Planetary Ecology: Climate Science, Climate Solutions

Using the framework of “planetary boundaries” and tipping points of potentially irreversible damage presented in the first documentary film entitled Breaking Boundaries:  The Science of our Planet, this course presents climate science as well as climate solutions both from a global environmental or planetary perspective as well as from an individual and societal public and environmental health perspective. We will learn the fundamental causes and consequences of global warming that is continuing to disrupt and destabilize the Earth’s climate.  We will investigate the rapid transition ending the Holocene geologic epoch that was characterized by a stable climate and the beginning of the Anthropocene marked by increasing global average temperatures and increasingly frequent and severe weather events.

We will explore climate science and climate solutions using three primary texts and many recommended texts, several documentary films, individual literature review of peer-reviewed scientific publications as well as climate journalism. In our twice weekly seminars, students will discuss the assigned readings and documentary films, lectures, and their own reviews of current and recent climate journalism on specific topics.  Students will also have an opportunity to present their individual and/or small group research projects.  We will take at least two field trips in or around Athens, and all of these seminar activities will contribute to our achievement of the following learning goals.

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