We have entered a new geologic age: the Age of Warming. Every species and ecosystem is now affected by the consequences of climate change. Some are in flux while others head toward extinction. Yet others are adapting. The same could be said for human communities as well. This course will consider adaptation in both ecological and human systems. In Part I, we’ll examine how ecological systems—in their myriad forms—are responding to climate change. Ecological and evolutionary concepts of resilience, threshold, adaptive capacity, plasticity, and persistence will be discussed. In Part II, we’ll examine how human communities are also adapting. Here we’ll discuss how new technologies, designs, practices, and emerging social movements are defining human adaptation to climate change. In the final weeks of the semester, the course will broaden to include a service-learning component. Here, students will work with civil society (town planners, NGOs) to evaluate vulnerability to projected climate change events, followed by the identification and presentation of specific adaptation strategies. Grades will be based on quizzes, two research papers, group work, and a class presentation.
ENVS 1 and ENVS 2 and at least one 100-level course in natural science, anthropology, or sociology; otherwise please seek instructor permission