sustainable world. What critical policy decisions need to be made? Where and how should those decisions be made? What are the forces aligned for and against sustainability? These are critically important questions for students to grapple with as they prepare to assume leadership roles in a changing world.
- Teacher: Janice Harvey